New Age Islam
Tue Oct 26 2021, 09:22 PM

Islamic Sharia Laws ( 6 Nov 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Where is public outcry over stoning of yet another teenage girl, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow?

By Farzana Hassan and Hasan Mahmud


Yet another teenage girl has lost her life to brutal acts of inhumanity in the name of a senseless and rabid brand of Islam. 13 year old Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was recently stoned to death over an unproven charge of adultery. The execution took place in a packed stadium in the port city of Kismayu in southern   Somalia —an area controlled by a radical Islamist militia. Twice a victim, the girl was first raped by three men, and then put to death at the hands of a merciless criminal justice system that is rooted in the most archaic notions of guilt, crime and punishment.


Although Duhulow was a rape victim, the tragic incident nonetheless sheds light on the numerous fallacies existing in Sharia law over adultery and rape as criminal offenses.  The two are often treated as one and the same, which is why so many rape victims suffer the same fate as young Duhulow. Rape is deemed "adultery without consent" placing the onus on the rape victim to prove her innocence by providing four Muslim adult male witnesses. Often there is no such "proof" of rape. The victim is then left with an adultery charge. 


Women from across the Muslim world have suffered tremendously from such miscarriage of justice. Approximately 3000 raped women have been imprisoned in Pakistan because they were unable to satisfy the requirement of the law, being eventually accused of adultery. Many teen-age victims of rape, young girls and older women are regularly flogged by informal Sharia Courts in Bangladesh. And of course the stonings.


Sharia rulings pertaining to adultery rarely if ever, take into consideration the age of the offender. A girl who has attained puberty is considered an adult under Islamic law even if she happens to be as young as nine in some cases. Whereas modern judicial systems would regard a nine year old as a minor offender and apply different criteria to determine the culpability of the child, Sharia law makes no concessions whatsoever to the immaturity of the offender.


The law is also inherently unjust from yet another standpoint. It fails to acknowledge that even when women and men are "equally guilty" of the act of adultery, they are not equally guilty.  Men are allowed multiple sexual relationships that enjoy religious sanction. They can contract up to two, three or four polygamous marriages without inviting social or religious censor. The temptation for them to commit adultery, defined here as intercourse without religious sanction, is therefore greatly reduced through such religious concessions. No such allowances are available to women. Yet, when adultery is proven, the punishment administered to both men and women is identical in severity and remains unmitigated for women. And though standards of testimony require four Muslim adult male witnesses of good repute to also prove the charge of adultery, such evidence is rarely ever sought by fanatics when they carry out justice.


Human Rights Agencies like Amnesty International are at a loss to deal with growing religious fanaticism in parts of the Muslim world like Somalia. Feminist organizations too, were unable to prevent this tragedy of massive proportions. Besides, a will to address these social pathologies is often missing due to a left-wing tolerance for diverse cultures, however egregious.  One must ask, therefore: Where are the voices of justice and equality for women when their rights are being so flagrantly violated?


The world is witnessing a historic election in what may be a victory for the first African American in the United States, a one time-slave-owning nation. It is the ability of a people to look inward in facing their demons that enables them to overcome shortcomings within. When are Muslims going to take an honest look at what plagues their societies? 


  Farzana Hassan is the President and Hasan Mahmud is a director of the Muslim Canadian Congress

Farzana Hassan

President of MCC. Freelance writer, public speaker and author of “Prophecy and the Fundamentalist Quest"