Friday, November 30, 2007

Two Cases Shed Light on Floggings in Muslim World

by Russell Goldman from ABC News (US: New York)

Lashing is a common penalty under Wahabi interpretations of sharia law, the Islamic religious laws that underpin the legal systems in Saudi Arabia and Sudan. For some crimes, the Koran specifies the number of lashes required. But for most crimes, the sentence is at the discretion of the judge hearing the case. Not everyone agrees that the Koran condones the flogging of women, however. "There is nothing in the Koran -- that is there is no Koranic justification -- for sentencing the Qatif woman to flogging," said Yvonne Haddad, an Islamic history professor at Georgetown University. "Flogging has not been used in all places at all times throughout the Islamic world. In the places where it continues to exist it is steeped more in local tradition than Islam. The practice varies from place to place. Pakistan has a flogging law, as does Iran. Most of the Gulf countries, especially those influenced by Wahabiism have flogging," she said.

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