Saturday, May 10, 2014

Shariah Law: Good for Wall Street, Bad for Beverly Hills?

In Beverly Hills, California, feminists, actors and celebrities were rallying outside the Beverly Hills Hotel, in order to protest its owner, the Sultan of Brunei's, decision to institute harsh shariah law punishments, including the stoning of homosexuals and adulterers, and floggings and amputations for thieves and other violators of Islamic law.  TV star Ellen Degeneres announced a boycott of the Sultan's hotels on twitter, and comedian Jay Leno, together with his wife Mavis, leader of the Feminist Majority organization, led a protest outside the hotel.  The Beverly Hills City Council is expected to pass a resolution against Brunei's sharia laws, while the Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse called the laws "so barbaric" that the city council felt forced to act.

Meanwhile in another part of California, Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination against former Bush Assistant Secretary of Treasury Neel Kashkari, took fire from California GOP officials for pointing out on Facebook that Kashkari had hosted a panel of Sharia law specialists at a Treasury Department meeting in 2008, arranged with Harvard University.

Donnelly was compared to Todd Akin, whose comments regarding rape and pregnancy, widely regarded as offensive, made national news during the 2012 Presidential campaign. Vice Chair Harmeet Dhillon said Donnelly's remarks traded "on bigotry, racism, hatred of the other, hysteria." Recently Representative Darrel Issa weighed in, calling Donnelly's statement, "hateful and disgusting rhetoric," that had no place.
Kashkari campaign spokesman Aaron McLear responded by saying, "The conference on Islamic Finance was designed to explore how free market principles could work in Islamic countries. It had nothing to do with changing America's legal or financial systems."

That explanation however appears to be less than accurate. In a copy of the seminar schedule, presentation topics included, "US regulation of Islamic financial institutions," and the "US market for Islamic financial services."
One presenter in particular is worthy of further scrutiny. Yusuf Talal Delorenzo, whose bio in the seminar schedule describes him as "a scholar of Islamic Transactional Law whose 30 year career was featured in an August 2007 front page story in The Wall Street Journal."
The subject of Delorenzo's talk was "Shariah Compliance."
It fails to mention however that Delorenzo was a member of the Research Department of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), as well as a member of the Fiqh Council of North America, part of the Islamic Society of North America. Both IIIT and ISNA are known to federal law enforcement as affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood.
It was in this capacity, that Delorenzo was responsible for approving the translation of a manual of Shariah law called, "The Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Law."  Published in translation by Nuh Mim Keller in 1994 and reprinted as recently as 2011, the book contains not just shariah law as it regards finances, but the very same "barbaric" punishments that the Beverly Hills City Council found so outrageous as to require a resolution against it.
Included in Reliance are such legal requirements as stoning or lashes for those guilty of "Fornication or Sodomy." It also calls for the death of homosexuals.
DeLorenzo's participation in the review of Reliance of the Traveller raises questions about separation between Islamic finance and shariah criminal codes, as the book contains legal instructions on Trade, Inheritance, Marriage, Divorce as well as "Justice" under which the punishments for homosexuality and adultery are found.
Which raises the question of why media organs like the Los Angeles Times single out Jay Leno, Ellen Degeneres, Mayor Lili Bosse and the Beverly Hills City Council for their appropriate stand against Shariah law when it comes to Brunei, yet Donnelly's raising of the issue of Kashkari's participation in a Shariah law event, featuring a person with DeLorenzo's background, is aggressively condemned.
Kyle Shideler is the director of the Counterterrorism Education and Analysis Project at the Center for Security Policy (   

No comments: