Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Sharia Law: a father cannot be executed for murdering his children
"JUSTICE": IN THE KINGDOM by Clifford F. Thies In Saudi Arabia, the human rights group “Women to Drive” is protesting the light sentence given a Muslim preacher for the torture, rape and murder of his five-year old daughter, on suspicion that she was not a virgin. According to various reports, (this one from dailynewsegypt.com) it is said that according to sharia law, a father cannot be executed for murdering his children, nor a husband for murdering his wives, as long as he is willing to pay "blood money" for the deaths. According to Jihad Watch, the following ruling is promulgated by orthodox Sunni Islam, a parent is "not subject to retaliation" (or, retribution) "for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." Jihad Watch attributes the worldwide epidemic in honor killings to the spread of Muslims worldwide. According to some Islamic scholars, honor killings predate all the major contemporary religions of the world, and are part of the common primitive, tribal and patriarchal prehistory of mankind. However, international surveys indicate that many Muslims believe their religion sanctions honor killings. The recent ruling from Saudi Arabia indicates honor killing continues to be countenanced by Muslim jurists in majority Muslim countries. As to the meaning of "blood money," it pertains to paying for the economic loss suffered by the victim or next of kin. According to the Talmud, in the case of a loss due to simple negligence, it is equal to three components: (A) medical expenses, (B) the loss of wages, and (C) the amount a person of similar status would pay to avoid the pain and suffering. In the case of a loss due to criminal negligence short of premeditated murder, the law of retribution ("eye for an eye") pertains, although the victim could exercise mercy and accept only blood money. In the case of premeditated murder, there can be no mercy. That there is a distinction between simple negligence (such as an industrial accident) and criminal negligence is made clear in Deuteronomy Chapter 19. The law of retribution is thus confined to crimes as opposed to mere torts; and even in the case of criminal negligence, mercy might be exercised. While we are on the subject of "eye for an eye," I will comment briefly of what Jesus had to say. He said "whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." (Matthew 5:39) Being hit on the right check is to be hit with the left or weak hand of the offender. It's a Jewish idiom for being insulted. Jesus said do not return insult for insult, but see if an actual harm follows. In my Army days, we put it this way, don't get into a pissing contest. (Somehow, I don't think Jesus would put it that way.) Why even school children know this. They say, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Getting back to the law retribution, we could say that a parent is presumed to love his children and, so, in the absence of strong evidence, will only be held liable for blood money when responsible for the death of a child. If sharia law merely establishes a refutable presumption, it would make sense. Indeed, if you think that both revelation and reason are witnesses to the truth, reason would guide your interpretation of the Koran. This is how conservative Jews approach the Bible. We say you have to realize the texts come from a culture and literary style where allegory, exaggeration, sarcasm and humor are often employed, even where there are degrees of "no." But, in Islam, the orthodox have been in charge for a long time now, and they almost insist that sharia law is to be followed even if it contradicts reason. I will conclude with a consideration of how faithful the Islamic scholars are the principle of restitution. As a forensic economist, I have numerous times offered my expert opinion to courts of law dealing with economic loss calculation. To be sure, I would adjust my calculation according to any specific information regarding the earnings potential or life expectancy of a particular person. In the absence of such information, I can only go by averages. Considering the per capita GDP of Saudi Arabia ($25,000), her work life expectancy (from 21 to 62), and the time value of money (at 6%), the economic loss suffered by the girl's death is approximately $400,000. Not the puny amount $50,000 that has been reported! Those who claim they are doing justice are liars. And that they claim to do justice in the Name of God, they are damn liars! The man who killed this girl should, according to sharia law, be sold into slavery if he cannot pay $400,000, even if it accepted that he killed the girl out of a simple negligence. But, it is obvious that more than simple negligence was involved.