Source: The Examiner.
Editorial note: this article is truly sickening and upsetting.
In Saudi Arabia an Islamic cleric who admits to raping, torturing and killing his daughter received a fine but no jail time for his heinous crime. Saudi media reports that the father paid 200,000 riyals ($50,000 US) in “blood money” for his crime, but will not be required to serve any time in prison.
In response to the heinous crime, and lack of justice for five-year old victim Lama al-Ghamdi, the women’s rights activist Manal al-Sharif and others issued a press release on Feb 2, and launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtags #AnaLama (Arabic for “I am Lama”) and #IamLama, demanding legislation criminalizing violence against women and children.
Fayhan al-Ghamdi, the victims father and a popular Islamic preacher who has made numerous television appearances promoting Islam, confessed to the heinous crime. Ghamdi told Saudi officials he used cables and a cane on his five-year-old daughter, leaving her with multiple injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns. In addition, one of Lama’s fingernails had been torn off. Hospital staff reports the child’s rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed.
Reports indicate the father had doubted his five-year old daughter’s virginity.
Lama al-Ghamdi died last October. The amount her father was fined for the brutal rape, torture and murder, would have been doubled if Lama had been male. In Saudi Arabia, Islamic [Shariah] law is interpreted to be that a father cannot be executed for murdering his children, nor can husbands be executed for murdering their wives.
Human rights activists point out that judicial leniency towards male abusers and murderers reflects the highly problematic nature of the male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia. Currently all women in Saudi Arabia are considered minors, and all are automatically assigned to the care and judgement of their most immediate male relative. This system of male guardianship gives the male relatives the power to sell girls legally into child marriages and to ban adult women from work, travel and obtaining medical operations.
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Editorial. (Written by Jon MC).
I am sure that, like me, you literally felt sick in your stomach as you read this. This is actually encouraging. Had you not done so, then I for one would suggest you fear for your mental condition.
Of course, this ‘father’ (and I use the word only in it’s biological sense) is seriously mentally ill and warped – he must be to inflict such atrocity on a defenceless five year old – and all people equipped with even a dram of humanity will feel outrage, fury and disgust at such an act.
Yet be under no illusion: this is not the worst part of it.
Under any civilised legal system such a ‘man’ (again I use the term in the loosest possible sense) would be imprisoned – preferably for life, preferably with no chance of parole. Some jurisdictions might even pass a death-sentence to which I can find no moral objection (though I, personally, do not agree with death-sentences.) This would be done to underscore the society’s repugnance and revulsion at such an act.
Yet what do we find under Shariah law – or, let me be fair, the Saudi interpretation thereof?
This ‘person’ is not jailed at all. He is merely fined and his fine is reduced because his victim is “only” a girl.
I’ve already said that this male is mentally ill, but here we see an entire legal system supportive of this sickness and worse, it is this legal system and the society that it spawns that generates this sort of sickness.
And here I find myself in a very uncomfortable position: I am forced, out of a sense of fairness, to defend this girl’s father.
I don’t in any way defend what he did, but (speaking to male readers in particular) if you had been born into a society that taught that women and girls were no more than “things”, that beating your wife and children was acceptable, that the life of a female was of little value, that your “honour” was the most precious thing you own and that, if a female of your household sexually strays, your honour can only be salvaged by her death, exactly how dissimilar to this man’s warped attitudes might yours have been? And if you were afraid that this most heinous of crimes against your honour had been committed, exactly how certain are you that you would not act in a like manner?
Yes, this man is severely mentally warped, but his warping results not so much from some ghastly, evil “quirk” in his psyche, but in the religiously promoted sickness, brutality and even sadism that pervades and warps his society given it’s understanding of Islam.
This person was a religiously trained cleric: as such, for all his life, he was steeped in the teachings of orthodox Islam (that being the form in Saudi Arabia) and what he learned of how to treat others was inherently tied into his Islamic learning. It can only have been there, in the Islamic teachings, that he learned much if not all of his disdain and disregard for the humanity and lives of others. It was Islam as he was taught it that warped his mind. In short, whilst this man’s act was vilely evil, I do not condemn him as evil – the evil done here has it’s roots in Islam as he was taught and learnt it and it is that Islam I condemn as evil. It was that which so twisted his mind that he could visit such atrocity on a defenceless child – his own flesh and blood, it was that which so perverted his sense of right and wrong, moral and immoral that he could believe himself justified and it was that which so skewed his understanding of humanity that he could take an innocent life in such a barbaric manner.
And it is that which has no place in the modern world.