Thursday, December 22, 2005


Religious intolerance, there and here

Does this sound like a Muslim Pat Robertson? Sure does! Is there much of a difference? A lot less than one might think, considering distance, culture, and religion; it seems that the fascist mind appears everywhere. And America's "Christian" churchmen all too often echo the same attitudes as tyrants.

Tsunami Was God's Revenge for Your Wicked Ways, Women Told
By Nick Meo
The Times Online UK
Thursday 22 December 2005

Religious extremists are using last year's storm to oppress the survivors.

Aceh - Marluddin Jalil, a Sharia judge who has ordered the punishment of women for not wearing headscarves, was uncompromising: "The tsunami was because of the sins of the people of Aceh."

Thundering into a microphone at a gathering of wives, he made clear where he felt the fault lay: "The Holy Koran says that if women are good, then a country is good."

A year after the disaster which many see as a divine punishment, emboldened Islamic hardliners are doing their best to eradicate sin - and women are their prime targets.

With reconstruction slow, irrational fears of a second tsunami high, and nearly 500,000 still homeless along 500 miles of coastline, the stern message falls on fertile ground. A Sharia police force modelled on Saudi moral enforcers enthusiastically seeks out female wrong doers for public humiliation.

The Wilayatul Hisbah, which loosely translates as "Control Team", has arrested women, lopped off their hair, and paraded them in tears through the streets while broadcasting their sins over a megaphone.

More than 100 gamblers and drinkers - men and women - have been caned in public and some clerics are calling for thieves' hands to be amputated.

The Islamic law introduced without popular enthusiasm in 2002 has been implemented rigorously since the tsunami, especially in towns such as Lhokseumawe, where Fatimah Syam, of Indonesian Women for Legal Justice, knows of 20 women who have fallen foul of it.

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