Yesterday I wrote here that “Musharraf wants to examine Sharia law, particularly laws regarding rape (which I discuss at length in Islam Unveiled) in the light of “chivalry,” but for millions of Muslims in Pakistan and elsewhere, it is the law of Allah. It is not to be judged or revised — an idea that bodes ill for non-Muslims and women in Sharia societies.” Here is more evidence of that problem: in chronicling human rights abuses, Amnesty International has run afoul of Nigerian Muslims, who protest that what AI calls abuses are just exercises of the Sharia, which cannot be abusive as it is Allah’s law.
From the Mail and Guardian, with thanks to Nicolei:
An influential Nigerian Islamic body on Wednesday warned the London-based rights group Amnesty International to stop interfering in Islamic religion in the name of human rights campaigns.
The warning by the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), the umbrella body for Nigeria’s Muslims, followed Tuesday’s report by Amnesty condemning the use of the death penalty in 12 northern Nigerian states where the Sharia legal system is in operation.
JNI spokesperson Zubairu Jibrin told a local radio in a report monitored in Kano that the rights group is hiding under the guise of human rights to attack Islam or the Sharia legal system.
“We are warning Amnesty to desist from disparaging Islam under the guise of human rights,” he said.
“The issue of stoning for adultery is an Islamic injunction which applies only to Muslims and every Muslim who commits adultery is aware of the consequence of this offence if he is prosecuted,” he added.
“The issue of stoning for adultery is not confined to Islam. Both Judaism and Christianity prescribe same punishment for adultery, even in severer form,” he added.
Of course this is a common dodge, but it is false on several levels. Christianity in fact does not prescribe stoning for adultery, and the laying aside of that punishment is the subject of the famous incident in which Jesus tells those ready to begin stoning an adulteress: “let the one who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 7:53-8:11.) As for Judaism, this punishment is nowhere practiced today, for the rabbinic tradition has elaborated methods of interpretation of the Torah that rule it out. In Islam, however, it persists.
Amnesty had said the death penalty violates women’s human rights by curbing their right to a fair trial and by exposing them to homicide charges for abortion-related offences.
The London-based organisation said it “believes that the death penalty in its application in Nigeria in particular violates women’s human rights to access to justice … and has a discriminatory effect on women in certain cases and for certain crimes”.
It said that the death penalty remains on the books in Nigeria in both its Constitution and in the Islamic law imposed in 12 northern states for a range of crimes including armed robbery, treason, murder and culpable homicide, with the latter “often” being used in abortion-related cases.
There have been “at least 33 death sentences since 1999”, a summary of the report said.
“One of the convicted was a woman charged with a capital offence of culpable homicide, after allegedly having had a still-born baby, which event the court termed as an illegal abortion,” it added.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country of about 126-million people, is almost evenly spread between Muslims and Christians.
The reintroduction of the Sharia in 12 northern states since Nigeria returned to civil rule in 1999 after more than 15 years of military dictatorship has been widely criticised by local and international rights bodies, Christians and the country’s central government.
Last month, President Olusegun Obasanjo told an international audience the Islamic legal system had fizzled out in Nigeria.