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Meditation 649
Sharia Justice

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In Al-Qatif, Saudi Arabia a 19 year old female gang-rape victim has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail. Her crimes? Being alone with a man who was not a close relative, and then having the temerity to protest her initial sentence of a mere 90 lashes.

Not only this, but one of her brothers has already attempted to kill her for bringing shame upon her family. Given the acceptance of "honour killings" it can reasonably be expected that her family will make another attempt once she is released from custody. It is their responsibility to defend the family honor. And if she is killed, it is highly unlikely that anyone will be prosecuted. By Saudi standards, it is what a rape victim deserves.

Such is the lot of women in Saudi Arabia.

Unlike the Sudanese situation discussed in the previous Meditation which is a one-off event, this is the standard in Saudi Arabia under sharia law. It is fair to say Islam is responsible. Not all Islam, of course. There are branches of Islam that have come to treat women as equals rather than property, much as most of Christianity has come to the same realization. But Wahhabi Islam determines sharia law in Saudi Arabia and Wahhabi Islam clerics are the judges in the courts. Justice, if you can call it that, is in the hands of the clergy.

The lack of equitable treatment for women remains as a cancer in the homeland of Islam.