By mid 2013, I was inspired to embark on an arduous investigation of my religious beliefs, beliefs and doctrines instilled in me from early childhood which I had held sacred and unquestionable as most Muslims. Thanks to deep research on Quran, traditional Muslim literature and history, by the onset of 2014, my beliefs had radically evolved. No longer would I qualify as an orthodox or mainstream Muslim.Those well acquainted with me need no reminder of my firm stance against Shariah. My three part critique of it basically summarizes it all:
Despite the hype and assertion by traditional Muslim clergy, an objective and detailed analysis of Shariah in its orthodox interpretation is anything but divine; contradictory and negating of Quranic principles and precepts ordained by the most high.
In the last days of 2014, with my sister; his wife, my brother in law migrated to US for his PhD. By August 2015, the delivereda baby boy. Sitting in the US embassy in Abuja(Nigeria), my mom was elated to learn from the officers that her grandsonvirtue of his birth on US soil is granted US citizenship.
My mom and brother in law are passionate defendants of Shariah and Shariah regimes in the Middle East, whose passion for Shariah sharply contrast my passion against Shariah. This, devolving in intense disagreement between us time and again over what is Islamic law and what is not.
Citizenship is a status that accords one the same and as much rights and responsibilities as everyone living in a region or geographical location. Citizenship in modern secular states is available to all regardless of beliefs, race, or tribe. One ‘s personal ideals or philosophy on God is not relevant in acquiring citizenship in modern, democratic, secular states and so any one, whether Muslims, Mormons, Atheist, Christians, Jews, Hindi or Pagan can gain citizenship by birth or naturalization. All citizens under such states have the same right which they exercise to the same degree.
Shariah and Citizenship
Though hardly admitted in the traditional Muslim cycles, there exist an apartheid system like state of religious stratification in Shariah compliant societies like Saudi Arabia and Iran. Implying that certain religious beliefs must be accepted and certain must be rejected in order to acquire as much rights as anyone living in that region. Strictly speaking, Muslim under Shariah have more rights than non-Muslims and non-Muslims under Shariah have no chance of gaining citizenship unless they embrace Islam. Saudi Arabia and Iran make good cases for study of citizenship according to Shariah. An Arab non-Muslim indigene of Saudi Arabia descent get far less rights than an Indian Muslim expat in Saudi Arabia regardless of how much the non-Muslim contributes to the society whether economically or security wise.
Delving into specifics, it is of particular importance to treat freedom of religious expression at this point. While, a Muslim under shariah can freely express his beliefs, hold public religious services, build new temple, proselytize or propagate his faith via books, newspapers or TV, a non-Muslim cannot. A non-Muslim under shariah is no citizen because he lacks the right to be voted for in political offices. There are non-Muslim expats in Muslim states particularly the Gulf states. Even though they long to acquire full citizenship in these states, the future remain bleak for them. Saudi Arabia, for instance has not a single official church on her soil even though ironically the same state fund massive construction projects for thousands of mosques in the West where Muslims are minority. Non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia are forbidden from Makkah and Madinah even if he grew up in these cities as a Muslim but later apostatized. Public sales of non-Muslim religious items like Bible, crucifix, Christmas trees and celebration of non-Muslim religious festivals like Christmas is not permissible under these Shariah states.
The antagonism between a just and equitable system prescribed by the Quran and the system Shariah dictates need no other ado. Yet over 90% of Muslims lack the decency, rationality or gut to admit this. For my brother-in-Law and my mom, the birth of this baby, my nephew is a call for rejoicing. Yet, for me it mean more. It is a reminder of the ills of Shariah, its antiquity, inferiority to contemporary secular laws and deviation from the Scripture.