Wednesday, March 11, 2009

75 year old widow to be flogged

When I started this blog I started with the intention of explaining what went on in the Middle East, without any emotion. The thought was, if I explained clearly and consisely about customs then maybe one person might understand a little more about this area.

Today, I'm sad.  Actually I don't have the words to explain how I feel about this recent news.  Even after 23 years of living here, I'm totally and utterly speachless.  No, it's beyond being speach-less, I'm shocked and stunned this witch hunting still exists

So, I've just changed my intended blog and am flagging up something all the locals are talking about, in absolute disbelief. And I'm talking about Sunni and Shiite Gulf Arabs acting with disbelief, not western expats.

As I said, today I'm very saddened by this, but here's the news. I think it needs to be told:

ANI Tuesday 10th March, 2009

Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Mar 10 : A 75-year-old widow has been sentenced to 40 lashes and four months imprisonment in Saudi Arabia for meeting two young men, who were strangers to her and were reportedly bringing her bread.

Khamisa Sawadi, a Syrian-born woman who was married to a Saudi, was convicted and sentenced last week for meeting men who were not her immediate relatives.

The two 24 year old men, Sawadi's late husband's nephew Fahd al-Anzi and and his friend and business partner Hadiyan bin Zein were also found guilty and sentenced to similar punishments.

According to The Telegraph, the sentence has sparked off new criticism of Saudi Arabia's ultraconservative religious policies, which prohibits men and women who are not immediate relatives from mingling.

The elderly woman met the two men last April after she asked them to bring her five loaves of bread at her home in Al-Chamil, the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported.

The court said it based its March 3 ruling on "citizen information" and testimony from Anzi's father, who accused Sawadi of corruption.

"Because she said she doesn't have a husband and because she is not a Saudi, conviction of the defendants of illegal mingling has been confirmed," the court verdict read.

Sawadi commonly relied on her neighbors for help after her husband died, said Saudi journalist Bandar al-Ammar.

Abdel Rahman al-Lahem, Sawadi's lawyer, told The Associated Press on Monday that he plans to appeal the verdict, which also demands that she be deported after serving her prison term.


Fatima said...

This is exactly the type of think that makes people world over hate muslims.
we have to be practical...this kind of thing has to be stopped. In other religions having two young men visit and give bred to a 75yr old widow would be considered kindness, compassion...the kind of behaviour Allah would want us to portray.
No not in Muslim countries....everything is un-islamic...and screwed up.

eyes serene said...

Why aren't they putting this into context? I mean... Yeah, I'm pretty well speechless, too!

Anonymous said...

the sad truth is that the ruling probably violates countless rules in the shariah and has no basis for 1400 years of legal history, except among communities of extremist splinter groups perhaps.

It's quite -explicit- in legal texts that an unrelated man can be at home -alone- with a woman with whom he feels no sexual attraction. Examples include the very companion of the Prophet, Abu Bakr, who would spend the hours before dawn cleaning the house of and taking care of a blind woman in medina. Yes, they were together. Alone. He cleaned her house. Cooked her food. Took care of her in general.

This is what happens when you put a bunch of idiot goat herders in charge of a legal system. I'm not a religious scholar and I could easily see where they went wrong.

I could also go into a number of other reasons why the ruling sounds like it came from a power-tripping hypocrite with a penchant for torturing the weak:

1. She wasn't alone legally. There were two men.

2. Even if she was a young attractive woman, the circumstances of the situation allow the meeting in order to prevent her from undergoing hardship. They were giving her bread. It probably means that she was living a hand-to-mouth existence and any qualified jurist would take this into account.

3. The general rule is that a punishment for a situation that is not found in explicit texts (such as kissing your neighbor's wife) cannot be more severe than the least severe punishment for a capital crime explicitly mentioned in primary texts. (i'm sorry if that's a mouthful). Even this is irrelevant in this case because being alone with a woman is a minor sin and is *not* punishable by law. Just like you can't lash somebody and imprison them for four months for smoking.

That's from ten minutes of looking at the problem from the perspective of a laymen.

What I find funny is that muslims who feel they must be on the bottom rung of spirituality are saints compared to the evil that must be brewing in the hearts of some judges in saudi arabia. I'm really reminded of satan himself when I see their faces, and I am sure that I'm not the only one. I wouldn't be surprised if the hearts of the laymen in saudi arabia were in a hundred times better shape than them.

Sometimes it helps to tread lightly into religion lest you turn into a monster. I've seen too many religious monsters in my short lifetime that I've realized even if I progress verrry slowly religiously, it's far better than jumping into everything and turning into one of them. Anything's better than that. Even dying as a heroin junkie with an addiction to prostitutes. Literally.

I apologize if this makes you more frustrated with the situation, but people should know how ridiculous the state of affairs in saudi arabia is. It feels like some dystopian nightmare..

~an observer

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