Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sharia In Canada - II

In the recent RIS conference, Dr Zakir Naik mentioned Sharia as having two components, i) social policy to prevent crimes and ii) punishment policy to provide justice to victims and deter future criminals. Despite my misgivings about Sharia in Canada, I am going to indulge in a mental exercise, regarding the recent Boxing Day shooting in Toronto.

According to Sharia every citizen who has a savings of greater than $0 in their bank account each year have to pay a tax of 2.5% of those savings to the public social treasury. This is called Bait-al-Maal, and is used to fund social programs and people on welfare. This was present in the Islamic empire as early as 600 AD, and is quite possibly the first social welfare program anywhere. So if it was in place in Toronto, there would be enough funds to make sure those below poverty line can climb above it, to provide social centers and basketball courts, to have anti-gun programs in schools, to fund police anti-gang programs and so on.

(As a sidenote, in absence of a central collecting agency, most Muslims pay 2.5% of their savings each year as charity to local and foreign poor people, called Zakat.)

The second aspect is punishment. It is no secret that Sharia punishments are tough. In this case, all the gang members who participated in the gun battle would be found guilty (based on evidence where innocence is presumed until proven guilty). In Sharia helping commit a crime carries the same sentence as committing the crime, so all gang members would be put to death (i.e. the death penalty).

Now, like Dr. Zakir Naik, I have to ask the question.

If we implement a policy where a portion of our savings go to help poor people and social programs to help reduce crime, and then punish murderers with the death penalty, will the level of crime go down, stay the same, or increase?

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

If we implement a policy where a portion of our savings go to help poor people and social programs to help reduce crime, and then punish murderers with the death penalty, will the level of crime go down, stay the same, or increase?

The problem as I see it, in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan we seem to have the second half of the equation only (punishment) while in countries like Canada we have the first half only (social programs).

- Farah

mezba said...

That's what I am saying Farah! The Liberals and NDP focus on social programs while the Tories focus on punishment and policing. I wish we could combine the two!

And also, I would like those who debate Sharia, as I said in my other original post about it, to do so on its own merits without demonizing Islam or spreading false propaganda.

Steve said...

For the record, Saudi Arabia has universal health care, free telephone service, and many other social niceties. There is also considerable donations to education from the Saudi Royal family (God bless their souls).

Im not saying Saudi Arabia is the correct implementation of shar'iah, but clearly you need more than social policy and enforcement to make shar'iah work - there needs to be a re-examination of many basic principles of whatever policies get implemented on gender and equality. Will freedom of speech be permissible to attack interpretations of shar'iah? Will judges be held accountable if they are too harsh, or too leanient.

The governance questions regarding shar'iah are indeed complicated.