Sunday, April 5, 2009

God forbid any decent human being should ever have to live in a country in which the majority of the population is Muslim, and that majority decides that the Koran should be the source for its laws.

There is a story today out of Egypt, reporting that a married couple was sentenced to prison sentences of 7 years (the husband) and 3 years (the wife), because they were found guilty of "prostitution". Although no money changed hands, the couple were allegedly swingers, engaged in wife-swapping. Under Islamic law, that "crime" is equivalent to prostitution and carries long terms of incarceration:
The judge described the case as one of the worst crimes committed. But the couple's lawyer said the sentence was "very harsh" and they would appeal. Extra-marital sex is illegal in Egypt, where the constitution says Islamic law is the main source of legislation.

Getting sent to prison for 7 years is tame compared with the punishments meted out by the Taliban to a girl accused of "going outside of her family home without being escorted by a male family member." For this, the Holy Koran required her to be beaten severely by religious police.

The only reason this is at all controversial now in Pakistan is because the beating was captured on this video, where you can see two jihadis holding down the victim while a third miscreant pounds on her with a club.

The New York Times reports:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The video shows a young woman held face down as a Taliban commander whips her repeatedly with a leather strap. “Leave me for the moment — you can beat me again later,” she screams, pleading for a reprieve and writhing in pain. Paying no heed, the commander orders those holding her to tighten their grip and continues the public flogging. A large group of men quietly stands and watches in a circle around her.

It's easy enough to blame Islam. After all, these fundamentalist Muslims are simply enforcing the idiotic decrees of their holy book. However, most of the punishments found in the Koran can be found in the Bible, as well. The real difference is that in the non-Muslim world, we don't bow down to fundamentalism. We don't stone homosexuals, as they still do in the Islamic world.

Often, the clash of civilizations between the West and the Middle East is seen as one between differing religious faiths, one being liberal and decent and kind, the other being harsh, conservative and inhumane. In my opinion, the clash is not so much one of religions. It is a clash between the modern and the medieval. Islam is not itself the problem. The problem is that Islam is defined by thugs who hate modernity and (if they exist) modern Muslims who lack the courage to stand up and fight back against the jihadis.

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