Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ burqas « Why Evolution Is True

Today’s Jesus and Mo strip, called “safer”, came with the email note, “Burka time again.”

Mo spouts the usual faith-kissing jargon, while Jesus makes some good points about the “protection” of the burqa.  As far as conviction for rape is concerned, most people think that sharia law requires that a conviction of rape requires the testimony of four witnesses is required for a rape conviction, but there’s confusion about this, and some Islamic scholars say the “four witness” rule is for adultery. It appears, though that that rule has been applied for rape, which is a capital crime under Islamic law.  A confession and other forensic evidence, however, will suffice.

But there’s no denying that rape victims in Islamic countries have been punished under the assumption that they must have been willing participants, that it was really a case of adultery or that they have dishonored the family. Such women are often punished or killed in “honor attacks.”

The site The Jurist says this about rape, and its mitigation through marriage, but I can’t vouch for its veracity. Perhaps readers know more:

Criminal Codes of IraqSyria [Arabic] [pdf], Lebanon [Arabic] [pdf], Libya [Arabic] [pdf], Kuwait [Arabic] [pdf], Bahrain [pdf], Algeria [Arabic] [pdf], Tunisia [Arabic] [pdf] and the Palestinian Territories provide that if the offender of rape lawfully marries the victim, any action becomes void and any investigation or other procedure is discontinued and, if a sentence has already been passed in respect of such action, then the sentence will be repealed.

The logic behind this law is to protect, though not the victim, rather the reputation of the victim in the society where she lives after her honor has been wounded. The honor of a woman is defined by her chastity, and when she is raped she is stigmatized and no longer marriageable. Hence, a marriage to her rapist is perceived as a solution to this problem and an exit from shame that is suitable to the society. This way her family needs not to feel dishonored or, in many cases, the need to seek vengeance-honor crime. Therefore, better than leaving girls shamed, unmarriageable and dishonored or to be killed by their families or relatives the law protects the girls by forcing attackers to marry them. As a result, such legal system legitimizes rape if it was followed by marriage, rewards the rapist and, in fact, allows him to continue his act. Also, the law ignores any redress for the victim, which should be the aim of the law at the first place. Further, it gets its legitimacy from the concept of shame, and prioritizes wrongful social customs over principles of protecting women and their right, as citizens and humans, to live safely with the protection of law and society.

And apparently the “four witness” rule is applies in some places.

Further judicial drawback to already troubling laws regarding rape is the burden of proof. For a rape conviction to actually be handed down, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Qatar and Mauritania laws mandate either a confession from the rapist or a witness account from four adult males

This high bar for conviction guarantees that many rapists will get off, and the victim perhaps punished or even killed. The treatment of women under Islamic law is often oppressive and barbaric. And that’s what Mo reveals in the last panel.


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