Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Severe sentence for Saudi woman illustrates radical Islamic social values

Blame the victim??

Major media reports have focused on a harsh corporal punishment sentence given to a woman by a Saudi court. She was in a car with another man for an innocuous purpose, and was pulled out of the car and raped. Although the perpetrators were sentenced to 2-9 years, she was also sentenced for being in a car (the private company) of another man who was not a blood relative.

Although this is shocking by western standards and it is appropriate for western governments to criticize Saudi Arabia 's justice system, which seems designed to protect the absolute religious monarchy and not the individual, it's well to ponder the cultural issues. Blood relationships are all that a lot of people have to live for and generate all the mechanisms by which people get "taken care of" (e.g. personal power), so in some cultures extreme measures are taken to protect them.

Update: Nov 28, 2007

A Saudi court will review this case, according to ABC.

There is also a case in Sudan of a British teacher threatened with jail and lashes for allowing a seven year old in a private school to name a Teddy Bear "Mohammed," which radical Islam calls blasphemy. A typical story is on Richard Dawkins.

Sudan has gotten a poor reputation for hosting Osama bin Laden in the 90s, and for its abuse of minorities in Darfur, as documented in two recent films, The Devil Came on Horseback, and Darfur Now. Check reviews here (Sept. 12).

Update: Nov. 30

The teacher was sentenced to jail. But radicals in the Sudan are protesting and demanding here execution, story here.

On Dec 3, however, major news outlets reported that the president of Sudan had pardoned her because of heaving lobbying from Muslims in Britain's parliament. She was released and deported back to Britain.

Update: Nov. 30, 2007

Now there is an ABC 20-20 story of a teenage boy from France who was a victim of rape and was accused by Dubai authorities of provoking it. The authorities feel pressured to reinforce Islamic "law". The story is on ABC about the inconsistencies in modern Arabia (even a bustling, more "progressive" and certainly rich city) is here.

There is more on the site "Boycott Dubai," set up by the boy's mother in Paris.

Update: Dec. 17

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia as pardoned the woman, although not the man that was with her.

1 comment:

Third Rail said...

Call in and check out our interview tonight at 8PM EST with Dr. Paul L. Williams, author of The Day of Islam at thirdrailradio.com