I didn’t sleep well last night. Every time I closed my eyes I kept picturing the young woman below being whipped. Her face all scrunched up while tears rolled down her cheeks. No matter how hard I tried to think of something else, her image would just pop back up again. At one point I went to the bathroom and splashed some water on my face. I even tried reading the back of my bottle of moisturiser, nothing worked. I went back to bed and lay there for hours. I tried saying a little prayer, to send each of the men and women my best wishes and hopes that they are ok. But my heart still hurt.
I was first made aware of the incident thanks to a Twitter post by columnist Rita Panahi. Clicking on the link I was taken to a newspaper post written by Julian Robinson for the Daily Mail. The article told of three couples who were savagely whipped – in public – for violating Sharia Law… Sharia Law! Every time I hear of those two words I cringe. Every time I hear of it or read about it has something to do with some kind of demeaning, abusive behaviour. This is what Wikipedia says about Sharia Law – “It is the religious legal system governing the members of the Islamic faith. It is derived from the religious precepts of Islam, particularly the Quran and the Hadith. The term sharia comes from the Arabic language term sharīʿah, which means a body of moral and religious law derived from religious prophecy, as opposed to human legislation. Sharia deals with many topics, including crime, politics, marriage contracts, trade regulations, religious prescriptions, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting. Adherence to sharia has served as one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Muslim faith historically. In its strictest definition, sharia is considered in Islam as the infallible law of God.”
Only a few days ago these three couples were taken to a public area and whipped. Why? Because they went on a date! A date!! As far as the law in Indonesia is concerned, men and women, who are not spouses, are not allowed to get too close due to the ‘khalwat’ offence. According to the article, the three couples from Acehnese, which is situated on the northernmost tip of the island of Sumatra were part of a brutal new crackdown in the region. I don’t know how the law, or the ‘religious officers’ were made aware of it but I can’t help but shake my head. At first I wondered why they were not given a warning, but the real issue was more prominent – that they had no choice. Sharia Law had stepped in. Such basic freedoms and human rights that we take for granted here in Australia, and most other countries around the world, didn’t exist in Indonesia and my heart breaks for these men and women.
A bleepin’ date! They didn’t steal anything, they didn’t murder, rape or pillage…they went on a damn date! Yet these young men and women were repeatedly lashed with a cane for being attracted to each other, for falling in love, for wanting to spend time with each other. It is so wrong. I understand that not all Muslim people follow Sharia Law, and that those who choose not to follow that legal system live and follow western values like the rest of us – happily. And I am sure that some people will disagree with my feelings on this matter, but I can’t help but feel this culture of Sharia Law is wrong. How can we look at these pictures and not be affected by them? How can we not look upon a law that hurts people for feeling a basic human emotion? For feeling smitten, for falling in love?
We have issues here in Australia and I can’t help but think that this article will play more of a role in how we think of certain cultures. When we see a muslim man or woman walking down the street, what do you think will pop into my mind? Do they follow Sharia Law? Do they believe in this kind of treatment? Have they witnessed, implemented, supported or been a victim of this punishment? How do they feel about those who are not muslim dating outside of marriage? It brings up lots of questions.
I believe in romance, courtship, and the ability to find someone who cherishes, respects, cares and loves you. I believe in being given a choice and in being able to make up your own damn mind. I believe in trust, honesty and happiness. I believe in kindness and being a nice human being. Hurting someone because they felt an attraction… love… my heart struggles with it and I just can’t think of it as being anything more than oppressive and brutal. I wonder where our world is heading – wars, famine, refugees …are we really any better off than our grandparents who survived World War II and hoped for a better life? It’s 2016 and we have public lashings… my heart hurts for civilisation doesn’t seem to be advancing… we are still living in the dark ages.
Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.
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