Sunday, July 10, 2005

Islam On Trial - Part 1

ATTENDANT: All rise. This court is now in session.

JUDGE: Yes, thank you. There is only one matter on today’s list. It is the trial of a mere 1.2 billion people. We have our jury present. I will start with opening submissions. Mr Prosecutor?

PROSECUTOR: Ladies and gentleman of the neo-Conservative jury. Today you are being asked to judge on the guilt of the scourge of humanity. 1.2 billion people from over 60 different countries, speaking over 500 languages and dialects, following different cultures and with different sectarian and political leanings.

And all with one thing in common.

The prosecution will establish beyond reasonable doubt that all Muslims are part of a huge conspiracy to destroy our western civilisation, institutions and way of life. We will establish that each and every Muslim is a partner to this grand conspiracy.

Our evidence will consist of a number of experts. Amongst them is former director of the National Crime Authority, Peter Faris QC. Mr Faris is a respected barrister and radio announcer …

DEFENCE COUNSEL: Objection, your honour. Mr Faris is in fact a shock jock.

JUDGE: Yes, I will allow that objection. Mr Prosecutor, kindly use correct terminology in future.

PROSECUTOR: As the court pleases. Mr Faris has stated on his blog that in his expert opinion …

DEFENCE COUNSEL: Objection again. Mr Faris’ evidence must be discounted because he has not proven his expertise.

PROSECUTOR: Mr Faris is a respected barrister. As former head of the National Crime Authority, he is an expert on criminal law, forensic investigation and law enforcement. He …

DFENCE COUNSEL: Yes, but with respect to my friend. Your Honour, Mr Faris has not established any serious expertise in Muslim cultures or Islamic theology.

PROSECUTOR: Why should knowledge of Islam or Muslims be a requisite for proving their guilt?

JUDGE: Come now, Mr Prosecutor. How can you condemn a man without understanding his motives? Or without delving into his psyche? Even if 1.2 billion Muslims were guilty, how can I sentence them properly without taking into account these factors? At some stage, you will need to consider this.

PROSECUTOR: As the court pleases. I will therefore move onto the real experts whom Mr Faris and even the governments rely upon. DR Daniel Pipes is a respected author and writer. He holds a PhD from Harvard and has written extensively on Islamist extremism. He has also delivered lectures and has a popular website where his editorials are published. He speaks fluent Arabic and and …

JUDGE: Look, he sounds impressive. I need not hear anymore, unless the Defence Counsel has something to say.

DEFENCE COUNSEL: Your honour, Dr Pipes’ credentials are impressive. Yes, he does speak Arabic. But most modern Islamist ideological texts have been written in Urdu and Farsi by non-Arabs. The most prominent Islamist scholars include Syed Maududi from Pakistan and Ayatollah Khomeini from Iran. These writers rarely wrote in Arabic.

PROSECUTOR: That may be so, but my friend still needs to address Dr Pipes’ PhD from Harvard.

DEFENCE COUNSEL: Dr Pipes claims to be an expert on 20th century Islamist political polemic. His PhD is actually in Medieval European History. The closest he will have studied to modern Islamist rhetoric would have been the Seljuk and early Ottoman period prior to the 1600’s. Or perhaps he will be able to tell us about the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Spain and the subsequent Inquisition. My friend has also not informed the Court as to what knowledge Dr Pipes gained in his other studies and what results he obtained. Also, Your …

PROSECUTOR: That may be true, Your Honour, but Dr Pipes has lectured widely in the area and …

DEFENCE COUNSEL: Your honour, apart from practising law, I too have lectured widely to both students and professionals. I have prepared and delivered materials on Criminal Law and Procedure. But that does not necessarily qualify me to condemn a certain class of people as criminals.

JUDGE: Mr Defence Counsel, this trial is not about you.

DEFENCE COUNSEL: With respect, Your Honour. This trial is about me. It is about condemning my Muslim neighbours. It is about condemning my instructing solicitors of Muslim background, not to mention the Prosecutor’s instructing solicitors. It is about condemning my family doctor, my accountant, my bank manager, the Dean of the Law School where I studied, my colleagues at the Bar and other good and decent people making contributions to society.

JUDGE: That may be so, but all these good people you speak about are silent about terror. They must speak out.

DEFENCE COUNSEL: Your honour, in our criminal justice system, every man woman and child has the right to remain silent upon arrest. We need to ask ourselves why they are silent …

PROSECUTOR: Your honour, I note the time.

JUDGE: Yes, thank you Mr Prosecutor. I will take the morning adjournment.

ATTENDANT: All rise. This court is temporarily adjourned.

© Irfan Yusuf, 2005

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1 comment:

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