A week ago there were stories circulating about four women and two men in Pakistan who had been sentenced to death for singing and dancing at a wedding.
I need not explain why, by now you will be familiar with the thinking .. it was of course yet another example of Islamic clerics demonstrating just how utterly barbarbic their belief system truly is when specific aspects are taken literally. The Telegraph story reported:
They were sentenced after mobile phone footage of the event surfaced, infuriating residents of a remote village in the mountainous district of Kohistan, 100 miles north of the capital Islamabad.
Muhammad Afzal, brother of the two men, told The Express Tribune newspaper: “A tribal jirga has declared them fornicators and they might be killed any time.”…
…Abdul Majeed Afridi, district police officer, said: “It was decided that the men will be killed first, but they ran away so the women are safe for the moment. I have sent a team to rescue them and am waiting to hear some news.”
… “All of them were shown separately in the video. I’ve seen the video taken on a cell phone myself, it shows four women singing and a man dancing in separate scenes and then another man sitting in a separate shot,”
The latest news is uttery tragic, they are not safe and have in fact been murdered …
Local reporters and one Abdur Rehman — a nephew of former MPA Mulana Asmatullah — confirmed the news of the deaths while speaking to The News …. The women, who were all married, were called from the homes of their in-laws and locked up in a room in the Seertaiy village of Kohistan. … the four women — Sehreen Jaan, Begum Jaan, Bazigha and Amna — had all been subjected to physical and mental torture even though they had not committed any major crime, and that after their execution they were buried without a proper Islamic funeral.
Is this simply an Isolated extreme?
While in a dialog with some Muslims within a Facebook group a couple of weeks ago, I presented the details of a 2008 stoning reported by Amnesty International. That was an instance where a 13 year old girl was raped and when she complained, was put on trial and found guilty of adultery by a Sharia court. They then dragged her out and stoned her to death. I asked the Muslims I was debating with to condemn this vile crime … several refused to do so.
What truly shocks me is not just the insanity of a belief that motivates some extremist religious thugs to murder innocent people, but that many others have had their moral compass so screwed up that they seriously consider such incidents to be the will of Allah and fully justified by some archaic religious text. Shi’a sayings related to stoning can be found in Kitab al-Kafi, and Sunni sayings related to stoning can be found in the Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. Based on these hadiths, several Muslim countries, such as Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, adultery is punishable by stoning.
But do many people really think stoning is a jolly good idea? Sadly yes …
- A survey carried out by the Indonesia Survey Institute found that 43% of Indonesians support Rajam or stoning for adulterers.
- A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found relatively widespread popular support for stoning as a punishment for adultery in Egypt (82% of respondents in favor of the punishment), Jordan (70% in favor), Indonesia (42% in favor), Pakistan (82% favor) and Nigeria (56% in favor)
Do not misunderstand what I am saying here … I am not claiming that all Muslims are evil murderous thugs, many are of course decent human beings and are just as appalled as you are by this stuff. Stoning (rajm) as a punishment for adultery is not mentioned in the Quran, so some Muslim scholars take the view that stoning to death is not an Islamic law.
What I am doing here is that I am being critical of an insane belief. When taken to its logical conclusion by individuals who opt to interpret specific aspects literally, we end up with vile crimes, so we should not simply highlight the atrocities, but need to also robustly criticise the root cause – the irrational utterly insane and grossly immoral beliefs.
Some might cringe at the idea of such criticism being deployed and might even have the temerity to suggest that such criticism might offend many, but when faced with a choice between being offensive or tolerating belief-motivated murder, I suspect you can work out what the right moral choice is. If not sure about that, then here is a subtle clue – offending somebody does not breach any human rights, murdering them does.