An inheritance dispute amongst siblings which reached the ACT Supreme Court (Omari v Omari) was used in the media last week, on false premises, as another opportunity to bash Islam and allege that it discriminates against women and is sexist. The Federal Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, also weighed in on the topic, saying, “There is no place for sharia law in Australian society and the government strongly rejects any proposal for its introduction, including in relation to wills and succession.”
In response to this, Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia highlights the following points:
1. The assertion that Islam is sexist or values the male more the female is rejected outright and could not be further from the truth. Gender, race, ethnicity, wealth and status are not what distinguish people in the sight of God; rather, what distinguishes people is only their piety and consciousness of God. This is well known about Islam.
2. The reason for the difference in inheritance shares between male and female siblings has nothing to do with the worth ascribed to either gender as insinuated in media reporting and commentary, and as implicitly affirmed by the Attorney-General’s irresponsible comments. Indeed, only those who see the world through the lens of wealth and materialism would infer the worth of people from the material gains they receive.
3. In Islamic law, it is only in a minority of cases, from among the various possible scenarios of inheritance amongst relatives, wherein the female in apportioned less than the male. These cases correspond directly to the male having a greater financial responsibility than the female. In all the other cases, the vast majority, the female’s share is either equal or higher to that of the male. This fact belies the allegations being trumpeted.
4. Nicola Roxan, fresh in her new position as Attorney-General, has been quick to keep with the tradition of high-ranking Australian politicians attacking Islam and lecturing Muslims about Australian values and society. We know well about the society and values she speaks of. We know well about the society and values that have pushed a social framework which has led to family breakdown and social disintegration. A society where a rhetoric of equality for women is juxtaposed with a reality of rampant domestic violence, established glass-ceilings, a culture of discrimination in institutions such as the army, and the commoditisation of the woman.
5. It is liberalism that devalues women, not Islam. It is not the call for modest dress in public that devalues women but the multi-billion dollar pornography industries that operate legally in modern liberal-democracies, including Australia. It is not the de-emphasis on external looks in favour of internal worth that devalues the woman but that use of her body to sell chocolate bars, cars and soft drinks.
6. We have here an example of the intolerance of those who charge Islam with intolerance. Yet under the Caliphate people of religions other than Islam are allowed to conduct their private affairs, including inheritance, by their own beliefs and laws. It seems modern Western liberal-democracies cannot stand up to the same lofty standards, and that Western leaders would rather simply continue abusing minorities as a political football to score cheap points whenever expedient.
Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia
20 March 2012