A current situation in Malaysia illustrates why even mainstream Islam is a problem, with its claims to governance and law. Malaysia has not been known as a barbaric backwater such as say, Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. It isn't noted for violence, supporting terrorism, or any of the other things associated with radical Islam. In some ways it could be said to be a typical moderate Islamic country. It's only majority Muslim at that, with something like 40% of the population being of other or no religion. But this mainstream Muslim country is caning a woman for drinking beer.
The 32-year-old mother of two was sentenced to six lashes with a rattan cane after being caught drinking beer at a hotel in Pahang state in 2007.The victim herself, her ability to reason apparently clouded by her religion, says she wants the punishment to be public in order to "deter other Muslims from drinking alcohol."
Here's a former prime minster of Malaysia, commenting on criticism about the caning sentence.
[He] said in his blog Monday that Malaysia's Muslims have nothing to explain to the rest of the world. "As Muslims, we do not have to care too much about the view of others toward Islam when doing what the religion calls for,"When a religion explicitly rejects separation of church & state, as Islam does, this is the type of situation which results -- religion acting with the force of law to impose actual secular, as opposed to purely spiritual, penalties, based on a particular interpretation of doctrine. The article notes that
Malaysia's non-Muslims, including large ethnic-Chinese and Indian minorities, are free to drink and aren't subject to Shariah law.That's great, for now. But if you are a non-Muslim Malaysian, you'd have to be crazy not to have some worry for the future.