The NYT's Andrea Elliott Strikes Again: The Truth About Shariah

On the frontpage of the New York Times today, there is a big story about sharia (Islamic law) — no, I don’t mean the below-the-fold story about the teen-aged couple in Afghanistan recently yanked from their car by a group of men (not cuddly “village elders”??) while some 300 surging, angry Afghans called the teens “adulterers” and demanded, a la sharia (Islamic law), “they be stoned to death or hanged.”

Indeed, on pp. 610 and 611 of Reliance of the Traveller, the authoritative, Al Ahzar University-approved, Sunni guide to Islamic law, I find that stoning to death is the penalty for “fornication of sodomy” (the index reference for “adultery” directs a reader to “See Fornication”).

I’m talking about the above-the-fold NYT story about sharia — namely, the story about my Team B II friend and colleague David Yerushalmi, who, I find by reading the caption under his picture, “has quietly led a national movement” against the incorporation of sharia into American law.

Well, hallelujah, happy day! Thanks to David’s toil, maybe we won’t live to see American teenagers (or, come to think of it, homosexual wedding couples fanfare-featured in the NYT) hauled from their cars and marked for public stoning.The Times should be thrilled, no?

No. The New York Times, in the person of reporter Andrea Elliott, is not amused. “Shariah means `the way to the watering hole.’ ” Elliott tells us. “It is Islam’s road map for living morally and achieving salvation.”

Gee, where can we all sign up? Anyway, as such and, whaddya know, according to all of the Muslim spokesmen Elliott consults or references, Yerushalmi is dead wrong. So is all of the evidence he has amassed, including the peer-reviewed data he compiled in his Mapping Shariah project, a study which found that over 80 percent of 100 randomly chosen American mosques promote Islamic literature advocating violence.

What to do with this alarming information, which the New York Times here reports for the very first time in passing? This, Elliott writes of the study, “has drawn sharp rebuke from Muslim leaders, who question its premise and findings.” Translation: Muslims “question” them so bye-bye data.

None of this is surprising because Elliott is no stranger to Islamic apologetics. In fact, it seems to be her beat. In March 2011, Powerline’s Scott Johnson discussed Elliott’s NYT magazine piece on Yasir Qadhi, and how weirdly impressed she seemed to be by him. Back in 2006, I wrote a column about her three-part whitewash of a suicide-bomber-exalting, Hamas-admiring imam, which went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. (Yes, that would be the three-part whitewash that won industry kudos, not the column.) Last year, I was taken aback by a quotation she chose to illustrate the literalism of Salafists, Muslims whose much-discussed extremism is a product of their literal adherence to the supremacist and violent exhortations of the Koran. She wrote:

The Salafist interpretation of Islamic doctrine tends to be literal and originalist. “They remind me a lot of Scalia in their approach to texts,” says Bernard Haykel, a professor at Princeton University.

Scalia? How did the Supreme Court Justice enter into this feature on Alabama-born, Shabab leader and jihad-killer Omar Hammami, aka Al-Amriki? No matter. In this alternate universe, judicial adherence, say, to the First Amendment — “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” etc.– is just the same as a Salafist’s operational manifestations of the Koran — “Therefore when you meet them in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners….”

It’s a straight line to the watering hole.

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