Barack Obamas rådgiver i muslimske spørsmål, Dalia Mogahed, deltok i et tv-program i London arrangert av Hizb ut-Tahrir, der hun hevdet at sharia er misforstått og feiloppfattet.
Mogahed er den første tildekkede muslimske kvinne i Obamas administrasjon. Hun er velkjent i USA, og skrev en bok med John Esposito: «What muslims think». Hun har gjennomført spørreundersøkelser i mange muslimske land.
I TV-programmet kritiserte to Hizb-medlemmer vestlig lov og rett fordi den er sekulær og vedtatt av mennesker. Mogahed tok ikke avstand fra disse synspunktene.
During the 45-minute discussion, on the Islam Channel programme Muslimah Dilemma earlier this week, the two members of the group made repeated attacks on secular «man-made law» and the West’s «lethal cocktail of liberty and capitalism».
They called for Sharia Law to be «the source of legislation» and said that women should not be «permitted to hold a position of leadership in government».
Miss Mogahed made no challenge to these demands and said that «promiscuity» and the «breakdown of traditional values» were what Muslims admired least about the West.
She said: «I think the reason so many women support Sharia is because they have a very different understanding of sharia than the common perception in Western media.
«The majority of women around the world associate gender justice, or justice for women, with sharia compliance.
«The portrayal of Sharia has been oversimplified in many cases.»
Miss Mogahed admitted that even many Muslims associated Sharia with «maximum criminal punishments» and «laws that… to many people seem unequal to women,» but added: «Part of the reason that there is this perception of Sharia is because Sharia is not well understood and Islam as a faith is not well understood.»
The video of the broadcast has now been prominently posted on the front page of Hizb ut Tahrir’s website.
Miss Mogahed, who was born in Egypt and moved to America at the age of five, is the first veiled Muslim woman to serve in the White House. Her appointment was seen as a sign of the Obama administration’s determination to reach out to the Muslim world.
She is also the executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, a project which aims to scientifically sample public opinion in the Muslim world.