Monday, December 03, 2007

Bloody and barbaric radical Muslim thinking strikes again


Recent news from the Muslim world suggest the obvious: We in the Western world do not think as they do. We consider, for example, recent sentences given to two women, one in Saudi Arabia the other in Sudan, barbaric. Without the core set of values spelled out in our Bill of Rights, true communication and mutual respect between Western nations and Muslim nations will be impossible.

In Saudi Arabia, a woman who was gang-raped was sentenced to 90 lashes. The reason? Before the rape, the woman, who was then 19, had been in a car with a man who was not a family member — a crime under the kingdom’s legal code, which is based on a strict Wahabi reading of Islamic law.

The woman (and her male companion) were raped by seven men who were apprehended. Of the gang prosecuted in the case, four were convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to between one and five years in prison and between 80 and 1,000 lashes, Human Rights Watch said.

Known only as the "Girl from Qatif," the 19-year-old rape victim said she was a newlywed who was meeting a high school friend in his car to retrieve a picture of herself from him when the attack occurred in the eastern city of Qatif. While in a car with him, two men got into the vehicle and drove them to a secluded area where others waited, and then she and her companion were both raped.

Both victims were sentenced to 90 lashes. They were being punished for violating strict gender segregation laws in Saudi Arabia, for riding in the car of a man who was not related to her when they were both attacked, what the court called "illegal mingling".

Abdul Rahman al-Lahem, the woman's lawyer and a human rights campaigner, criticized the court's decision publicly and has subsequently had his license to practice law suspended.He is also facing a hearing by a justice ministry disciplinary committee in December for appearing regularly on television and talking about the case. This was not the first official sanction against Al-Lahem, who has been repeatedly imprisoned and forbidden to travel outside Saudi Arabia. The heavy handed retaliation against this lawyer legitimately defending a client is meant to have a chilling effect on any other attorney who wants to defend a woman’s rights in the Saudi courts. It’s basically shutting the legal door on any woman who is victimized by a crime.

Unfortunately the "Girl from Qatif," the 19-year-old rape victim appealed her sentence and was re-sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison. This sentence has raised an outcry from around the world, and now Saudi officials say they will review the case.

And the Girl of Qatif may actually be lucky. Honor killings of rape victims are still not uncommon in much of the Middle East. Though technically against the law, the family members who commit these murders are seldom prosecuted and if they are, sentences amount to a pro forma slap on the wrist.

According to Kurdish Media, 27 women have been killed in Iraqi Kurdistan, allegedly for “honor” in past four months.

In April about 1000 men participated in stoning of a 16 year old girl in city of Mosul, her crime was falling in love with a boy outside her community.

In May 19 year old women was killed by her husband and his family because her mobile phone had number of an unknown male.

And the list goes on. Every month there are Kurdish women in Iraq facing violence, honor killing. Aziz Mohammed, human rights minister in the Kurdish regional government, said 97 women -- 60 in Arbil, 21 in Dohuk and 16 in Sulaimaniyah—had attempted to commit suicide by self-immolation during the four months.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq has regularly highlighted ‘honour killings’ of Kurdish women as among Iraq’s most severe human rights abuses.

Most of such crimes are reported as deaths due to accidental fires in the home.

Aso Kamal, a 42-year-old British Kurdish Iraqi campaigner, says that from 1991 to 2007, 12,500 women were murdered for reasons of ‘honour’ or committed suicide in the three Kurdish provinces.

In Sudan, in the past week, a 54 year old British primary school teacher on contract to teach in a private school, was originally threatened with 40 lashes, a fine, or six months in jail after her class of 7-year-olds voted to name a teddy bear Muhammad. ( She was threatened with death by mobs of rioting Sudanese) The government accused her of insulting the Prophet Muhammad. Muhammad is one of the most common names among Muslims, including the student who suggested it for the teddy bear. On Thursday, the court reduced the teacher’s sentence to 15 days in jail, but found her guilty and ordered her deported.

Saudi Arabia and Sudan have notoriously bad human rights records and the cases have ominous political overtones. The Khartoum government — so willing to punish the crime of naming a teddy bear — is responsible for the genocide in Darfur. The case was widely seen as a warning against Westerners who protest that mass slaughter. In the Saudi case, the girl was a member of the country’s persecuted Shiite minority.

The problems are not confined to Muslim nations. In France, 130 police officers were injured, quite a few seriously, in clashes with armed Muslim youth. A regional police chief, Jean-Francis Illy was severely beaten by a gang of Muslim toughs wielding baseball bats, tire irons, and shotguns. Another officer lost an eye to a shotgun pellet; another was wounded by a bullet that passed through his body armor. The talk of France is “GUERRILLA WAR” by the sizable Muslim minority against the French to seize the country for Allah.

In the U.K., Muslim women have asked for, and received, at public expense from the National Public Health Service, hymen repair operations so that they can be virgins again on their wedding night. At the same time, British police report that 400 to 500 Muslim girls a year in Britain are subjected to GENITAL MUTILATION “to eliminate their sexual desires and protect family honor”.

To the Western mind the `thinking' of much of the Muslim world is outside our grasp. We think the Sunni and Shiite in Iraq can just get along. We think that we all should get along. But it turns out getting along isn't on everybody's agenda.

If we were to look for a focal point of this unusual way of bloody and barbaric thinking we might find that one of it's major bases is in Saudi Arabia. As the Washington Post points out, despite the Bush administration’s embrace of Saudi Arabia and its steadfast friendship of the Saudi royal family, that country is the major source of the spread of radical Islam throughout the world. Fifteen of the 19 September 11th hijackers were Saudis, as is Osama bin Laden. The majority of the suicide bombers in Iraq are Saudis. Furthermore, the Taliban in Afghanistan, which sheltered al Qaeda even after 9/11, was funded and influenced by the radical Wahabi clerics from Saudi Arabia. Indeed, Wahabism, a militantly puritanical and fundamentalist branch of Sunni Islam is the brand of Islam taught in the madarassas – Islamic religious schools – throughout the world. Most of the radical Muslim terrorists have been recruited through those schools and Wahabi- funded mosques, which are heavily financed by wealthy Saudis.

This is worth thinking about for the next President, whoever he or she might be.

-Paul Grant (follower of Basho)

No comments:

amazon quicklinker

Favorites linker

google adds