The UK’s Daily Mail reported last year that “under UAE law, rapists can only be convicted if either the perpetrator confesses or if four adult Muslim males witness the crime.” This isn’t just Emirati law; it is pure Sharia, based on Qur’an 24:4 and 24:13. Those verses, in turn, are according to Islamic tradition, the result of Muhammad’s exoneration of his favorite wife, Aisha, who was suspected of adultery.
Allah gave Muhammad a revelation requiring four male witnesses to establish such a crime: “And those who accuse honourable women but bring not four witnesses, scourge them (with) eighty stripes and never (afterward) accept their testimony, they indeed are evil-doers” (Qur’an 24:4). The problem with this is that women who accuse men of rape but cannot produce four male witnesses are often accused themselves of zina — unlawful sexual intercourse — and jailed as a result.
This is found wherever Sharia is found. According to Sisters In Islam, a Muslim reform group, there is evidence that most — up to 75% — of the women imprisoned in Pakistan are there because of rape. Their accusation, in the absence of the requisite four witnesses, becomes tantamount to a confession.
So imagine the despair this poor woman felt after she reported the rape and the perpetrator was exonerated. She knew she was facing a future of ostracism, harassment, vilification, poverty, isolation, and perhaps even honor murder. So like Thich Quang Duc, she made her death a plea and a statement of protest.
“Woman in Pakistan who sets herself on fire after reporting attempted rape to police dies,” from the Associated Press, March 14 (thanks to Kenneth):
LAHORE, Pakistan – A police officer in Pakistan says a woman who set herself on fire outside a police station after reporting men tried to rape her has died.
Police Chief Usman Akran Gondal of Muzaffargarh district says the woman died Friday after setting herself on fire Thursday in the village of Beit Mir Hazar Khan.
Gondal says the woman’s brother filed a complaint with police in January, saying his sister had been abducted and the assailants tried to rape her.
Gondal says authorities investigated the claim but found no evidence to support it so they let the men go.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the woman had gone to the police station to protest.
Rape cases are rarely prosecuted in Pakistan. Women who complain are often stigmatized.