Friday, April 30, 2004

Zamfara State Government Orders Demolition of all Churches

Maybe this article (also available here) is just another example of me letting my loathing of "anything vaguely resembling Islamic radicalism" get in the way of seeing things clearly ...

Governor Ahmed Sani of Zamfara State, has ordered the demolition of all churches in the state, as he launched the second phase of his Sharia project yesterday.

Speaking at the launch in Gusau, the state capital, Governor Sani disclosed that time was ripe for full implementation of the programme as enshrined in the Holy Quran.

He added that his government would soon embark on demolition of all places of worship of unbelievers in the state, in line with Islamic injunction to fight them wherever they are found.


It would be recalled that Governor Sani introduced the Sharia Legal Code in the state in the year 2000, despite opposition from the federal government and religious groups.

The implementation of the system led to the amputation of the wrist of a cow thief, Malam Jangedi.

Governor Sani also made the retention of a long beard a condition for securing juicy contracts from the state government.

I'm not about to turn into an LGF imitator and start making the claims that all Muslims are evil, that Islam is inherently dangerous, or even that Islam has a bloodier history than that supposedly peaceful religion called Christianity (going by a purely numerical tally of victims, this is almost certainly false); what I will reiterate that there are serious problems with the way Islam is being interpreted and practiced throughout much of the world today, and that contrary to the claims of some well-intentioned people, these problems are not confined to a "small fringe" of the religion's practitioners. Governor Ahmed Sani, like fellow Islamist and Kano State Governor Ibrahim Shakerau, was popularly elected on a platform promising to do precisely what he's now intent on carrying out, so the word "fringe" has no role to play here whatsoever.

Similarly, throughout much of the Islamic world, from the Sudan to Pakistan to Indonesia, hardline Islamists enjoy bases of popular support that are both deep and surprisingly wide, especially in light of claims that those who subscribe to their ideals constitute a "fringe." Few Muslims may be willing in practice to take up arms and risk their own lives for the sake of violent struggle against "unbelievers", but that is only an indicator that most men are far from willing to pay the ultimate price even for ideas in which they sincerely believe; as such, to say that hardline Islamist notions meet with approval only amongst a marginal number is a gross distortion of the facts. If it is acceptable to point out that America has a problem with a powerful fundamentalist right (and I certainly believe it is acceptable), there's no good reason why pointing out the far more serious issues bedevilling the Islamic world should meet with criticism, as long as it's done in a level-headed manner.