The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sweet Sharia

Although I am not an expert on either Islam or Sharia Law, I have taken the time to read the Qur'an. In fact, I've struggled through it twice in its entirety using two different translations. The Qur'an, along with the example and teaching of Muhammad that make up the Sunnah (and the Hadith), are the primary sources of Islamic Law, or sharia. Sharia is interpreted by scholars of the law and by judges and imams, and some of these interpretations are truly unbelievable...unbelievable, that is, unless you stay informed on this stuff.

Keep in mind that most Muslim men actually want to live under sharia law. Indeed, Islam teaches that everyone, not just Muslims, should accept and live under sharia. Of course, if you're not a Muslim living under sharia is not very pleasant. Just ask a Coptic Christian in Egypt, or better yet, any non-Muslim working in Saudi Arabia. Indeed, living under sharia is not particularly pleasant even for many Muslims, especially for Muslim women.

This past week, for example, I came across two news stories related to sharia and young girls. In the first an influential Saudi cleric by the name of Sheikh Abdullah Daoud stated on Saudi television that the best way to keep baby girls from being sexually exploited and abused is to have them wear the burqa, the full body veil worn by many Muslim women. It seems the Sheikh learned from medical and security professionals that such abuse is common in the kingdom. The burqa, you see, will apparently help Saudi men resist the temptation to sexually abuse infant girls. Many of the sheikh's colleagues (judges and imams) are upset with his public statements because they seem to reflect unfavorably on Islam and sharia. No kidding! Welcome to the world of sharia law in Saudi Arabia where billions of petrodollars combined with a seriously dysfunctional culture support the continuation of such unspeakable evil.

Fayhan al-Ghamdi, the murderous sheikh
This evil is clearly manifested in the second story. It involves the trial of another Saudi cleric, Sheikh Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a television preacher who tortured and savagely beat to death his five-year-old daughter, Lama, because he suspected her of losing her virginity. Did you get that? His five-year-old daughter? He not only used whips on her tiny body, he also beat and burned her with a hot iron. Not surprisingly, there was also evidence that she was brutally sexually assaulted. Having divorced Lama's mother the sheikh apparently had custody of the girl. Because she was, in his words, "behaving strangely", he concluded that she was no longer a virgin.

During his subsequent trial the court reviewed the applicable Hadith and concluded that a father who kills his daughter cannot be accused of murder and, therefore, cannot be executed. In coming to this interesting decision, the court relied on a couple of sources in which the Prophet Muhammad stated that a father may not be executed for killing his son (or his wife, for that matter). The court concluded that such restrictions apply to daughters as well as to sons and wives. The sheikh's sentence? He was sentenced to time-served (four months) in prison and ordered to pay Lama's mother $50,000 in so-called blood money. Such sentences are not unusual under Saudi enforcement of sharia where there is little codification and judges interpret the "law" pretty much as they like.

Little Lama's mother comprehends the horrific irony surrounding her daughter's murder far better than the Saudi courts as they enforce the weirdness of sharia. Speaking of Lama's father she said, “The person who committed this heinous crime is the girl’s father, who tells people how to live their lives and encourages them to cultivate the fear of Allah, who used whips and irons on the body of a 5-year-old girl."

Another sad irony stems from the revelation that the sheikh was also employed by the Saudi Ministry of Education where he apparently worked with troubled youth. One can only wonder how the troubles of these young people could possibly be lessened by any involvement with this man.

And so another young Muslim girl is murdered by her father, an act at least partially condoned by sharia. Keep this in mind when you hear people suggesting that sharia isn't all that bad, and that Muslims living in the West should be allowed to live under sharia law rather than our law. Such suggestions seem to be common among those on the left, which might explain why American and European feminists never seem to utter a word in defense of Muslim women who must live under such oppression.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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