‘Majority Muslim’ Versus Islamic Nations, Part 1: Borderline Cases

By John Hayward, BREITBART

The mainstream media likes to claim President Trump’s executive order on immigration suspends visas from six or seven “Muslim-majority” countries, but as I pointed out in a previous column, all of them are Muslim countries, period.

All seven nations name Islam as their official state religion and base their legal code to some degree on Islamic sharia law. That includes Iraq, dropped from the second version of Trump’s order, whose post-Saddam Hussein government was nursed into existence with extensive financial and political assistance from the United States.

How many true “Muslim-majority” nations in the world? In other words, how many countries have a majority of Muslim citizens but do not designate Islam as the official state religion, and keep their legal systems completely free of sharia influence?

This exploration should begin with acknowledging that precise demographic data is hard to come by for nations where Muslims comprise roughly half the population. Most efforts to list the world’s Muslim-majority nations point to a 2010 Pew Research study called “The Future of the Global Muslim Population,” whose data is now seven years old.

Demographic shifts and the shortage of reliable data can make it difficult to say whether some countries hovering around the 50-percent mark currently have Muslim majorities. Reference.com, for example, cites Nigeria as a borderline case because Pew’s 2010 data had the population at 47.9 percent Muslim, but many sources list it as a Muslim-majority nation.

Three of the toughest borderline cases are Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey.

Indonesia: Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world. Indonesia has about 207 million Muslim inhabitants, with a total population of 250 million, making it over 80 percent Muslim.

Indonesia is routinely cited as an example of harmonious secular government, the textbook example of a Muslim-majority nation that is not officially Muslim by law. Indonesia’s constitution, which dates back to 1945, does not specify a state religion or make special provisions for sharia law. Indonesia does require a certain faith for its president, but it is not Islam – it is a unique school of philosophy called Pancasila. As Australia recently learned, Indonesia is very serious about the importance of Pancasila.

And yet, the UK Daily Mail reported on Indonesia’s “masked sharia law enforcers” on Monday, including photographs of a man and woman receiving 25 lashes in public for violating Islamic law by “spending time with somebody who is not their husband or wife.” A woman took 100 lashes with a cane recently for sex outside of marriage, according to the report.

Gambling, drinking alcohol, women failing to wear headscarves, and homosexuality are also punished with beatings in Aceh province, which the Daily Mail explains is “the only province in the country which implements sharia law in full,” following a 2001 grant of autonomy from the central government in Jakarta.

“Over the past decade, the central government has devolved more power to regional authorities to increase autonomy and speed up development,” the Daily Mail adds. “Engaging in homosexual acts is not a crime under Indonesia’s national criminal code but remains taboo in many conservative parts of the country with the world’s largest Muslim population.”

In April 2016, the first non-Muslim was beaten in public for violating sharia law in Aceh, by selling alcohol. The victim was a 60-year-old Christian woman.

Aceh is not the lone island of sharia law in Indonesia. In a January article, the New York Times cited a recent study that found “more than 442 Shariah-based ordinances have been passed throughout the nation since 1999, when Jakarta gave provinces and districts substantial powers to make their own laws.” The regulations cover matters such as “female attire, the mixing of the sexes, and alcohol.”

According to the NYT, local officials view the spread of sharia law across Indonesia as a “point of pride,” and see Aceh as a model to be emulated. The head of Aceh’s Department of Sharia is described as a “moderate” who thinks Aceh’s version of Islamic law is “softer” than Saudi Arabia’s because it welcomes “alternative schools of Islamic thought” and accepts “the role of female leaders.” Women’s rights activists supported the female mayor of Aceh as a progressive reformer, but she promptly slapped a curfew on women once she got in office and went about “personally dispersing events deemed to contradict sharia,” such as a beauty contest.

The Times article closes with an Islamist preacher declaring that Aceh is a “model for the entire Indonesian nation” and must “become the locomotive for the movement to apply Shariah law throughout Indonesia.”

The Christian governor of Jakarta – the first non-Muslim to hold that position in the last half-century – is currently on trial for blasphemy because he supposedly criticized the Koran, and could face up to five years in prison if convicted. The governor was in tears when he appeared before a court, not to challenge the blasphemy law, but to deny he intended to insult the Koran. A crowd outside the building screamed “Allahu akbar!” while he testified.

Indonesia is not a completely secular Muslim-majority nation. The best that can be said of its current situation is that moderates, including Muslim supporters of the Jakarta governor, are trying to push back against the rising tide of Islamization.

Nigeria: Nigeria’s 1999 constitution explicitly grants legal authority to sharia courts. Sharia is mentioned dozens of times in the section of the constitution that defines Nigeria’s judicial system, including specific procedures for replacing the judges of state and local courts (candidates must hold a “recognized qualification in Islamic law from an institution approved by the National Judicial Council” for at least ten years.)

Critics of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari have accused him of transforming Nigeria into a Muslim nation. Saudi Arabia nonchalantly refers to Nigeria as such. It is a member state of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Recent efforts have been made to expand the power of sharia courts; advocates argue that officially granting criminal jurisdiction to sharia courts, rather than only permitting them to rule in civil complaints, will protect Christians in northern Nigeria because Muslims will be less likely to kill them over minor provocations.

“Many non-Muslims are being unjustly killed. People are doing injustice to non-Muslims by attacking non-Muslims just because they’re not Muslims,” explained lawmaker Abdullahi Salame in May 2016. “With the passage of this bill, no Muslim will ever attempt even to harm, much less, kill non-Muslims, because you know Sharia can attend to criminal cases and you will be dealt with. And, in Islam, when you kill a non-Muslim, you will be killed. These Boko Haram and other groups that hide behind any little crisis to attack Christians and other non-Muslims would be easily punished.”

Turkey: Turkey is officially secular, according to its Constitution – which begins with a salute to the “immortal leader and unrivaled hero” who founded the modern Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Unfortunately, there are grave concerns about Turkey’s future as a secular state, and the current health of religious freedom is far from robust. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom lists Turkey as a “Tier 2” country, in which the government commits or tolerates serious violations of religious freedom.

Turkey’s population is heavily Sunni Muslim – 75 to 85 percent, according to government estimates. Less than half of one percent of the population is non-Muslim. USCIRF criticizes Turkey’s government for exercising excessive control over all religion in a variety of ways, perhaps most significantly by denying religious minorities the right to train clergy. Islamic religious instruction for all children is mandatory unless parents request a waiver. Some parents hesitate to request such a waiver because it would mean revealing their religious affiliation to the government.

Much of the energy for reform in Turkey comes from the Alevi Muslim minority, a sizable minority that may comprise up to 25 percent of the Turkish population. The Alevis are a mystical offshoot of Shia Islam – a branch so distant that some of them don’t even identify as Muslim anymore. They have frequently complained of government discrimination against them.

As it stands, Turkey is a “Muslim-plus” country where religions other than Sunni Islam face special forms of official discrimination, even though there is no official state religion. The U.S. government has been working to encourage religious freedom reforms and praises the positive developments it sees, but there are fears about the increasingly authoritarian rule of Islamist president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Religious freedom advocates have criticized (and his followers heartily praised) Erdogan for seeking to establish Turkey as a leading force in Islam, occasionally even styled as a “caliph” or “sultan.” There is little question that Erdogan has turned the country away from strict secularism and toward Islamic nationalism.

In Part 2, we’ll review the nations where Islam is the official state religion.

April 25, 2017 | Comments Off on ‘Majority Muslim’ Versus Islamic Nations, Part 1: Borderline Cases | 95 views

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4 Comments / 0 Comments

  1. :
    Elections sort out which special interest group will get control of the government, with the understanding that the group which emerges victorious will get to unleash the raw power of the government against the group’s political enemies.

    If that reality makes you feel vulnerable (you could be the next target in the government’s crosshairs), then please oppose any political policy which doesn’t make government as small as possible.

    Keep in mind that government is already so BIG that whatever amount it might grow tomorrow, as a result of some scheme it can hatch today, would be negligible compared to its current size.

    No old taxes!

    And don’t vote.

  2. I understand that articles against Islamic practices are a major part of your work here, Ted. What this does, is paint the world from an Islamic perspective: There seem to be only two types of people in the world — Muslims and non-Muslims.

    As a Jew, categorizing the world in this way is “safe”, for not offending readers — readers which include Orthodox Jews, non-Orthodox Jews, adamant Atheists, Christians of every stripe (many of which consider themselves the “one and only”), Hindus, Pagans, etc. All fit into the category of “Non-Muslim”.

    1. There are some problems with this worldview. First of all, I consider myself a Bible-believer, not a “Non-Muslim”. I know what the Bible says, and build my life around it. I have read Qur’an twice, but only out of curiosity: I don’t attach any religious or scientific value to the text. Why, then, should I define myself according to it?

    2. Many of the PARTICULARS of Islam that many readers find offensive, are actually practices mandated by the Bible. Where there is a difference, it is only one of degree. The Bi8ble, for instance, demands a death penalty for homosexual practices. I don’t even recall Qur’an forbidding such, though it certainly seems to be part of their Sunna, Hadith and whatever. Even noted rabbis, throughout the ages, have called homosexuality a sin; as have most or all popes. Only the punishment varies, from religion to religion.

    If Islam ever dominates the world, a scenario which I doubt, it will be because Jews, Christians and others have submitted to the neo-dhimmi status of being called “others and none”; and because a very powerful, active religion called “unbelief” has been insidiously dominating the Jewish world and “Christendom”.

    Muslims rule over a little in excess of 20% of the world. Chinese-based and kindred religions rule another fifth, mostly in the form of a Communism that is, at the street level, Traditional Chinese Religion. Hindus and monastic Buddhists rule another fifth. “Christendom” rules two fifths, split roughly in half: (1) “Western” society, which is rooted in Christianity but has largely abandoned it in favor of hedonism; and (2) the “Third World” Christianity that includes Filipino and Latin American dictators, and African leaders like President Zuma — all of whom are much more “Third World” than “Christian”.

    Which of the above threaten Jews and sincere Christians? ALL OF THEM. Over the next ten years or so, we will find this out only too well. Most shocking of all, will be what category we find ourselves in, once they start chopping off heads, feeding us to the lions and firing up the ovens.

  3. Michael S Said:

    Many of the PARTICULARS of Islam that many readers find offensive, are actually practices mandated by the Bible. Where there is a difference, it is only one of degree.

    Yes and no. Most everything the Koran contains that we view negatively originated in the Torah. Notwithstanding this being so, Jews abandoned these penalties and values centuries before Mohammed appeared.

    I will leave it to the Rabbis to debate the efficacies of these ordinances in biblical times. Today, the whole world including Jews reject the barbarism contained in the Koran and practiced by many Muslims. That’s what matters.

  4. @ Michael S:
    Ted Belman Said:

    Yes and no. Most everything the Koran contains that we view negatively originated in the Torah

    There’s three that didn’t. I recently noticed them. Yes, it says exterminate every living thing in the promised land and enslave the women and children of enemies who refuse to surrender abroad BUT — and this is revolutionary, truly, and it’s one of the things that distinguished our ancestors from Mohammad or Isis (another being that even then they didn’t take enforcement literally and created a system of debate, checks and balances, and interpretation that made evolution possible, Islam rewards interpretation with death. The opening command is “recite” and that’s how these killer robots learn) — :

    To deal with a beautiful woman taken captive in war in the manner prescribed in the Torah (Deut. 21:10-14) (affirmative).
    Not to sell a beautiful woman, (taken captive in war) (Deut. 21:14) (negative).
    Not to degrade a beautiful woman (taken captive in war) to the condition of a bondwoman (Deut. 21:14) (negative).”
    http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm

    “Marriage with a Female Captive.
    10
    c When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your power, so that you take captives,
    11
    if you see a beautiful woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as a wife,
    12
    and so you take her home to your house, she must shave her head,* cut her nails,
    13
    lay aside her captive’s garb, and stay in your house, mourning her father and mother for a full month. After that, you may come to her, and you shall be her husband and she shall be your wife.
    14
    If later on you lose your liking for her, you shall give her her freedom, if she wishes it; you must not sell her for money. Do not enslave her, since you have violated her.

    “Whether the Deuteronomic code – the set of laws at chapters 12–26 which form the original core of the book – was written in Josiah’s time (late 7th century) or earlier is subject to debate, but many of the individual laws are older than the collection itself.”

    “Moses Timeline
    Search Results
    c. 1,400 BCE”

    “Muhammad was born in the year 570 in the town of Mecca, a mountain town in the high desert plateau of western Arabia. …”

    Revolutionary for its time, 2 thousand years before that viciously feral pervert, The Perp, Mohammad, May he rot in ten thousand hells, and a spit and a curse be on his name, plagiarized his disgusting Koran in a Saudi Arabia that was mostly Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, and Animist.

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