What price would you pay for Peace?

>> February 16, 2009

If anyone had been watching me as I watched the news this afternoon, you might have seen smoke fuming from my ears, or my eyes bulging out of my head: I was so angry. This is the headline I saw: Pakistani government does deal with Taliban on sharia law. I wanted to scream WHAT?! back at CNN's Campbell Brown (although I do know that she wouldn't hear me). It still makes me so mad.

First let me explain a little about Sharia law, I got the following information from this website:

Sharia Law - source and definitions:

The term "Sharia" (a.k.a. Shari'a) literally means "the path to a watering hole." The Guardian newspaper in the UK describes Sharia as: "... a religious code for living, in the same way that the Bible offers a moral system for Christians."

Within Sharia law, there are a group of "Haram" offenses which carry severe punishments. These include pre-marital sexual intercourse, sex by divorced persons, post-marital sex, adultery, false accusation of unlawful intercourse, drinking alcohol, theft, and highway robbery. Haram sexual offenses can carry a sentence of stoning to death or severe flogging. An eyewitness account of Soraya M, a woman executed by stoning, can be read on an anti-Iranian web site. Caution: do not read this if you have a weak stomach; it is quite graphic.

London's, The Independent ran an article today about the Pakistani Sharia Law entitled, Sharia law is the price of peace in Pakistan. The price for peace?? I'm not sure I think that Sharia law is a "good price" for peace. Who does this really help?? Does it really outweigh who it hurts?

This so called deal occurred in the North West Frontier Province (aka as SWAT: South Waziristan), where the Taliban have been terrorizing the area, with beheadings, rapes, and out right violence - mostly targeting women, notably girls' schools. I can see how you would want to stop that violence. Stop that terror. No one deserves to live like that. However, isn't anyone reminded of what happened in Afghanistan? I remember when the Taliban was just a group that needed to be appeased in Afghanistan. That didn't exactly end well. And lest we've forgotten, North West Frontier Province, SWAT, oh yeah, that's the province with the sketchy border with Afghanistan. That place that former President Musharraf basically handed over to the Taliban in the area. Isn't that nice?

From the CNN article, this Pakistani professor, Khamid Hussain, makes a good point:

Khadim Hussain, a professor Bahria University in Islamabad who studies Pakistani politics, said the government has effectively surrendered the areas to the Taliban, thereby setting the stage for two contradictory, parallel states in North West Frontier Province.

"If you leave them like that and you give ... a semblance of peace in a particular area, what does that mean?" Hussain said. "It means you're capitulating. It means you're surrendering the state to them. It means your submitting the state authority to them because they are running a parallel state."

He said the government's decision amounts to a marriage of convenience made under duress.
And of course this all happens when President Obama's envoy to the region, Richard Holbrooke, is on his way to Pakistan - he's currently in India. That couldn't be just a simple coincidence. Could it?

Modern countries currently practicing varying forms of Sharia Law:
  • India: has a dual system, with both secular and religious courts
  • The Philippines: also has a dual system of secular and religious courts
  • Saudi Arabia: Religious Police
  • Iran: Religious Police
  • Libya: National laws predominantly influenced by Sharia
  • Sudan*: National laws predominantly influenced by Sharia
  • Nigeria: has newly reintroduced harsh punishments, such as:
    • amputations of one or both hands for theft
    • stoning for adultery and apostasy
* like I needed another reason to hate the Sudanese government. (see here)

Sharia Law is considered barbaric and cruel by the European Court of Human Rights. But sure, the U.S. will still be allies with Pakistan. Giving them money. Weapons. Anything else you'd like? I mean, I am all for keeping the diplomacy door open, but this just makes me want to hurl. Yuck.

One last thing, see this blog: http://womenagainstshariah.blogspot.com/ for an interesting read.

He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.

~ Benjamin Franklin


Daisee February 17, 2009 at 12:04 AM  

Nikki, this is just horrible. Those poor women! Men there are so weak that they have to do this to women! What can be done to change this? Sanctions? Doesn't that usually hurt the poor people that are suffering? We can't go to war. Are they just living in a different time and they haven't gotten the idea of freedom?

Nicole Elkington February 17, 2009 at 8:30 AM  

Yeah. It's not good. I don't know what the answer is, but I don't think it's a good idea to just do whatever the Taliban want. And it's not just the women that will feel the brunt of Sharia law either, there are rules many Islamic men don't want to follow either.

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