It’s not all just about getting stoned, wearing a veil and chopping hands off thieves. Islamic law, that is. There’s a lot of talk, fear, posturing, hot air and general ill-informed comment about sharia.
So here’s your chance to become an instant expert – well, within 40 minutes.
The In Our Time radio show on BBC Radio 4 was discussing the origins of sharia this morning.
Britain’s answer to Donald Trump, Melvyn Bragg (OK, OK, bit unfair, it’s the hair that set me off) led three eminent scholars through a 40 minute exploration of how sharia came to be.
(Hugh Kennedy, Prof of Arabic – School of Oriental & African Studies at the University of London; Robert Gleave, Prof of Arabic Studies – University of Exeter; Mona Siddiqui, Prof of Islamic Studies – University of Glasgow.)
Good show, producer Thomas Morris!
You can listen to it via the BBC iPlayer here, or download the podcast here. I recommend you do, because the In Our Time series is always fascinating. It covers science, history, culture, art and philosophy – ideas. It treats the listeners as an intelligent eavesdropper.
I wasn’t planning to mention sharia, but it just popped up on my car radio. The only benefit of having to drive to work.
I like to include something visual to illustrate the subject, so here’s an example of a punishment you probably would NOT get under sharia. (Involves a bit of languid car washing.)
Well… you can’t just live on a diet of Radio 4.
And – you may be wondering why on earth there’s a picture of a shield with a red hand on it at the top of this post. Two reasons.
Firstly, finding an image to represent the totality of sharia is a bit tricky. Secondly, it’s a reminder that Muslims aren’t the only ones to go in for cutting off hands. The shield is the coat of arms of Ulster (my province). Here’s the story of how the place came to be represented by the Red Hand.
And as we’ve been talking about laws, it’s only fair to provide something for readers who rebel against them, sharia or otherwise. This tune was famously covered by The Clash – but I like the Colin Farrell version and I don’t care who knows it. (The song is from a great Irish film called Intermission – sorry about the picture sequence here.)