Saudi Arabia is very strict with regard to its Islamic doctrine and its influence in the courtroom is strong. Strong enough, in fact, that a court in the town of Al-Qatif recently convicted a 19-year-old woman for being alone in a car with a man, sentencing her to 6 months in jail and 200 lashes for her crime.
Westerners don’t have a good idea of how many such convictions are handed out in Islamic fundamentalist regions throughout out the world. Enough, one suspects, that this case is not unique. But there’s an additional twist to this case that should horrify even the most legalistic among us:
A Saudi victim of gang rape was sentenced to 90 lashes for being alone in a car with a male friend who was not her husband prior to her rape. Seven men reportedly followed the victim and her friend to their car, kidnapped them, and took them to a farm where they raped the woman
Four men, all married, were convicted of the crime and received sentences ranging from one year in prison and 80 lashes to five years in prison and 1,000 lashes. A fifth man who videotaped the rape on his cell phone still faces investigation, and two other men alleged to have participated in the kidnapping and rape escaped arrest
For pressing her case by daring to complain about her punishment, the court saw fit to sentence the rape victim to an extra 110 lashes. Justice, Islam-style, gotta despise it.
Strangely, the victim and her husband are not protesting the sentence. Or perhaps not so strangely; her situation could always get worse, after all. Oh, wait, it already did. That will teach her to demand a little human dignity from a Saudi court, won’t it? The next victim will certainly think twice about making her case.
It’s exactly this sort of injustice that makes westerners disdainful of Islamic teachings. The same vein of fundamentalist certitude that flows so hotly through the veins of a terrorist boarding a school bus wearing a vest of C-4 evidently pumps through their judges’ hearts as well. Cold hearts not warmed by compassion, mercy, or even fairness. I would have thought being raped by multiple assailants – who presumedly thought they would either get away with their crime scot-free or be hailed as applicators of Allah’s sword of justice – would have been punishment enough. Guess not.
Now, to head off the inevitable, I can imagine this sort of sentence being handed down in Salem, Massachusetts, etc., back in the 1600s. Our forefathers’ interpretations of Christianity were creatively deranged in different times and places, just as Islam is today.
The question is, will Muslims reform their religion into a mature, peaceful faith? Can they, given what has been written in their books?