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Thursday, December 28, 2006

It's Always Nice To Know Your Money Really Helps People

Tsunami Survivors Given The Lash
Disaster donations help Islamic vigilante force impose punishments on women

WHEN people around the world sent millions of pounds to help the stricken Indonesian province of Aceh after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, few could have imagined that their money would end up subsidising the lashing of women in public.

The scene is always the same, and it has been enacted at least 140 times in squares and market places in front of mosques, from the towering minarets of Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, to humble village places of worship.

The transgressor can be a man accused of gambling or drinking alcohol. But if it is a woman guilty of wearing “improper” clothing or being caught in proximity to a man, there is a particular ritual to the punishment.

She is dressed in white robes and veiled. Policemen escort her up on to a stage erected before a jeering crowd, which, witnesses say, is usually almost exclusively male.

Forced to kneel, the woman waits while a masked man ascends the platform. He is carrying a cane with a curved handle designed to give the inflictor of God’s punishment a better grip. From the loudspeakers, a man’s voice sonorously recites the appropriate religious chastisement. Then he begins to count. With each number, the cane descends with a vicious lash.

According to witnesses, male onlookers often roar in delight and hurl pious imprecations at the victims, working themselves up to a pitch of excitement.

In one collective punishment last summer, four women denounced for gambling were given between six and 10 lashes. One passed out as she was dragged off the stage.
What a lovely culture.

HT: The Religion of Peace

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