Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Law of Sharia

” A Woman's Plight….”

Early in December of 2001, a Sharia religious court of appeal in Muslim-dominated northwestNigeria ordered a stay of execution for a woman who had been sentenced by a lower court to be stoned to death for having sex outside of marriage. The woman contended that she had been raped. The court granted the stay to allow Safiya Hussaini, 33, to appeal her sentence by a lower Sharia court in the state of Sokoto. The woman is a divorced mother with five children who would be orphaned and probably perish if the execution were carried out.

The court imposed the sentence after Hussaini asked it to compel a man to pay for her infant daughter's naming ceremony. She charged he had raped her three times and impregnated her.When she charged the man with rape, the court dismissed the charges against him, citing a lack of evidence because she was the sole witness. After dismissing the rape charge against the man, the lower Sharia court then charged the woman with adultery and sentenced her to death in mid-October. She was given thirty days to appeal. According to Sura 2:282 of the Qur’an, the testimony of a woman is equal to only half the testimony of a man, so Hussaini's appeal will automatically be trumped by the rapist's counter-charge.

Hussaini was sentenced to death because she was divorced. Had she never been married, the sentence would only have been one hundred lashes. The fate of her five children, of course, was of no concern to the religious court.

The Nigerian federal government has said it will not allow the sentence to be carried out, but officials in Sokoto indicated that the federal government had not contacted them about the up-coming stoning. Nigeria is not yet "One Nation Under God," since Sharia has been imposed on less than a half of its 36 states. More than a thousand people have lost their lives in riots protesting the introduction of religious law


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