Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Experts Agree

I wonder if this exemplifies one of those inescapable parts of the human condition that appeal to millions of human beings across the globe sunnily recounted by renowned scholars? Slather on the SPF-75 sunscreen and feel the rays:

A 16-year-old girl who was raped in Bangladesh has been given 101 lashes for conceiving during the assault ... Her rape emerged after her pregnancy test and Muslim elders in the village issued a fatwa insisting that the girl be kept in isolation until her family agreed to corporal punishment.
The question of who possesses the superior understanding of "true Islam" here, Karen Armstrong or the filthy jackals who orchestrated this travesty, is indeterminate unless and until Allah beams down and holds forth.

But not everything about the case is so uncertain. These elders derived their rotten, noxious ideas and impulses from whatever ultimate source -- tradition, rivalry, local politics, personal grudges, garden-variety prejudice, who knows? -- and found warrant for it within Islam -- and note the charitable assumption that they didn't get the idea from Islam's texts and traditions.

It's equally clear that the warrant that Islam is able to grant in such a case -- its esteem here on earth, its taboo status, its claim on that which is "sacred," perhaps "inescapable" in human affairs -- is furthered by the likes of Karen Armstrong's sunny, glass-half-full view of it.

Armstrong and the jackals agree -- Islam is a positive and redeeming force in the world. Look away from the rape. Look away from whipping the victim of rape.

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