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Maldives Code of Criminal Justice

Reader comment on item: [Paul H. Robinson:] U Penn Prof for Shari'a

Submitted by Robin Katzman (United States), Jul 26, 2004 at 09:28

Dear Dr. Pipes,
I estimate that you are one of the few scholars, commentators, and/or speakers that I agree with almost totally. However, I think you are wrong in your position on this one.

If it is truly your goal, as you have stated publicly at several forums, to empower moderate Muslims, then this is a noble undertaking on the part of the Maldive government and Professor Robinson. Muslims are not going to go away and they are not going to abandon Islam in the Maldives. The goal of the world's democracies should be to bring them into the mainstream, to show them the way to allow the Shari'a to stretch to incorporate moderate principals in much the same way that Conservative Jews have stretched religious law to embrace modernity.

Once moderates are empowered and the people have a taste for justice, it is not likely that they will willingly return to the harsh "justice" of the Shari'a, particularly if the world's democracies remain vigilant and the media is engaged. (It still mystifies me that educated, empowered women in Afghanistan allowed themselves to be totally subjugated by the Taliban in a short period of time.)

I am terribly afraid of the rise of Islamism and welcome the opportunity to offer a moderate position. I don't believe that the Maldives will develop an American style of jurisprudence. Let's help them develop a moderate and fair system of their own--without our help --otherwise they don't have a prayer.

Robin Katzman
Longwood, FL

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