Note from Condoleeza Rice to George W. Bush and back again on June 28, 2004.
When Westerners and Muslims talk about "freedom," they are talking about two entirely different ideas. Tragically, irresponsibly, the political and academic elite still don't admit or know it. They seem to have learned nothing in more than a decade since 9/11 and the subsequent US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the several years since "Arab Spring."
It's so easy to find the facts it becomes clear they don't want to know them.
The entry on freedom, or hurriyya, in the "Encyclopedia of Islam" describes a state of divine enthrallment that bears no resemblance to any Western understanding of freedom as predicated on the workings of the individual conscience. According to the encyclopedia, Islamic freedom is "the recognition of the essential relationship between God the master and His human slaves who are completely dependent on Him." Ibn Arabi, a Sufi scholar of note, is cited for having defined freedom as "being perfect slavery" to Allah. To put it another way, Islamic-style "freedom" is freedom from unbelief.
Bringing Western-style "freedom" to the Islamic world at gunpoint & government contract probably resembled a global extension of the civil rights crusade to President Bush and Co., but after the armed utopians have gone, the Islamic dust settles.
With little notice, Reuters reports this month:
About two dozen Iraqi women have demonstrated in Baghdad against a draft law approved by the Iraqi cabinet that would permit the marriage of nine-year-old girls and automatically give child custody to fathers.
Thousands of war dead and wounded, and billions of dollars for this.
And now two dozen very brave women stand against Islam's prophet Mohammed, who set the Islamic example with his 9-year-old "wife."
The group's protest was on International Women's Day on Saturday (local time) and a week after the cabinet voted for the legislation, based on Shiite Islamic jurisprudence, allowing clergy to preside over marriages, divorces and inheritances.
The draft law would also condone a husband's right to insist on sexual intercourse with his wife whenever he wishes.
The draft now goes to parliament.
"On this day of women, women of Iraq are in mourning," the protesters shouted.
"We believe that this is a crime against humanity," said Hanaa Eduar, a prominent Iraqi human rights activist.
"It would deprive a girl of her right to live a normal childhood."
The United Nations's representative to Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov, also condemned the legislation.
Mr Mladenov wrote on Twitter the bill "risks constitutionally protected rights for women and international commitment".
The legislation goes to the heart of the divisions in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, as Shiite Islamists have come to lead the government and look to impose their religious values on society at large.
These Shiites "Islamists" are, in fact, followers of Islamic, not "Islamist" law. Because Westerners devoutly and dhmmi-fully protect Islam itself from scrutiny and criticism -- and, certainly in the case of "holy" child rape, abhorence -- they insist that those who carry out and follow Islamic law are "Islamists," implying they are also not devout Muslims. By this logic, of course, Mohammed, Islam's founder and "husband" to a 9-year-old "wife," was an "Islamist," too.
[The legislation] describes girls as reaching puberty at nine, making them fit for marriage, and makes the father sole guardian of his children when they hit two years of age.
The legislation is referred to as the Ja'afari Law, named after the sixth Shiite imam Ja'afar al-Sadiq, who founded his own school of jurisprudence.
The draft was put forward by justice minister Hassan al-Shimari, a member of the Shiite Islamist Fadila party, and approved by the cabinet on February 25.
It must now be reviewed by parliament, but the draft could very well languish, with national elections scheduled for April 30, and vocal opposition among secularists.
Shiite religious parties first attempted to pass a version of the law in 2003 under United States occupation, angering secular Iraqis and prompting protests.
Since then, amid Iraq's turmoil, the tug-of-war has continued between Iraq's secularists and Islamists.
Iraq's current personal status law enshrines women's rights regarding marriage, inheritance, and child custody, and has often been held up as the most progressive in the Middle East.
The proposed new law's defenders argue that the current personal status law violates sharia religious law.
Not to mention the Iraqi constitution itself, which, under US auspices, was written to enshrine Islamic law as supreme law of the land,
"This is the core of the freedom. Based on the Iraqi constitution, each component of the Iraqi people has the right to regulate its personal status in line with the instructions of its religion and doctrine," Hussein al-Mura'abi, a Shi'ite lawmaker and Fadila party leader, said.
"Let sharia-freedom reign," is what George W. Bush should have said.