Under the headline “Saudi King Pardons Rape Victim” the AP reports this morning [excerpts]:
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has pardoned a female rape victim who had been sentenced to 200 lashes for being alone with a man at the time of the attack who was not related to her, a Saudi newspaper reported Monday. . . .The young woman is a gang-rape victim and a victim of religious persecution.
Saudi Justice Minister Abdullah bin Mohammed al-Sheik told al-Jazirah newspaper that the pardon does not mean the king doubted the country's judges, but instead acted in the "interests of the people."
"The king always looks into alleviating the suffering of the citizens when he becomes sure that these verdicts will leave psychological effects on the convicted people, though he is convinced and sure that the verdicts were fair," al-Jazirah quoted al-Sheik as saying.
The victim in the case, known only as the "Girl of Qatif" after her hometown in eastern Saudi Arabia, was in a car with a high school friend in 2006 when they were attacked and raped by seven men.
She initially was sentenced in November 2006 to several months in prison and 90 lashes for being alone in a car with a man with whom she was neither related nor married, a violation of the kingdom's strict segregation of the sexes.
The woman, who was 19 at the time of the rape, has said she met the man to retrieve a picture of herself from him because she had recently married.
The court more than doubled the sentence last month to 200 lashes and six months prison in response to her appeal. . . .
The Justice Ministry has defended the sentence, saying the girl was having an illicit affair with the man.
Al-Sheik told al-Jazirah newspaper Monday that the king was the only official who could issue a pardon, and he did so despite the government's view that the Saudi legal system was "honest" and "fair." . . .
The AP doesn’t use the term “gang-rape,” I suspect out of “sensitivity” for the feelings of the Saudi Arabian government and hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world, a good many of whom will no doubt wish King Abdullah had not pardoned the woman.
The AP also doesn't say the woman is a victim of religious persecution by the Saudi government.
But religious persecution properly describes what the “honest” and “fair” Suadi justice system did to her on behalf of the Muslim faith.
We rightly teach out children that those brought before the Inquisition were victims of religious persecution.
This woman is no less a victim of religious persecution.
In the Western-oriented democracies we need to have much greater concern for the victims of Islamic religious persecution – those victims being members of many nations and faiths, including Islam - and much greater condemnation of their Islamic persecutors.
But instead of that we’re more likely to hear from our leaders and media condemnations such as we heard recently from the Archbishop of Canterbury who condemned “American imperialism” and from NYT columnist Maureen Dowd who in Apr. 2005 wrote:
The white smoke yesterday signaled that the Vatican thinks what it needs to bring it into modernity is the oldest pope since the 18th century: Joseph Ratzinger, a 78-year-old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler Youth.Message to the Archbishop of Canterbury: That “American imperialism” you condemn is the single most important force standing between the life you live today in a democracy and whatever life a Christian leader such as yourself whose spoken favorably of gays would have in an Islamic “republic.”
For American Catholics - especially women and Democratic pro-choice Catholic pols - the cafeteria is officially closed. After all, Cardinal Ratzinger, nicknamed "God's Rottweiler" and "the Enforcer," helped deny Communion rights to John Kerry and other Catholic politicians in the 2004 election.
Message to Maureen Dowd: You get so much wrong in so few words. Others will point out a lot of what you got wrong.
I’ll just say two things:
One, as I bet you know, John Kerry and other pro-choice Catholic politicians weren’t denied “Communion rights.” Almost all American priests and bishops were willing to give communion to Kerry and others with similar views on abortion.
You’re engaging in a “victim hustle” a la Al Sharpton.
Two, the Pope isn’t a threat to American Catholics but Islamic fundamentalism sure is.
Questions for multiculturalists: Why don’t you abhor and condemn much of Islamic religious practices? Why don’t you call on Islamic religious leaders to repudiate the use of their religion to justify the crimes committed against the young woman by the gang-rapists, and the “honest” and “fair” Saudi government, the guardian of the Islamic holy places?
Message to readers: Your turn.
The entire AP story is here.
Maureen Dowd's column is here.