So what does al-Shariah -- an Arabic phrase that means "the well trodden path to the waterhole" that has come to mean Islamic law as well -- say about slavery?
Well, it really depends which sharia you're talking about.
Because al-Shariah, the path Muhammad and his companions walked led toward a world without slavery, something every modern day scholar will happily confirm. But after they passed away, later Muslims who saw their slave-count dwindling decided they didn't like it. So they "tweaked" the rules just a little, just enough maintain their access to fresh slaves.
And whenever that happens, whenever Muslims put their own ambitions ahead of true fidelity to the path of Islam -- that leads us to serve God by serving His Creation, albeit in different roles -- and instead misdirect al-Shariah to serve their own dark desires instead, they turn their man-made so-called sharia laws into an abomination.
However, personally, I think the most important lesson al-Shariah teaches us is that the life of faith is a journey, and no matter how far down a path you've gone in the wrong direction, you can change it back into a righteous path just by turning yourself around.
And quite frankly, it's long past time for Muslims who honestly love Islam, sharia and Muhammad's legacy to fix those abuses and begin to take sharia back for Muhammad's exemplary Islam!Don't believe a word of it. No matter how "exemplary," Muhammad's Islam has built-in inequities that cannot be "tweaked" (Islam being "perfect" and all), ones that make its shariah incompatible with freedom and democracy as we in the West understand it.
Update: Two of the foremost dhimmi apologists for Islam--John Esposito and Karen Armstrong--love Liepert. 'Nuff said.