Content Notice for Discussion of Rape and Sexual Assault. Also note that for purposes of comparison, the only crimes being discussed are male-on-female. There is shamefully little-to-nothing in Sharia regarding men and boys who are sexually violated and rape deniers rarely take the issue of male-on-male or female-on-male rape into consideration.
Conclusion: You just might be a hypocritical misogynist if your standards of evidence for rape are more stringent than those of certain iterations of traditional Sharia. Thank goodness for the American justice system which, flawed as it is, has not such victim-blaming standards.
Never-Muslim Americans, atheists and Christians alike, seem to greatly enjoy both fearing and berating Sharia. Every state in the Union but 16 has considered a ban on Sharia law despite no serious talk, let alone from movement, from American Muslims towards actually implementing Sharia in the US. Seven states have codified such bans into law.
What does Sharia have to say about rape? As with many questions of Islamic law, it depends on who you ask.
- According to your garden-variety Islamist, a woman needs four witnesses to “prove” she has been raped, with the implication that those witnesses be male.
- According to one account from the life of Muhammad, rapists are to be punished without the need for four witnesses.
- According to Islam Q&A (via On Islam) as well as an Al-Azhar cleric, a judge has discretionary ability on what punishment to mete out to a rapist depending on a few factors, including whether or not there were four witnesses.
- According to a Canadian cleric, the onus is on the alleged rapist to prove his innocence rather than vice versa.
- According to Islam Help Line, the woman is to be believed without witnesses and to not be prosecuted for extramarital sex. There’s a catch: The conviction can only be obtained if there are four witnesses and barring that, the woman could be held accountable for making a false accusation.
Court- and legislation- based movements from Christians aside, the response from atheist men active in the US to non-male pleas for gender equality often is “Well, at least it’s not as bad as if you lived in an Islamic state!” This sentiment is not expressed only by fringe atheists with no clout, mind you. Those who have said such things include a rather famous atheist man of British origin whose expression of that idea lends itself to the naming of the trope. I’ll stop short of calling Dear Muslima a fallacy, since others already have.
Another defense that American men love to trot out in response to gendered issues is “Well, we don’t have enough proof.” or “There was no conviction.” This is usually in response to an allegation of sexual assault or harassment. Their conclusion is that, barring a court conviction, allegations must be false. Mindbogglingly, some iterations of Sharia are more compassionate to women alleging sexual assault than these men are, if not exactly the pinnacle of justice and mercy.
The US Court System
Much of the evidence dismissed as “hearsay” or “not scientifically falsifiable” on its face by rape deniers is absolutely admissible in a court of law and could lead to a conviction. The standards required to verify a scientific theory do not apply in a rape trial. As beyond flawed as the court system is, its approach stands as the best of the three discussed here.