Friday, September 01, 2006

Under the crescent

Not sure I mentioned this before, but Mary Fitzgerald's weekly series on Islam in the Irish Times is great stuff. This week's article (sub. reqd., unfortunately) is on the Hudood Ordinances.

She starts with the reaction in Parliament to the attempt to amend these laws, which are particularly repressive of women. For example, four '"pious" adult Muslim male witnesses' are required for a rape conviction.
Pakistan's law minister had barely started his speech to parliament when it happened. With cries of "Allahu Akbar" bouncing off the chamber walls, assembly members belonging to the country's religious alliance rushed the speaker's podium. Grabbing copies of the draft Bill being tabled that day, they ripped the sheets into tiny pieces.

Those still sitting looked on incredulous as what remained of the Bill was thrown into the air.

"This Bill is against the Holy Koran," declared opposition leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman. "We reject it and will try to block it in any possible manner."

One minister stood on his seat and tried in vain to speak above the din, which by then included shouts of "Death to Musharraf".
Ah, democracy.