Poor Islamic rapists. Will the Islamophobia never end? “Pakistani Islamists protest as new rape law signed,” from Reuters, with thanks to Clamper:
ISLAMABAD, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Religious party activists held small protests on Friday in several cities around Pakistan as President Pervez Musharraf signed into law a bill curtailing the scope of Islamic laws on rape.
Islamist opposition lawmakers have threatened to resign from parliament over the issue, but protests held after the National Assembly passed the Women’s Protection Bill earlier this month have failed to generate much public support.
The passage of the bill was seen as a test of Musharraf’s commitment to his vision of “enlightened moderation”, and a major battle in a long struggle between progressives and religious conservatives to set the course for this mainly Muslim nation.
“The bill was sent to the president by the prime minister yesterday, which he signed and returned today,” Information Minister Mohammad Ali Durrani told Reuters.
Hundreds of supporters of the Islamist parties chanted anti-Musharraf slogans at a demonstration in Rawalpindi, the city next door to Islamabad, and demanded that the government scrap the bill, and there were smaller rallies in other cities after Friday prayers.
The act takes the crime of rape out of the sphere of the religious laws, known as the Hudood Ordinances, and puts it under the penal code.
Under the Hudood Ordinances, which were introduced by a military ruler in 1979, a rape victim had to produce four male witnesses to prove the crime, or face the possibility of prosecution for adultery.
The change does away with that requirement and will allow convictions to be made on the basis of forensic and circumstantial evidence.
An Islamist opposition leader said it would turn conservative Pakistan into a “free sex zone”.