Archive for the ‘Religion – The Wrong Way’ Category

TV boss Muzzammil Hassan found guilty of beheading wife

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

– Wrote about this a few months ago.   Very strange.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

A New York television executive has been convicted of stabbing his wife to death and beheading her.

A jury found Pakistan-born Muzzammil Hassan guilty of second-degree murder in the 2009 death of Aasiya Hassan six days after she filed for divorce.

Hassan never denied killing her but said she had abused him and that he had acted in self-defence. He served as his own lawyer during the three-week trial.

Hassan, who founded a Muslim-oriented TV network, could face life in prison.

Prosecutors argued Hassan abused his wife and planned the attack in a hallway at Bridges TV, a satellite channel he set up in 2004 in an effort to counter negative portrayals of Muslims following the 9/11 terror attacks.

– More…

Somalia’s al-Shabab bans mixed-sex handshake

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Men and women have been banned from shaking hands in a district of Somalia controlled by the Islamist group al-Shabab.

Under the ban imposed in the southern town of Jowhar, men and women who are not related are also barred from walking together or chatting in public.

It is the first time such social restrictions have been introduced.

The al-Shabab administration said those who disobeyed the new rules would be punished according to Sharia law.

The BBC’s Mohamed Moalimuu in Mogadishu says the penalty would probably be a public flogging.

The militant group has already banned music in areas that it controls, which include most of central and southern Somalia.

Somalia has not had a stable government since 1991.

The UN-backed government only controls parts of Mogadishu and a few other areas.

– To the original…

For Afghan Wives, a Desperate, Fiery Way Out

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

HERAT, Afghanistan — Even the poorest families in Afghanistanhave matches and cooking fuel. The combination usually sustains life. But it also can be the makings of a horrifying escape: from poverty, from forced marriages, from the abuse and despondency that can be the fate of Afghan women.

The night before she burned herself, Gul Zada took her children to her sister’s for a family party. All seemed well. Later it emerged that she had not brought a present, and a relative had chided her for it, said her son Juma Gul.

This small thing apparently broke her. Ms. Zada, who was 45, the mother of six children and who earned pitiably little cleaning houses, ended up with burns on nearly 60 percent of her body at the Herat burn hospital. Survival is difficult even at 40 percent.

“She was burned from head to toe,” her son remembers.

The hospital here is the only medical center in Afghanistan that specifically treats victims of burning, a common form of suicide in this region, partly because the tools to do it are so readily available. Through early October, 75 women arrived with burns — most self-inflicted, others only made to look that way. That is up nearly 30 percent from last year.

But the numbers say less than the stories of the patients.

It is shameful here to admit to troubles at home, and mental illness often goes undiagnosed or untreated. Ms. Zada, the hospital staff said, probably suffered from depression. The choices for Afghan women are extraordinarily restricted: Their family is their fate. There is little chance for education, little choice about whom a woman marries, no choice at all about her role in her own house. Her primary job is to serve her husband’s family. Outside that world, she is an outcast.

“If you run away from home, you may be raped or put in jail and then sent home and then what will happen to you?” asked Rachel Reid, a researcher for Human Rights Watch who tracks violence against women.

– More…

‘Shaming’ her in-laws costs 19 year old her nose, ears

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

– This is the sort of story that really makes me angry.   My sense of cross-cultural tolerance just gets run over by my sense of “Let’s just clear the planet of these throwbacks to the 13th century.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

“When they cut off my nose and ears, I passed out,” 19-year-old Bibi Aisha of Afghanistan says with chilling candor.

Her beauty is still stunning and her confidence inspiring. It takes a moment for the barbaric act committed against her to register in your mind and sight.

Wearing her patterned scarf and with roughly painted nails she shares her story.

“It felt like there was cold water in my nose, I opened my eyes and I couldn’t even see because of all the blood,” she remembers.

It was an act of Taliban justice for the crime of shaming her husband’s family.

This story began when Aisha was just 8 years old.

Her father had promised her hand in marriage, along with that of her baby sister’s, to another family in a practice called “baad.”

“Baad” in Pashtunwali, the law of the Pashtuns, is a way to settle a dispute between rival families.

At 16, she was handed over to her husband’s father and 10 brothers, who she claims were all members of the Taliban in Oruzgan province. Aisha didn’t even meet her husband because he was off fighting in Pakistan.

“I spent two years with them and became a prisoner,” she says. (Watch more of the interview with Aisha)

Tortured and abused, she couldn’t take it any longer and decided to run away. Two female neighbors promising to help took her to Kandahar province.

But this was just another act of deception.

When they arrived to Kandahar her female companions tried to sell Aisha to another man.

All three women were stopped by the police and imprisoned. Aisha was locked up because she was a runaway. And although running away is not a crime, in places throughout Afghanistan it is treated as one if you are a woman.

A three-year sentence was reduced to five months when President Hamid Karzai pardoned Aisha. But eventually her father-in-law found her and took her back home.

That was the first time she met her husband. He came home from Pakistan to take her to Taliban court for dishonoring his family and bringing them shame.

The court ruled that her nose and ears must be cut off. An act carried out by her husband in the mountains of Oruzgan where they left her to die.

But she survived.

And with the help of an American Provincial Reconstruction Team in Oruzgan and the organization Women for Afghan Women (WAW), she is finally getting the help and protection she needs.

Offers have been pouring in to help Aisha, but there are many more women suffering in silence.


Iran stoning sentence for adultery draws global outrage

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

LONDON – The case of an Iranian woman who faces death by stoning is drawing international outrage after her lawyer’s blog posts sparked a global campaign to save her life.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s face, framed in a black chador, stared from the front page of The Times of London yesterday, while The Guardian newspaper has carried an interview with Ashtiani’s children – 22-year-old Sajad and 17-year-old Farideh – who described the sentence as a nightmare. Protests are planned in front of the Iranian Embassy over the weekend.

Stoning is a “medieval punishment which has no role in the modern world,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters. “If the punishment is carried out, it will disgust and appal the watching world,” Hague said in a media conference with Turkey’s foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu in London.

He appealed to Tehran to halt the planned execution.

Celebrities including Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, and Robert Redford have already signed on to the campaign to push for her release, according to The Times, which also quoted US Senator John Kerry and Howard Berman, the chairman of the House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, as expressing their disgust at the sentence.

– more…

Nun Excommunicated For Allowing Abortion

Monday, May 24th, 2010

– It is hard to see how an organization that is concerned about diminishing membership and public skepticism can make errors like this.   Pedophile priests get a pass but a nun acting out of deep compassion gets the axe.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

May 19, 2010

Last November, a 27-year-old woman was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. She was 11 weeks pregnant with her fifth child, and she was gravely ill. According to a hospital document, she had “right heart failure,” and her doctors told her that if she continued with the pregnancy, her risk of mortality was “close to 100 percent.”

The patient, who was too ill to be moved to the operating room much less another hospital, agreed to an abortion. But there was a complication: She was at a Catholic hospital.

“They were in quite a dilemma,” says Lisa Sowle Cahill, who teaches Catholic theology at Boston College. “There was no good way out of it. The official church position would mandate that the correct solution would be to let both the mother and the child die. I think in the practical situation that would be a very hard choice to make.”

But the hospital felt it could proceed because of an exception — called Directive 47 in the U.S. Catholic Church’s ethical guidelines for health care providers — that allows, in some circumstance, procedures that could kill the fetus to save the mother. Sister Margaret McBride, who was an administrator at the hospital as well as its liaison to the diocese, gave her approval.

The woman survived. When Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted heard about the abortion, he declared that McBride was automatically excommunicated — the most serious penalty the church can levy.

“She consented in the murder of an unborn child,” says the Rev. John Ehrich, the medical ethics director for the Diocese of Phoenix. “There are some situations where the mother may in fact die along with her child. But — and this is the Catholic perspective — you can’t do evil to bring about good. The end does not justify the means.”

Ehrich adds that under canon or church law, the nun should be expelled from her order, the Sisters of Mercy, unless the order can find an alternative penalty. Ehrich concedes that the circumstances of this case were “hard.”

“But there are certain things that we don’t really have a choice” about, he says. “You know, if it’s been done and there’s public scandal, the bishop has to take care of that, because he has to say, ‘Look, this can’t happen.’ ”

A Double Standard?

But according to the Rev. Thomas Doyle, a canon lawyer, the bishop “clearly had other alternatives than to declare her excommunicated.” Doyle says Olmsted could have looked at the situation, realized that the nun faced an agonizing choice and shown her some mercy. He adds that this case highlights a “gross inequity” in how the church chooses to handle scandal.

“In the case of priests who are credibly accused and known to be guilty of sexually abusing children, they are in a sense let off the hook,” Doyle says.

Doyle says no pedophile priests have been excommunicated. When priests have been caught, he says, their bishops have protected them, and it has taken years or decades to defrock them, if ever.

– more…

– research thanks to Han D.

Kiwi family stunned about expulsion

Friday, March 19th, 2010

– This is the sort of thing I’ve written about before.  See and .  Western nations that think multiculturalism is good need to be a bit less naive.  If we cannot go to their countries and practice our beliefs, then why should we allow all of them to come to ours and setup ethnic enclaves within our cities?  Parity – not prejudice – is the concept here.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

A New Zealand family kicked out of Morocco for teaching Christianity to Muslim orphans are safe on their way to Spain, their family says.

Aucklanders Chris and Tina Broadbent and their two young children were given an hour and a half to pack and leave the orphanage run by the Village of Hope charity before being given an armed escort to the border.

They had been voluntarily working at the village for the last 18 months.

Mr Broadbent’s father, Dr Roland Broadbent, told NZPA Christian material had been found at the organisation.

In Morocco it was illegal to convert Muslims to Christianity, but as the group had been left alone for nearly two years, Dr Broadbent said it wasn’t clear why the orphanage workers were suddenly forced out of the property, leaving the 33 children with nowhere to go.


Pakistan: Backlash Rises against Bill on Sexual Harassment

Monday, March 15th, 2010

– Can you imagine?   A country with nuclear weapons and an ally of the U.S. and they still want to keep their women in the back of the bus.  What a world.

– – – – – – – = = = = = = = – – – – – – –

As a bill against sexual harassment of women inches closer to becoming a law in Pakistan, it is drawing fire from male politicians and conservative groups that have called it anywhere from un-Islamic to one that would lead women astray.

These groups are having last-minute jitters given that the first part of these legal measures to counter sexual harassment — Criminal Law Amendment Act 2010 — was signed into law by President Asif Ali Zardari on Jan. 29. This amendment, the result of two years of unswerving struggle by civil society, especially women activists, is aimed at protecting both men and women against harassment at workplace.

But the backlash from critics is rising now that the second part of the amendment — a specific law on the protection against harassment of women at the workplace — has been approved by the lower House of Parliament and is awaiting passage in the Senate.

‘It is against shariah (Islamic law)’ is how Sen. Gul Naseeb Khan of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazlur Rehman Group) views this second part of the bill. He was also the sole voice of dissent in the Senate when the first part of the sexual harassment bill was being debated.

In a television talk show, he said the bill protecting women from sexual harassment would only lead to the spread of vulgarity. ‘There is no need for women to seek employment because the responsibility for their upkeep lies on the shoulder of men,’ he said.

The only two professions women can take up, he argued, are teaching and medicine — and those are only if it is absolutely necessary.

Jamshed Dasti, a parliamentarian belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party that tabled the twin bill, went against his party’s line to oppose their passage and vowed to put forward a bill that would protect men’s rights. He also termed the sexual harassment bills an insult to Islamic society.

– More…

Indonesian minister blames disasters on immorality

Monday, December 21st, 2009

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian government minister has drawn sharp criticism from earthquake victims and alienated some of his Twitter followers by blaming natural disasters in Indonesia on immorality.

Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring linked disasters to declining public morals when he addressed a prayer meeting in the city of Padang to mark a Muslim holiday on Friday.

“Television broadcasts that destroy morals are plentiful in this country and therefore disasters will continue to occur,” national news agency Antara quoted Sembiring as saying in the Bahasa Indonesia language.


Hardliners closing portal to paradise

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Rahman Baba, “The Nightingale of Peshawar”, was an 18th-century poet and mystic.

He withdrew from the world and promised his followers that if they also loosened their ties with the world, they could purge their souls of worries and move towards direct experience of God. Rituals and fasting were for the pious, said the saint. He emphasised that divinity can best be reached through the gateway of the human heart – that we all have paradise within us, if we know where to look.

For centuries, Rahman Baba’s shrine at the foot of the Khyber Pass has been a place where musicians and poets have gathered, and his Sufi verses in Pashtun made him the national poet of the Pathans.

Then, about 10 years ago, a Saudi-funded Wahhabi madrasa was built at the end of the track leading to the shrine. Soon its students took it on themselves to halt what they saw as un-Islamic practices. On my last visit, I talked about the situation with the shrine keeper, Tila Mohammed. He described how young Islamists now came and complained that his shrine was a centre of idolatry and superstition: “My family have been singing here for generations,” said Tila. “But now these Arab madrasa students come here and create trouble.

“They tell us that what we do is wrong. They ask people who are singing to stop. Sometimes arguments break out – even fist fights. This used to be a place where people came to get peace of mind. Now when they come here they encounter more problems, so gradually have stopped coming.”

“Before the Afghan war, there was nothing like this. But then the Saudis came, with their propaganda, to stop us visiting the saints, and to stop us preaching’ishq [love]. Now trouble happens more and more frequently.”

Behind the violence lies a long theological conflict that has divided the Islamic world for centuries. Rahman Baba believed passionately in the importance of music, poetry and dancing as a path for reaching God, as a way of opening the gates of paradise. But this use of poetry and music in ritual is one of the many aspects of Sufi practice that has attracted the wrath of modern Islamists. For although the Koran does not ban music, Islamic tradition has always associated music with dancing girls and immorality.

At Attock, not far from the shrine of Rahman Baba, stands the Haqqania, one of the most radical madrasas in South Asia. Much of the Taleban leadership were trained here, so I asked the madrasa’s director, Maulana Sami ul-Haq, about what I had heard at Rahman Baba’s tomb. The matter was quite simple. “Music is against Islam. Musical instruments lead men astray and are sinful. They are forbidden, and these musicians are wrongdoers.”

Nor were Sami’s strictures limited to the shrine’s music: “We believe there is no power but God,” he continued. “I invite people who come here to return to the true path of the Koran. Do not pray to a corpse: Rahman Baba is dead. Go to the mosque, not to a grave.”

This sort of madrasa-driven change in attitudes is being reproduced across Pakistan. There are now 27 times as many madrasas in the country as there were in 1947: from 245 at independence, the number has shot up to 6870 in 2001. Across Pakistan, the religious tenor has been correspondingly radicalised: the tolerant, Sufi-minded Barelvi form of Islam is now out of fashion in northern Pakistan, overtaken by the more hardline and politicised Wahhabism.