Sanitized versions of sharia law are common in the West. Take Georgetown University Professor John Esposito's new book, which he wrote with Natana J. Delong-Bas.
In the book, Shariah: What Everyone Needs to Know, Esposito tell us that sharia is a reflection of "the common good (maslahah), human dignity, social justice, and the centrality of the community." Perceiving it as anything less is only due to "myth" and "sensationalism."
The authors make a big point to differentiate between sharia (which is "immutable and infallible" and based on the Quran and the sunna – hence divine in origin) and Islamic law (fiqh), which is fallible and subject to change.
Recently, the world has seen a number of instances of horrific public floggings in Islamic countries. In Iran, a young man was given 80 lashes in a public square for drinking alcohol when he was 14 or 15. The crime was committed over 10 years ago. Witnesses reported the man was tied to a tree and flogged by a masked man while a small crowd watched from a distance. The incident took place in the eastern city of Kashmar last week.
Although details of the whipping were not known, in Iran it is customary to use a one-meter (three-foot-long) whip. Many people faint from the pain after seven or eight strokes.
Drinking alcohol is one of 100 offenses punishable by flogging in Iran.
In Indonesia's sharia-compliant Aceh Province, 15 people were whipped in front a baying crowd of 1,000 on-lookers who shouted, "Flog them harder!" as the cane come down on their backs.
The punished included five women. The offenses ranged from gay sex (87 lashes each) to being drunk (27 lashes) to adultery (26 lashes).
The floggings were carried in front of a mosque after Friday prayers. Children were among the spectators.
John Esposito and his fellow Islamist apologists claim that sharia law is the embodiment of "human dignity" and "social justice." Yet flogging is part of sharia law and finds its source in the Quran and the sunna.
Esposito and company also would have the American public believe that those who oppose sharia are ignorant, at best, or Islamophobic, at worst.
To the contrary. Sharia law opposes the freedoms and values we hold dear in the West. We should not be duped by the professor from Georgetown.