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Malaysia’s adoption of Hudud – Following in the Footsteps of Mengele

Your actions are what determine the sort of person you are. Not your glittering spires or your technology. If all the achievement in the world is used to further a barbarous practice then your achievement is tarnished and hollow. All you are doing is using technology to maintain your medieval principles.

Luke Skywalker's Hand Being Tested

If Only… If Only

I know people will tar me for islamophobia. Because in their minds genuine criticism of Islam is on the same level as the EDL member shouting about “Muslamic Infiltration and Creeping Sharia Law”. So I figured that every time I criticise Islam? I should actually demonstrate what I spent my childhood doing.

See? I had Muslim friends. And I wanted to fit in. And this was a more liberal period of Islam.

So I got educated. I read the Koran. I would attribute this to my learning of other cultures and indeed my love of Muslim History. See? I didn’t learn Muslim History from the local propaganda texts. I learnt History. You would be surprised how much more of it is there if we start by thinking that Mohammed was not the start of the history of the Middle East. To my teachers there was no Ur. This was not the cradle of civilisation. There was no Egypt and Babylon was a passing mention. After all? They were pagan heathens. Not true believers.

I know many of my readers aren’t all that aware of what Islamic Jurisprudence is like. So a little explanation

Islamic Criminal Code is divided into four categories

  • Hadd: A Divine Crime
  • Ta’zir: A Personal Crime
  • Qisas: A Crime against Man and God
  • Siyasah: A Crime against the State

So basically? Divine Law, Personal Law, Mixed, State

And the punishments for these are classified as

  • Qisas - Revenge following the principle of “eye for an eye.”
  • Diyya – In Sanskrit this means lamp, in Arabic the word can mean blood money or ransom. Adequate monetary compensation paid to the heirs of a victim to stay punishment.
  • Hudud – A fixed penalty for certain crimes.
  • Tazir – Miscellaneous punishments that can be tacked on at the behest of a judge

We are going to concern ourselves with Hudud because it is what we know off the most.

Hudud are crimes that have fixed penalties.

These are

  • Apostasy
  • Drinking Alcohol
  • Highway Robbery
  • Theft
  • Illegal Sexual Intercourse
  • False Accusations of Illegal Sexual Intercourse

Apostasy is the sticking point. Some Muslims do not consider it to be a Hudud offense. Interestingly enough? Murder is a personal crime and so is punished by the “Eye for an Eye” principle and “Blood Money”. Here Islam betrays its tribal origins where such crimes would have been personal crimes solved by state protected revenge rather than a state mechanism for resolution. This would be more seen in small tribal cultures.

Drinking Alcohol and Illegal Sexual intercourse are to be punished by beating or whipping.

Adultery can only be punished by stoning if witnessed by four witnesses. Or by four confessions from the “perpetrator”. So in effect a lot of such cases involves coercion to get signed confessions often by people who do not know what they are signing or are just scared and think signing this paper will make them leave.

Highway Robbery is to be punished by execution either by beheading or by crucifixion.

And theft… theft is what we are here to discuss. Theft is punished by amputation.

The Government of Malaysia is planning to adopt Hudud as a penal code. Because “to aspire to  be like Saudi” seems to be a sane and sensible plan with absolutely no repercussions what so ever for the non-Muslim population.

And while that is terrible, I must concentrate on a specific piece off Islamic Fundamentalist bullshit that is attempting to turn doctors into state executioners.

One of the major issues with theft is that it needs to be punished by amputation. So who gets to do the dirty deed?

We see a divide here. On the one side. the Malaysia Medical Association (MMA)  and on the others there are religious medical groups like I-Medik and the Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM). And you can guess what the issue is.

According to the MMA, those who want surgeons to carry out hudud punishments should work to change the doctors’ Code of Professional Conduct before demanding they be mandated to perform the amputations. And that until then no doctor could be forced to act against the code of ethics as set down by the Malaysian Medical Council based on the hippocratic oath and following western attitudes towards medicine not being used as a system of punishment.

Okay maybe that is a bad example. But even in that case the people doing the killing were not doctors but executioners who misuse medicine. This is demanding doctors do so.

Currently? Any such amputation done so would be met with disciplinary action by the MMC. But the MMA aren’t without a sense of sly humour (IMHO). They suggested that if pro-hudud groups were so insistent on amputations they would be better off seeking the services of butchers than doctors. Amusing but harsh. Butchers don’t harm people.

I-Medik’s stance on that is that the MMA are being unprofessional as they are not taking into consideration the feeling of Muslims. IMAM criticised his lack of sensitivity to an Islamic issue. In short? This is the cry of Islamophobia, that an action that is demonstrably bad cannot be criticised because it says so in a 1500 year old book written by people who would consider us wizards.

I-Medik recommended that Muslim doctors should carry out these punishments according to their Islamic Medical Oath and in full support of Shariah. And that such a defence of the values of modern medicine lies antithetical to Islam as it decries such punishments.

IMAM also clarified that it supported Hudud and Shariah and went on to suggest that the “Moral” Punishment for Hudud is to inflict “pain, fear, remorse and repentance” on the convicted. A lesson not to repeat the crime. Part of the effectiveness is that these procedures have to be done in public to deter future criminals.

I had to look up the name of the man who said this. Abdul Rahim Mohamad. I would not call him a doctor as he stands for none of the principles we hold. And I speak as a man who willingly writes under a famous Muslim doctor’s name as a pseudonym. The joke is that had Ibn Sina been alive today, it is no doubt that he would find himself imprisoned, beaten and maybe even killed for his “apostate” views.

Abdul Mohamad suggests

“Thus, undertaking the amputation under anaesthesia defeats the underlying principle of hudud. This, however, is a point of serious contention between the various schools of thought and Imam is open to other evidence-based and Shariah-compliant opinions which best prescribe the active role of the Muslim physician.”

In effect, Mohamad is not suggesting that doctors not perform the surgery. But the very rules of medicine be changed to allow doctors to do harm on purpose.

As of now it is illegal to force doctors to do so and it is illegal for doctors to willingly participate in such a punishment. But should Malaysia change the rule and there is a big push for these laws to be made official…

Then doctors will no longer be healers but state executioners. They will cease to follow in the path of men like Salk and Sabin who refused to patent the Sun. Or of men like Albert Schweitzer who gave so much for their patients. Or of the countless men and women who tirelessly work to bring people health.

They will follow in the footsteps of Mengele. To discard the very thing that makes us so ethical and instead embrace fundamentalism and torture in the guise of medicine.

I have had to take a limb. The young man was badly injured and had left the wound untreated for a long time. To save his life we took his leg. Orthopaedic surgery has progressed so much that we can reconstruct horrifically broken bones and have them heal. In fact we joke about putting artificial limb companies out of a job. Orthopaedics has grown considerably since those days. And that one time I had to stand there holding a limb in a field hospital while a surgeon took the boy’s leg. And we know we did good because he had gangrene. We know what would happen. If it wasn’t for that, I wonder what lies we would have to tell ourselves to make us feel no remorse over the intentional crippling of a healthy person.

And you will be good men who do this, after all you will just tell yourself what you want to hear. Do we not remember Madred from Star Trek’s Chain of Command? Interspersing torture with his actions of being (outside of the torture) a charming family man? Because nothing makes you assured that your actions are good like blindly believing in a cause. We know how fundamentalism works.

When you hold a fundamentalist at the zenith of human endeavour rather than the nadir, everyone aspires to that. Each eggs the other on to greater and greater acts of fundamentalism to prove they are faithful. What better way to be a good fundamentalist and demonstrate your faith as a True Muslim™ than to be the doctor who upholds Shariah Law? Is not theft a social illness? You are curing society itself.

You may call yourself what you will if you agree to do this.

But you are no doctor.

You are a torturer.

Comments

  1. says

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  2. smrnda says

    I’ve always thought the idea of a medical code of ethics is that medical professionals agree to abide by it rather than whatever happens to be locally popular at the time. The idea that you change the medical ethics so doctors can do unethical things is going the opposite direction.

  3. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    I-Medik’s stance on that is that the MMA are being unprofessional as they are not taking into consideration the feeling of Muslims. IMAM criticised his lack of sensitivity to an Islamic issue. In short? This is the cry of Islamophobia, that an action that is demonstrably bad cannot be criticised because it says so in a 1500 year old book written by people who would consider us wizards. … (snip) … In effect, Mohamad is not suggesting that doctors not perform the surgery. But the very rules of medicine be changed to allow doctors to do harm on purpose.

    As of now it is illegal to force doctors to do so and it is illegal for doctors to willingly participate in such a punishment. But should Malaysia change the rule and there is a big push for these laws to be made official…
    Then … (snip) … They will follow in the footsteps of Mengele. To discard the very thing that makes us so ethical and instead embrace fundamentalism and torture in the guise of medicine.

    Quoted for truth (with a few edits to display my favorite lines here. Hope that’s ok )

    Well said, Avicenna. Very informative and well written.

  4. ButchKitties says

    Interesting that you make the comparison to Mengele. I have a friend who was born and raised in Malaysia. She once told me that she had grown up being taught that Hitler was a hero who had ordered important medical research. The schools never so much as mentioned that Mengele tortured living people. She was told he had done anatomical studies using standard medical cadavers, and she had no idea that the Holocaust happened at all until she moved out of the country.

    I’m going to have to ask her what she’s heard and thinks about all this.

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