Islam Respects Women Update: “503 women publicly flogged in Bangladesh,” from the Indo-Asian News Service, February 14 (thanks to Satya):
Dhaka: A demand to prohibit the Muslim clergy from issuing fatwa is gathering momentum in Bangladesh as 503 women have been subjected to public flogging since the year 2000.
The issuing of religious edicts has not yet been banned. The high court declared it illegal in 2001; speakers said at a roundtable titled “No more fatwa” here Sunday.
Speakers urged the government to make issuance of fatwa a punishable offence since 503 women have fallen victim to it.
“Fatwa means legal opinion. Only court can give legal opinions. The man who announces fatwa has no legal authority to do it,” Justice Mohammad Gholam Rabbani said referring to the judgment he passed in 2001.
“Fatwa should be made punishable as it goes against the existing law of our country,” he was quoted as saying by The Daily Star.
Largest selling Bengali language daily Prothom Alo arranged the roundtable following last month’s death of a teenage girl from Shariatpur near here, who was raped by a neighbour and then whipped a 100 times [sic] after a fatwa was issued.
She could not take more than about 80 lashes and fell unconscious, eyewitnesses told media. She died a day later in hospital.
The case caused a national outcry after it was found that the police and the hospital colluded with the family of the alleged rapist to deny that there was any wrongdoing….