Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Islamic Justice

Saudi Arabia is the epicenter of the Muslim world, home to Islam's holiest shrines in Mecca and Medina. Thus, it is instructive to examine what passes for justice in Saudi Arabia, whose laws are explicitly based on the strictist interpretation of Islam, as a reflection of the Islamic ideal of justice and the mindset of modern Arabs.

A 19-year-old Saudi woman who was kidnapped, beaten and gang raped by seven men who then took photos of their victim and threatened to kill her, was sentenced under the country's Islamic-based law to 90 lashes for the "crime" of being alone with a man not related to her.

The woman is appealing to Saudi King Abdullah to intervene in the controversial case.

"I ask the king to consider me as one of his own daughters and have mercy on me and set me free from the 90 lashes," the woman said in an emotional interview published Monday in the Saudi Gazette.

"I was shocked at the verdict. I couldn't believe my ears. Ninety lashes! Ninety lashes!" the woman, identified only as "G," told the English-language newspaper.

Five months after the harsh judgment, her sentence has yet to be carried out, "G" said she waits in fear every day for the phone call telling her to submit to authorities to carry out her punishment.

Holding the woman in limbo about her punishment is almost as cruel as the sentence itself. But not to worry ... Saudi justice is not entirely without compassion:

Lashes are usually spread over several days. About 50 lashes are given at a time.

The next time you are lectured about the inherent cruelty of Western Civilization, or its treatment of women, remember this. All cultures are not equal.


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