In May, the Center announced the publication of its new book: Radical Islam's Rules: The Worldwide Spread of Extreme Shari'a Law
(Rowman and Littlefield). The book describes the impact on human rights and democracy when states adopt a starkly repressive version of Islamic law or extreme Shari’a. Propagated largely by the regimes of Saudi Arabia and Iran, extreme Shari'a rule has spread over the last quarter century to a number of regionally influential countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Radical Islam’s Rules is edited by Senior Fellow Paul Marshall, and contains a foreword by James Woolsey and policy recommendations by the Director of the Center for Religious Freedom, Nina Shea (and is available through the Center—see order form on back). The book is composed principally of eight country studies written by both Muslim and non-Muslim human rights experts and details the situation in:
- Saudi Arabia and Iran, where totalitarian versions of Shari’a are well entrenched;
- Sudan, Nigeria and Pakistan, where such laws have been introduced recently or partially and are still contested;
- Indonesia and Malaysia, in which they have been successfully resisted; and
- Afghanistan, where Shari’a was recently incorporated into the new constitution, but where the effect on the governance of the country remains unclear.
Radical Islam's Rules documents effects of extreme Shari'a on human rights that are far more serious than the punishments of amputation and stoning that receive most international critical analysis. In practice, the status of women, the criminal code, religious freedom, the judicial system, educational systems, and the economy are all expected to conform to a purported seventh century model. However, the greatest danger of these laws is to democratic principles and systems themselves. Since their advocates assert they are divine, the laws cannot be debated or subordinated by man-made constitutions, legislative limits, or popular referenda.