Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My my my my Shariah

As a young Afghan couple is stoned to death for eloping in Afghanistan, are we witnessing additional evidence of a clash of civilizations between conservative Islamic values and, well, you know, civilized values, or just a crabby week on the Ulema Council? You decide:

“We’ve seen a big increase in intimidation of women and more strict rules on women,” [a human rights commissioner] said.

Perhaps most worrisome were signs of support for the action from mainstream religious authorities in Afghanistan. The head of the Ulema Council in Kunduz Province, Mawlawi Abdul Yaqub, interviewed by telephone, said Monday that stoning to death was the appropriate punishment for an illegal sexual relationship, although he declined to give his view on this particular case. An Ulema Council is a body of Islamic clerics with religious authority in a region.

And less than a week earlier, the national Ulema Council brought together 350 religious scholars in a meeting with government religious officials, who issued a joint statement on Aug. 10 calling for more punishment under Shariah law, apparently referring to stoning, amputations and lashings.

Failure to carry out such “Islamic provisions,” the council statement said, was hindering the peace process and encouraging crime.

That's a use of the word "mainstream" that only The Onion could fully appreciate. I sympathize with reporters who have to pretend to write this kind of story with a straight face. "Encouraging crime"? The criminals are the ignorant, woman-hating men who murder and maim in the name of a primitive code designed to bolster their power and egos. Maybe it can't be helped. Maybe we've done the best we can. But leaving Afghanistan, when its women and girls are at the mercy of these savages, would amount to a failure of Vietnam-like proportions.

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