The home life of a “religious scholar”

[inarticulate scream of rage and disgust]

PZ tells us what a Saudi father – a “religious scholar” – did to his five-year-old daughter. Read it, if you can bear horrors.

Maryam tells us too.

The father had to pay a little blood money. That’s all. Half the blood money he would have had to pay if Lama had been a boy. (But if Lama had been a boy he wouldn’t have done what he did to her.)

I know heinous child abuse, rape and torture occurs everywhere. I’ve heard some of the worst cases right here in Britain. But it is only under Sharia (and religious laws) that there is always some Islamic justification for leniency or for blaming the mother or child. This case reminds me of an Iranian asylum case I worked on years ago where the Sharia judge told the woman that she was responsible for her child’s sexual abuse as she was not satisfying her husband…

And in the wonderful Islamic tradition of obsessing about females, one Saudi cleric has issued a fatwa calling for parents to put burkas on their babies to prevent child sexual abuse…

Ana Lama

Ana Lama

Ana Lama…

I despise Sharia

I despise Sharia

I despise Sharia…

Sign a petition calling for justice for Lama here.


  1. Brian M says

    Careful d.c..

    How are “we” going to do that? Who is “we”? Are you writing from a military forward operating base somewhere?

    Arguably all cultures and nations engage in horrific acts. How will we do the “dragging” anyway? Via a nuclear bomb dropped on two cities because that is the most efficient mechanism? Via surrounding the city, trapping all males over a certain age, then carpet bombing them (Fallujah). Maybe we can arm and train vicious paramilitaries to kill all the clerics…and anyone else who gets in the way (inumerable examples).

    I hate to concern troll here, but I am always bothered by this kind of authoritarianism. It leads to wars of liberation that kill, wound, or displace a million plus people, leaving a violence-wracked shell of a country (Iraq, Libya, etc. etc.)

    This is a horrific, horrific case of abuse. This law is a travesty of justice. But horrible abuses and terrible laws are everywhere.

  2. says

    D.C. Wilson, I’d suggest reading the Pharyngula thread for various examples of similar brutality here in the U.S., religiously motivated or not. And I will point out that not only do such crimes go on here, but Child Protection Services in most states is grossly underfunded — and its existence is frequently challenged by MRAs and other patriarchs who want an unimpeded “right” to abuse their chattel significant others and their children.

    As for the story itself, I am queasy. Petition signed.

  3. Sercee says

    I have to back up D.C. and mention that the comment was about “religious wackos”, which I think is relevant to the article’s discussion about Sharia Law. I’d like to think that we would eventually bring all “religious wackos” into our standard of life regardless of where they are. This revolting event may have happened in Saudi Arabia, but as Ms. Daisy Cutter points out it happens everywhere, but D.C. didn’t say anything about the wackos only being in that part of the world – that was your assumption about his comment.

    To Brian, I assume “we” refers generally to modernized people with a sense of empathy and a mind for humanism – or even just people who feel horror or anger at such an act. Most people would like that to not happen to anyone. “We” doesn’t have to mean some kind of military thing, or any organization at all – I’ll stand in with the “we” that would see it end. As for method? You can’t force them to change, but you can hope that by reaching out to and protecting the victims of that way of life and by engaging in enough meaningful dialogue with the next generation you could make a difference. I know that’s extremely naive and optimistic… but wishing what D.C. did isn’t automatically authoritarian (although in my weaker moments I acknowledge that I wouldn’t cry over spilled clerics). It’s just anger and frustration at a terrifying society that desperately needs to change.

    In any case, petition signed.

  4. evilDoug says

    To point out that horrible violence against children and adult women happens in the US and other places is to miss a very significant point.
    The law in Saudi Arabia, based apparently on sharia, permits, by statute, this sort of thing with trivial consequences. I believe that this is the point Maryam is making.
    Secular laws are introduced and revised all the time. Can the same be said for sharia?

  5. evilDoug says

    I ran across this:

    The Times reported sources in the Saudi capital Riyadh as saying the royal family had been “stung” by the outrage over the case, with senior members intervening to ensure a stricter punishment is given.

    It sounds to me rather like the Saudi royal family feels it has suffered an embarrassment, and seek to mitigate that, rather than sending a message that the law is wrong and must be changed.

  6. says

    Shit like this is why I oppose the Prime Directive on principal. There are some crimes, and some cultural attitudes that help perpetrate such crimes, that must be eliminated root and stem for the good of humanity.

  7. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    if Lama had been a boy he wouldn’t have done what he did to her

    I’m afraid yoou underestimate the vileness of some people.

  8. Duke Eligor says

    Horrible stuff. Not all that dissimilar to what happens in the US sometimes with the religious fundies. It was only a few years ago that I recall reading about a couple of loving, moral Christian parents in the US who spanked their kid to death. Religion is great at justifying some of the worst of human behavior.

    As far as the supposed uniqueness or rigidity of sharia law, again that’s another myth. Islamic law is highly open to interpretation and modification, and has a detailed system of jurisprudence that produces widely varying rulings. And, very unlike the catholic church and it’s canon law, pope-has-the-final-word kind of structure (which also isn’t entirely true in historical practice), Islamic jurists are allowed to reach their own reasoned opinion, and those opinions are considered validly religious, even if they contradict rulings of other jurists. It’s up to the state to enforce the rulings it likes the most, and in the case of Saudi Arabia, we have an extremist, Wahhabi state that most Muslims find barbaric. I’m really not surprised that the most depraved interpretations get state support under such a regime. This is tyrannical patriarchy at work, not Islam. As usual, religion is just the obsequious hand-holder of the tyrant. Nothing new there.

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