February 19, 2009

Cruel and Usual Punishment

Muzzammil Hassan is the founder of Bridge TV, a television station launched to prevent stereotyping of Islam as an oppressive religion. Last week, he was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, after police found the decapitated body of his estranged wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, 37, in her home in Buffalo, New York. After several incidents of reported domestic violence, the couple had separated recently. Aasia had filed for divorce earlier this month. She had also sought and obtained a restraining order against Mr. Hassan. The police are investigating possible motives for the murder, including honor killing.

Predictably, the apologists for Islam have sought to isolate this beheading from the religion of peace and compassion. Nazim Mangera, the Imam of the Islamic Society of the Niagara Frontier, is among those who are upset about tying the two:

“We’re all shocked. We’re all grieving,” said Mangera... “To compound that, we have to face the difficulty of the religion of Islam being blamed for [the killer’s] personal actions. It was an individual person who did this act, for whatever reason. We don’t find any justification in the Islamic religion for any such violence.”

“Beheading has more to do with culture and country of origin [than religion],” Mangera stated. “It has nothing to do with Islam. We abhor domestic violence, and we categorically denounce it in all forms.”

Yes, it is true that there have been honor killings of women in several countries around the world. I have pointed to some of these in my previous post. If we went over all of the 552 cases reported at the website for the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women, however, we find that an overwhelming majority of these have taken place within the confines of the religion of Islam. Does this in itself mean that Islam sanctions these killings? Perhaps, as Mr. Mangera says, "'honor killing' comes from an extreme right-wing Islamic faction that uses the Quran for its own purposes"?

Cruel punishments for what the civilized world views as frailties of the human flesh, don't seem to be unusual at all in Islam. Here is how Muhammad punished a woman for adultery:

The Ghamidi woman came and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have committed adultery, so purify me.”... then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) ordered that a chest-deep hole be dug for her, and that she be stoned. Khalid ibn Al-Waleed picked up a stone and threw it at her head. Blood spurted out onto his face and he swore at her. The Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) heard what he said, and told him: “Take it easy, O Khalid! By Him in Whose hand is my soul, she has repented in such a way that if the tax-gatherer had done so, he would have been forgiven.” (Muslim). Then he gave orders that the (funeral) prayer should be offered for her, and she was buried.

Lest this be dismissed as an obscure command given under special circumstances eons ago, it was the law in Afghanistan just a few years ago. In Nigeria, circa 2004... This in Iran, just last year:

Lucky women in SWAT, Pakistan, may look forward to being "purified", Islamist-style, now that a deal has been struck to impose Sharia in these Taliban controlled areas.

So, please, Mr. Mangera, spare us this nonsense about brutal and inhuman punishments as having nothing to do with Islam or Quaran.

  1. Cruel and Usual Punishment. The Terrifying Global Implications of Sharia Law.

    Here is a book writtin by a muslim women from Gaza

    "Cruel and Usual Punishment"


  2. The BJP government steps in again to protect Indian culture:



  3. American soldier beheads wife’s lover and no mention of religion: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/gruesome/headless.asp

    American husband beheads wife and no religion is mentioned:


    Man decapitates a passenger on Greyhound and no mention of his religion:

    Kills wife and nearly beheads her and no religion is mentioned:


    Man who was motivated by words of the Bible and kills more than 20 women…no blame on religion:


    Another story and no mention of religion:


    Beheading and no mention of religion: http://www.hindu.com/2008/07/05/stories/2008070558990300.htm

    Man holds woman captive for three days and reads Bible to her (!)and religion is not blamed: http://www.buffalonews.com/260/story/581853.html

    Man beheads wife and no religion is mentioned: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/223245,jealous-husband-beheads-wife-injures-five-on-santorini.html

    Wife kills husband by running him over and no mention of religion as usual: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,334130,00.html

  4. Anonymous #3:
    It's silly to attribute every murder or beheading for adultery to the religion of the killer. Nevertheless, please enlighten me - which religion today demands and institutes a law that imposes cruel and unusual punishment for adultery other than Islam [death by stoning in Iranian law, for e.g.]?

  5. Being behind bars for 30 years is a cruel punishment! Does that mean we shouldn't hand out life sentences now?

    Because of adultery, many families and homes and people's lives have been shattered and destroyed which is much more cruel than stoning. : )


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