Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey calls on British Muslim leadersÂ to back the right to convert from Islam
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, has called on leading British Muslims to support the right to convert from Islam to another religion after a court in Sudan sentenced a woman to death for apostasy.
That, of course, is totally unislamic. It has nothing to do with Islam, if you listen to Islamic dissemblers like imam Rauf. Fortunately for us, Yusuf al Qaradawi tells the truth:
News from Sudanese barbarians:
Â Ms. Ibrahim – the wife of a U.S. citizen, who just gave birth while shackled in a filthy dungeon cell – is still scheduled to die for refusing to renounce Christianity, once she’s been given a little time to nurse her newborn daughter
Bricking is more civilised than stoning? (Tim Blair)
TheÂ New York TimesÂ reports:
A pregnant Pakistani woman was beaten to death by her family outside a courthouse in the eastern city of Lahore on Tuesday because she had defied their wishes and married the man of her choice, police officials said.
Police investigators said that the woman, Farzana Parveen, 25, was beaten to death on a busy street as a crowd of about 30 men watched, but did nothing.
And then come the excuses:
Honor killings in Pakistan are oftenÂ mistakenly described as the product of Islamic law. Some reports on Tuesday described Ms. Parveen as the victim of a stoning â€” an image that conjures up images of Taliban-era executions of women accused of adultery â€” because she had been beaten to death with bricks.
So it was a mere bricking, not a stoning. Far more civilised.
But such killings more frequently stem from tribal traditions or deep-rooted cultural norms.
These “norms” and “traditions” … might they possibly have some religious component? As theÂ TimesÂ itself notes, just a couple of paragraphs later:
Men who carry out the killings often escape imprisonment throughÂ an Islamic provision of Pakistani lawÂ that allows the perpetrator of a crime to avoid penalties by making a cash payment to the family of the victim.
Bit of a clue there.
More of the same:
Don’t blame Islam for Meriam’s awful fate
My taxi stopped on one of Khartoum’s busy main roads, close to the airport. We were stuck behind a cattle truck. Crammed into its trailer were not cows on their way to market, however, but a herd of very frightened women. The driver hopped down on to the pavement, grabbed a startled female pedestrian and roughly hauled her aboard.
My fixer, Al Siir, explained what was happening: none of the women was wearing a headscarf. Under Sudan’s Islamic law they would be rounded up, whipped and then released. Never mind that most were Christians from Ethiopia or what would soon become South Sudan. Never mind that they should have been exempt from Sharia. They all faced punishment for going uncovered.
I had forgotten about that old episode until the news unfolded of Meriam Ibrahim’s miserable fate. Sentenced to death supposedly for giving up Islam and converting to Christianity, she gave birth to a baby daughter in prison while wearing shackles. Just like those women in the truck, the charge was a sham. She had never lived as a Muslim so should not have been accused of apostasy. But she may have got lucky. Unlike thousands of prisoners in Sudan, her case made international headlines. She was soon made a poster girl for the world’s persecuted Christians, quickly begetting a hashtag – #SaveMeriam – the sign of a very modern protest.
And now, it seems, Khartoum has listened. President Omar al-Bashir, himself wanted for war crimes, has taken a close interest in the case. The process has now begun for her release, though it may take a long time. It will not be easy in a country where a growing religious Right will push back against perceptions of Western interference. But I am told by a senior government adviser that clerics are being consulted to help draw up a religious escape route. It would be a face-saving deal to allow a mother to walk free after an appeal to a higher court.
It would be a common-sense outcome to a case that never should come have this far. For many, the question is how Christians can be protected against similar attack amid growing religious intolerance: from Nigeria, where Boko Haram is spreading its brutal writ, to Pakistan, where conservative clerics denounce minorities. But that misses the point. Dig beneath the surface and the villain, for the umpteenth time, turns out not to be Islam or Sharia. It is not even the government of Sudan (who are no angels). Once again it is an angry Muslim with a grudge. And, as almost always, it is a man.
Consider another case in Sudan. Remember the Teddy Bear Teacher, Gillian Gibbons? She was the British woman sentenced to 15 days in prison after her class of six-year-olds named a teddy bear Mohammed. She was eventually pardoned (after a round of religious consultations, similar to those under way now), and once the dust settled it emerged that she was the victim of a feud.
In Pakistan, my home now, the same thing happens all the time, albeit without the happy ending. Shout blasphemy and no one dares investigate too closely. Property dispute? Daughter married without your permission? Simply accuse your neighbour of defaming the Prophet and said neighbour will quickly disappear – either into prison or into a baying mob.Islamic law is being abused by the impious and the hypocritical. To these pseudo-believers, it is simply another tool to be used to keep women in their place or foreigners in line.
That is exactly what happened to Meriam. A half-brother apparently furious that she had gone her own way, choosing her own husband and planning to emigrate to America, was simply not going to allow it. He cried “apostasy” and accused her of converting to Christianity, despite the fact that she had never lived as a Muslim.
Her fate was sealed not because she was a Christian but because she was a woman in a culture where women have little value beyond their worth as a wife. Religion is not the cause but rather the means with which to maintain a backward way of life.
So while it is tempting to blame Sudan or Islam itself for Meriam’s treatment, the real problem is the abuse of such laws by her half-brother and all those people who want to use religion for personal gain.Inevitably, some Christian campaigners and those with a grudge against Islam are using the case to call for sanctions, or at least an end to British taxpayers’ money being given to such regimes as aid.
However, tackling the problem should not mean turning our backs on Sudan, Pakistan and the like. Such arguments overlook the fact that these countries are struggling to keep the hardliners from power. It would condemn women like Meriam to suffer out of sight. The answer lies in deeper engagement, not less, backing aid efforts that seek to reform the police and justice systems, while putting women’s rights at the centre of everything.
This is clearly delusional drivel. Poor Rob just doesn’t get it. Or is he converted already?
Of course the apostasy law is a disgrace. It has no place in a civilised country. But shouting and screaming at Khartoum to ditch it will get us nowhere. The problem is not Islam, but the brothers and fathers prepared to take its name in vain.
Rob Crilly is the author of ‘Saving Darfur’ (Reportage Press)