Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fatwa demands isolation and 101 lashings for 16 year old rape victim

There are times to be eloquent, level headed, and respectful in our discussion of other cultures and religions. This is not one of those times. What the flying fuck?

Rape victim receives 101 lashes for becoming pregnant

A 16-year-old girl who was raped in Bangladesh has been given 101 lashes for conceiving during the assault. The girl's father was also fined and warned the family would be branded outcasts from their village if he did not pay.

According to human rights activists, the girl, who was quickly married after the attack, was divorced weeks later after medical tests revealed she was pregnant. The girl was raped by a 20-year-old villager in Brahmanbaria district in April last year.

Bangladesh's Daily Star newspaper reported that she was so ashamed following the attack that she did not lodge a complaint. Her rape emerged after her pregnancy test and Muslim elders in the village issued a fatwa insisting that the girl be kept in isolation until her family agreed to corporal punishment.

Her rapist was pardoned by the elders. She told the newspaper the rapist had "spoiled" her life.

"I want justice," she said.


I don't need to point out how disgusting this is, but it's something that needs to be shared. People need to know that misogyny and down right insanity is still alive and well in our world. We can argue back and forth if this is the fault of Islam, culture, or some mix of the two. There are those that will argue that religion isn't the problem, it's simply people using religion as an excuse for their horrible actions.

But you know what? Religion isn't exactly helping the situation, is it? A religious ruling to isolate and whip your daughter because she's a rape victim is just a tad bit scarier to disobey than a law or social stigma. You may still face legal ramifications or ostracism, but you get the added bonus of God's disdain, eternal damnation, and all sorts of legitimately horrifying things to a believer. It's a bit harder to institute social change when you're being told it's a divine commandment.

Not all Muslims are women-hating extremists. Let's hope the moderates continue speak out against these sorts of immoral acts.


  1. What's even worse is that this level of backward barbarism no longer surprises me. It's appalling, of course, but I can't say it's unexpected.

    Something definitely needs to be done. It should not be possible for any group to condone this kind of behaviour in the twenty-first century.

    I know of no factor other than religion that could be responsible for this, either. It's atrocities like these that have made me an anti-theist in addition to an atheist.

  2. What I want to know--


    Where are those representatives of the Muslim faith who abhor this grotesque miscarriage of justice? Why are they not speaking up to protest this atrocity?

    You, the modern "moderate" Muslim, have been silent about this and other such unspeakable crimes against humanity for years, decades, centuries. Why do we not hear your voice?

    (and I'll say this quietly: Do you exist?)

  3. I wish I was suprised by this news.

  4. This is the kind of news item that makes me want to go out with guns blazing... and I hate guns.

    How can the global community that (generally) knows better not have influence or impact on atrocities like: Genocide, sex trafficking, mutilation, slavery, and this kind of fuckedupthenostril "justice"? It always goes too far before we, the outsiders, do anything about confronting it.

  5. This is probably more rooted in ignorance than in religion: Religion just enforces the ignorance. Up until relatively recently, it was known fact that women could not conceive unless they had an orgasm. So anyone who was raped and conceived was obviously lying about the rape. You can find this stuff in medieval European stories.

  6. This just in, entire world barking insane. Film at 11.

  7. I hope I live long enough to see the headline: "Roving Gang of Women Slaughters Another Council of Elders"

    I am glad that she wants justice, that she sees how her culture treats her. It's good that she doesn't shrug it off as the way things are and how some diety clearly wants it.

    I don't know how, but we need to get some feminism going on over there.

  8. The only difference between Christianity and Islam? Muslims actually follow their scripture.

    Deuteronomy 22:28-29 - If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl's father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.

    Earlier, when the bible was talking about "Marriage Violations", Deuteronomy 22:20-21 - If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the girl's virginity can be found, she shall be brought to the door of her father's house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.

    This is exactly what happened in this situation. The girl was raped, and forced to marry her rapist. When they discovered she was not a virgin (duh, she just got raped) she was punished. In fact, she got off easy in biblical terms, at least she's alive.

    Christianity > Islam? I don't think so.

  9. Godless Girl, what exactly are we, the outsiders, supposed to do about it?

    This is one of the reasons why Islam and the West have always clashed - for over a millenia, the West (under its Christian guise, and more recently the more secular but still Christian-influenced imperialism of the 19th century, then the Cold War, and now by force in Afghanistan and Iraq) has tried to push values we deem important on the Islamic world. Even when we exercise values we deem important (such as freedom of speech) in our own countries (Denmark), there's the possibility of a fatwa coming into being.

    I wish I had a way to stop these sorts of things, but if someone could tell me what the way was without going to war against a billion plus people...and not a nice tidy war like Iraq, but a serious genocidal war. I don't see any *good* solutions.

  10. @givesgoodemail "WHERE THE HELL ARE THE "MODERATE" MUSLIMS???

    Where are those representatives of the Muslim faith who abhor this grotesque miscarriage of justice? Why are they not speaking up to protest this atrocity?"

    The moderate muslims who abhor and detest this kind of thing don't make good media. Just because you don't hear about them, don't assume they don't exist and, for crying out loud, don't assume they are not trying to get their voice heard. Otherwise you become precisely the xenophobic arse certain sections of the media would like you to become.

  11. Anonymous 9:09 is perfectly correct about medieval European medical theory. Physicians -- who were, by the way, as indifferent to Church doctrine as they could get away with -- conflated ovulation, orgasm and female ejaculation under the rubric of the "emission of the female seed". This was one side of a debate, the other being that there existed no female seed, the womb was like a plantpot and the man contributed the entire homunculus. The latter party believed that the child acquired its mother's characteristics only with the milk, which led to angst about Jewish nursemaids and so forth.

    On the other hand I don't remember the "female seed" physicians drawing the conclusion that if a woman conceived, she must have orgasmed, ergo she must have consented. Seems to me that to hold that position you need to make a further physiological assumption, that a woman cannot climax without prior consent; and it is my understanding (open to correction here) that the body lives rather its own life under such circumstances. Orgasms during rape make women feel extra guilty and are taken by men as proving it wasn't rape, no? I don't know of this question being discussed, but since the medievals believed that women were preternaturally horny, they wouldn't be particularly surprised if a raped woman climaxed and therefore conceived.

    What they believe in the average Bangladeshi village I have no idea, someone should go find out.

    @Veritas: If you're arguing that a thousand years of crusade and jihad are all about "us" trying to transmit our superior values to "them", then I call BS. If that is not what you meant, pray clarify.

  12. Keep in mind that this council of elders is an unofficial group operating outside the law in Bangladesh. The Daily Star (which ran the original story) condemned the action in an editorial the next day.

    Also, here is a comment on the original story:

    "I love Islam but I would never support the non-Islamic activities of unauthorized Mullahs & Matbar in this poor village in Bangladesh. The Rapist Enamul must be given capital punishment for raping a 16-year-old girl. The people, who gave the fatwa against the victim, must be given exemplary punishment. They must be given rigorous imprisonment (RI). The father & the girl must be provided with due compensations and be rehabilitated in normal life and the government must stop it now & forever."

  13. @Hugo;

    I never said our values are superior. My point is that we've been declaring war on and partitioning the Arab lands for empire for over a thousand years. The Christian v. Islam fight has now transitioned into the West v. Islam (especially as many European nations have moved to very secular nations), and it's caused a lot of these problems - our artificial borders created Kashmir, and Afghanistan, for instance, both of which are Western concepts.

    I guess my point is that I don't see how we can force countries to end Shari'a law without "pulling a Bush" and paying in lives.

  14. I was preparing to write a comment, as a moderate muslim :), stating how the same is not the spirit of Islam when my eye caught the final comment or rather the comment which sbh attributed to original story. It summs everyting up, for practice in question is based on customs and it hurts me and infuriates me when some are using Islam to support non - Islamic activities.

    @JT...hear, hear :)

  15. Religion of peace, my ass.

  16. This story makes me feel sad and off kilter. But Godless Girl said fuckedupthenostril, which goes a little way toward restoring my equilibrium.

    Anonymous said "This is probably more rooted in ignorance than in religion: Religion just enforces the ignorance." I heartily agree. I have known people personally who still believe that if a woman is wearing a slinky red thing, it's her own fault if she gets assaulted.

  17. @Veritas: OK, we're on the same song-sheet. Skål.