Friday, November 26, 2004

Parliamentarians in sharia-law dilemma

Parliamentarians in sharia-law dilemma - By The Copenhagen Post

Muslim politicians in this country say Islamic sharia law is an inextricable part of their identity - but claim it can be practiced within the parameters of Danish democracy

Political parties in Parliament are pressuring Muslim members to publicly disavow portions of Islamic sharia law condoning stoning, whipping and the amputation of hands.

Most parties have not urged their Muslim members to condemn portions of the traditional Islamic law pertaining to general lifestyle or religious issues such as prayer and fasting.

On Monday, Social Democratic immigration spokeswoman Anne-Marie Meldgaard issued an ultimatum to Muslim party members, demanding that they condemn sharia in order to remain in the party.

Party leader Mogens Lykketoft has so far declined comment on the ultimatum, and Meldgaard has since modified her original remarks.

'Of course it's OK to fast. As long as an individual is not acting in violation of the constitution, Danish jurisprudence, principles of equality or democracy, we can accept it. But I still maintain that people have no business with us if they place Islamic law above our democratic system, or support execution by stoning,' said Meldgaard.

Social Democratic party member Hamid El Mousti, a Moroccan by birth, currently sits on Copenhagens City Council. El Mousti claims it is impossible for Muslims to disavow sharia in its entirety.

'Sharia is a part of our identity - part of being Muslim. It's unreasonable to ask us to swear off our religion - but demanding that we accept the values of Denmark is fine,' said El Mousti, emphasising that he in no way condones the stoning of adulterous women or amputation of hands to punish thieves.

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