Death Sentences for Soccery and Denying Vani

Three women have been killed recently under Islamic law . Two in Pakistan and one in Saudi Arabia.

In  Saudi Arabia, the Interior Ministry States “Amina Bint Abdulhalim Nassar was executed in the northern province of Jawf for ‘practising witchcraft and sorcery”. Other news reports say she was beheaded, not that the form of the death penalty matters.There is no information on what form of sorcery she was accused of practising.

From Pakistan come the story of a women who was killed by her son for denying that her daughter be handed over as ‘vani’. Vani is the practice of arranging child marriages as a means of settling a dispute between two families.

Khursheed Bibi had refused to abide by a vani settlement requiring her 12-year-old daughter to be married to a man from the family of a woman Babar had married without her family’s consent.

Complaint Riaz Bhatti, brother of the deceased, told The Express Tribune that the suspects had arranged the child’s ‘marriage’ with Mehdi Hasan, Babar’s brother-in-law, three months ago. The marriage was arranged to settle a dispute between Babar and his second wife’s family.

The complainant said his brother-in-law (child’s father) had filed a kidnapping case against Hasan after the child was forcibly married and sent with him. He said he had moved court for her recovery over police’s failure to take action against the suspect. He said a court bailiff had then recovered the child from Hasan’s custody from Chiniot some two and a half months ago and sent her to live with her parents.

The complainant said his nephew (Babar) and the former nazim had earlier planned to marry the child to a son of one Saifullah, who is also nominated in the case. He said the marriage could not take place as his sister had sent the girl to a relative’s house. “Babar brought her back and arranged her marriage with his wife’s brother,” he said. Babar’s second wife, who is also nominated in the FIR, has been arrested by the police. SHO Rana Sajjad said Ansar Abbas Bhatti, the former tehsil nazim who allegedly declared Babar’s 12-year-old sister vani, was abroad and could, therefore, not be arrested at the moment. He said raids were underway to arrest others.

In the same news article is another case.

In another incident in Gujranwala, a girl was killed allegedly by her brother because she had refused to marry a man he had selected for her.

It seems that almost every day there are stories of people, and especially women who are being killed in the name of religion, and especially the Islamic religion.  I understand that we have no control over how the law is enforced in other countries, or how religion is practiced. However, we also must do what we can to criticize inhuman practices where ever they offer. Many people would criticize me for focusing on religion as a source of harm, and it is true that there is much worldwide suffering that is not directly related to religion.

However, religious leaders are the ones who attempt to push their beliefs on others.
In addition, the leaders and spokespeople of the major religions attempt to spread their religious beliefs and practices around the world, thus, in my mind magnifying the problems.

Despite the Pope’s recent claims that the persecution of Christians is the greatest human rights issue of our generation, it strikes me that the struggle for equal rights for  women and gays is a somewhat larger issue. But then religions are on the other side of that issue than I am.





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