Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A new whipping defendant

The teacher we wrote about earlier in the week has now been formally charged in the Sudan with the crime of allowing her class teddy bear to be named "Mohammed". The name, suggested by her seven year old students (in what may have been an attempt to get a substitute for a few days) carries a sentence of 40 lashes.Now comes word this morning that an appeals court in Saudi Arabia has increased the sentence of a 19 year old married girl from 100 to 200 lashes for the crime of meeting with a man (alone) who was not related to her. This particular young lady was raped by this man, as well as six others. To be fair, the rapists were convicted of rape, but it stuns the conscience that the girl is to get 200 lashes (up from the original 100 imposed by the trial judge). What centery are we living in ? Hell, what planet are we living on ? There could never have been a time in history where a woman and man meeting alone, doing nothing else, deserved a punishment of 200 lashes. And who is applying these lashes anyway ? Does Saudi Arabia have a flogger like they had on HMS Bounty ? ("all out for punishment"). Is it done in public ?

The real quetion is how much will this country stand to avoid losing the Saudis as friends ? If Islamic law is interpreted to mean that women can be bought and sold in the market place, will we just register our "astonishment" (the carefully chosen word used by the Bush administration) and go on about our business like we are dealing with civilized human beings ? We are not. Any society and any religion which imposes 200 lashes on a woman who meets with a man, by herself, is simply evil. We should no longer hide behind "tolerance" if it means that we have to put up with a world or a religion like that.

Frankly, I doubt seriously that Islam really requires such an absurd result. I think that one of the world's great religions is being dragged into the mud by the same type of garden variety fundamentalists we have running around over here. This is what happens when religious nuts run the court system. Especially when the law is not codified, but "interpreted" from something like the Koran or the Bible.

Beore I get two high handed, there are a number of things that are done in life which I think support a sentence of 200 lashes. But most of them don't happen in the Middle East. They are as follows:

1.Phone Solicitors who call during the dinner hour or after nine o'clock p.m.
2. Restaraunt owners who weasel out of a coupon through the use of a "fine print" technicality (offer not good on Tuesdays)
3. Writers who would strike during the television season
4. College football coaches who sign a multi-year contract with one school and leave the next year for another school.
5.The President of any company who installs an answering system which leaves you wandering around in telephone hell.
6.Airline employees who lie about flight delays
7.Delivery Trucks which double park during rush hour traffic, blocking one of two lanes.
8.Any Mullah who turns the Holy Koran into a mysoginstic tract to be used to enforce patriarchal domination on any society.

I will not be vacationing in Mecca any time soon.


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