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Wednesday, 16 September 2009

How Islam “respects women”

Two disturbing stories concerning Muslim penal codes have come our way in the past couple of days.

One concerns Indonesia – in particular, the Aceh province – and tells how legislators have passed a law allowing so-called adulterers to be stoned to death and gays to be caned and jailed.

Another looks more generally at Arab and Muslim laws as they affect women.

“I still shudder,” writes Nadia Hijab in Middle East Online, “when I remember the provisions of one Arab code that described the appropriate techniques to use with someone sentenced to crucifixion and how to position a person for flogging, using a chair. What made it worse was that this was a revised code passed in 1994 and not some holdover from medieval times. The Sudanese criminal code under which [journalist] Ms [Lubna] Hussein was charged [for wearing trousers] was passed in 1991.”

And these accounts come in a week in which a judge, Anthony Goldstaub QC, praised a man jailed for rape for his conversion to Islam, and said, “You have turned to Islam and this promises well for your future, particularly as you are now an adherent of a religion which respects women and self-discipline.” (My emphasis.)

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