Cross posted @ the Atheist Oasis
There is perhaps no more sharper criticism of any culture, than how a woman is treated in that culture. It speaks to the inequality of the sexes when there should be none: it propagates the lie of patriarchy; and it is a cause for weeping.
A 15-year-old girl sentenced to 100 lashes for "fornication" on a remote part of the Maldives is at the centre of a new row between moderates and religious conservatives in the Indian Ocean luxury tourist destination.
A court in the tiny island of Feydhoo last week sentenced the girl to a public flogging after she admitted to having sex out of wedlock, court officials have said.
The reportedly consensual sexual relations only came to light during an investigation into the murder of a baby which revealed that the girl had also been repeatedly raped by her stepfather and another man.
Such punishments are relatively commonplace in the Muslim country, visited by more than 750,000 tourists last year but increasingly hit by serious social problems such as gang violence and drug abuse as well as growing political instability.
Though they appear to have initially backed the decision to prosecute the girl, Maldivian authorities are now working with the country's ministry of Islamic affairs and judiciary to cancel or suspend the punishment, a government official said.
Masood Imad, a spokesman for the current president, Mohammed Waheed Hassan, told the Guardian that the government considered her a victim "who should not now become a victim of the law as well".
"The law is there to protect her. It will take its course but we are fully engaged and we have some levers and we are hopeful that she will not be lashed. Let's see who wins the day," Imad said.
Conservatives, however, are calling for the sentence to be carried out.
Recent years have seen tensions between Muslims practising a traditional, relatively tolerant type of Islam and supporters of a more rigorous, puritanical style heavily influenced by that practised in countries such as Saudi Arabia or Kuwait.
It’s that any country in this day and age would even have something as ridiculous as a ‘ministry of Islamic affairs’ or indeed, a ‘ministry’ of any sort as part of the government whatsoever.
It’s time that these ‘ideologies’ were called for what they truly are: sad twisted anachronistic fantasies that have no place in this century. The bigger problem, is that if you call this out to the parties in question, you’re more likely to be lynched than listened to.
Till the next post, then.