“Infidels,” or non-Muslims—or those who are not Muslim enough or the wrong kinds of Muslims—are often seen as the natural recipients of Islamic violence as prescribed by Islamic law, or Sharia.
Few, however, are aware that Sharia can cause individual Muslims to do violence upon themselves.
According to France24, on January 15, a Muslim boy in Pakistan “cut off his own hand believing he had committed blasphemy, only to be celebrated by his parents and neighbours for the act.”
After an imam told a mosque gathering after Friday prayers that those who love Muhammad always say their prayers, he rhetorically asked if anyone present doesn’t pray. Mohammad Anwar, the overly eager 15-year-old boy, impulsively raised his hand, apparently thinking that the imam was asking who among the crowd does, as opposed to doesn’t, pray.
The response was typical: “The crowd swiftly accused him [the boy] of blasphemy so he went to his house and cut off the hand he had raised, put it on a plate, and presented it to the cleric.”
On his way back to the imam, the boy was “greeted by villagers in the street as his parents proclaim[ed] their pride” in the young Mohammad for amputating his blasphemous appendage.
Although this story received some media attention, it is not aberrant. In 2013, Ali Afifi, then 28-years-old, told his story, which appeared primarily on Arabic language media. A practicing Muslim in Egypt, Ali cut off both his hands to punish himself for, and prevent himself from, stealing. He had been stealing since childhood and couldn’t stop, or, as he put it, couldn’t overcome “the devil’s whisperings.”
He went to several Islamic clerics asking them to cut off his hand “in accordance with Islamic Sharia” (normative Islamic law calls for the amputation of the hands of thieves, see Koran 5:38). They refused, saying they didn’t have the authority and that he should find those responsible for such issues.
So Ali took matters into his own hands (pun unintended). One day he placed his left hand on a train track and waited for the locomotive… Keep reading