Quilliam calls for Islamic hudood laws to be abolished

Usama Hasan

The Quilliam Foundation has called for the Islamic hudood laws to be abolished.

In a new report, the controversial “counter-extremism” organisation says the reforms would help defeat “ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Jamaat-e-Islami, Muslim Brotherhood and Khomeinist ideology.”

Quilliam released the report shortly after Saudi Arabia abolished flogging from their penal code – a move Quilliam applauded.

In its report, Quilliam says hudood punishments are not required by Islamic law. This goes directly against the mainstream Islamic position that the laws (which include the cutting of the hand and the death penalty) are timeless as long as they are implemented correctly and in the right context.

Mainstream Islamic scholars say that the harsh punishments are rarely implemented in a proper Islamic system, but do exist as the ultimate deterrent for the worst crimes.

Usama Hasan, co-author of the Quilliam report said: “Islamists seek to challenge democratic and secular states by arguing that these are not legitimate because they do not carry out floggings, amputations and other cruel punishments.

“Violent Islamist groups resort to the application of hudood precisely in order to prove the legitimacy of their rule. It is for this reason that unspeakably barbaric punishments were such a prominent feature of the rule of ISIS in Syria.

“However, the key theological sources which underpin the Sharia make it clear that the approach favoured by Islamists ignores certain of the higher objectives of Islamic law: the promotion of forgiveness and rehabilitation, including the waiving of punishments. The Islamist approach to corporal punishment is a distortion of the Islamic approach to criminal justice.

“Severe corporal punishment was a feature of all societies in the 7th century. It represented a necessity within a nomadic society, which could not imprison and rehabilitate criminals. However, by the 19th century, the Ottoman Caliphate had abolished such punishments, because they were considered to be neither necessary nor appropriate.

“An approach to Sharia, premised upon its fundamental objectives, both promotes human rights and the honouring of those international agreements which Muslim-majority states have signed. Islamic jurisprudence supports the evolution, modification and repeal of hudood laws in our age because these are outdated and contradict the essential Islamic principles of justice and mercy.”

Since its foundation in 2007, Quilliam has campaigned for an “Islamic reformation.” It has received millions in funding from the British government and conservative groups. And it has also targeted many British Muslim organisations and activists, including 5Pillars, accusing them of extremism.

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