Californistan or Bust: Here Come Da Judge
Meet Hamza Yusef Hanson, the Mufti of California.
"The WHAT?", I hear you cry.
A Mufti is an Islamic scholar who is an interpreter or expounder of Islamic law (Sharia), capable of issuing fataawa (plural of "fatwa").
In theocracies like Saudi Arabia and Iran, and in some countries where the constitution is based on sharia law, such as Egypt, the Grand Mufti rules if capital punishment is in accord with Islamic jurisprudence and the sharia and sometimes overrules criminal courts.
You read right, folks...this guy has apparently proclaimed himself to be THE legal arbiter in the state of California when it comes to all matters Muslim.
Which would, of course, require that Muslim law had been set into action in California...which, according to Stephen Schwartz, it hasn't:
Why would California have a mufti? Sharia governs such minor aspects of Islamic life as the issuance of halal butchers’ licenses, which are comparable to certification of kosher meat by rabbis. Sharia also determines the propriety of certain financial transactions between observant Muslims, and many American and other Western banks, investment houses, and related institutions have sharia consultants for the preparation of business contracts by their Muslim clients.
But California has no sharia courts. California’s Muslim population is about one million, or 3.4 percent of the whole population, which does not justify appointment of a mufti. How then does a major Saudi daily describe Hamza Yusuf Hanson as “mufti of California?”
So how did this come about? Read on:
...Born of a Catholic father and Greek Orthodox mother, Hanson became Muslim as a youth and distinguished himself, until September 11, as one of the loudest, most radical, vulgar, and provocative Islamist agitators in the West. In 1995, Hanson delivered himself of the opinion that Judaism is “a most racist religion.” (No such condemnation appears in the Koran or in mainstream Islamic theology, which honor the Jewish prophets.) ...
But don't worry...if his response to the events of 9/11 are any indication, he's pretty flexible:
With the passage of two days, of course, the world changed. Hamza Yusuf Hanson saw the difficulties that would face radical Muslim preachers in the West. He briskly reinvented himself as a peaceful, spiritual Sufi, although he has never given any indication of a real knowledge of the Sufi way or its cultural legacy. He also had the incredible luck to benefit from cluelessness inside the Beltway, and got to meet President George W. Bush. On the strength of that trivial encounter, he has built himself up as a major Western Muslim leader, claiming now to be a “Bush adviser” as well as the epitome of moderate Islam...
Well, he certainly seems to have done pretty well for himself thus far. For such a title to be bestowed upon oneself by one's brethren is a lofty honor indeed.
Especially for a white guy from Walla Walla.
I must say, though, that my initial reaction to the clip above is that he's cribbing from someone else's playbook. But that's just me.