Stonings at Ground Zero -- that'll be the day, right? The concept has no manifestation beyond the cold sweat of a dark-hours nightmare. Still, there's something worth gleaning from the not-so-free association process that inspired it.
It clicked when I read a riveting investigation by Christine Brim at BigPeace.com into scrubbed website material of the Cordoba Initiative, the Internet home of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, he of the Ground Zero Mosque. In this trove of information, curiously deleted from the current Cordoba Initiative website, lie key clues to Rauf's long-term program, the Shariah Index Project, whose "goal," as stated in the "hidden" material, is to "define, interpret and implement the concept of the Islamic state in modern times."
What is Shariah? It is the body of sacred laws that regulates public and private life in Islam. How does the Shariah Index Project fit into the planned mosque complex? Very easily, argues Brim. After accounting for the 13-story building's stated uses, from its mosque to its athletic and other facilities, Brim identified six undesignated stories. That's a lot of empty office space. But with its global spread, the Shariah Index Project just might be the perfect tenant.
Since 2006, Rauf has coordinated a series of international meetings with Shariah experts ranging from Muslim Brotherhood associates to Iran's Mohammad Javad Larijani, "who," as Brim reports, "has justified torture of Iranian dissidents as legal punishments under Shariah law."
That's not all Larijani, who heads Iran's Human Rights Council (for real), has justified. He has also justified Shariah-sanctioned stoning. As Anne Bayefsky recently reported, Rauf's picture with Larijani (and former U.S. ambassador to the Organization of the Islamic Conference Sada Cumber) disappeared from the Cordoba Initiative website, too.
So much to hide -- but the Shariah is out of the bag.
What would expanding Shariah mean here? More halal-butchered livestock leading, as in Europe, to halal-only menus? More midnight football practice during Ramadan? More sex-segregated swimming pools? More incitement to jihad in "radical" mosques? More "apostates" living in fear? More self-censorship, I mean "respect," when it comes to discussing Islam?