Smokin’ Sharia: Men Sentenced to Prison for Lighting Up During Ramadan

250px-zwei_zigarettenAlgeria’s highest court (in a country supposedly committed to secular values) has imposed prison sentences on three men caught smoking during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. In a purported triumph of the rule of law, the Algiers appeals court reduced the prison sentence from three years to two months. However, the men were still convicted for “offending religion.”

The men were construction workers and have been detained since Sept. 21 for lighting up.

No law in Algeria explicitly bars people from eating, drinking, smoking or otherwise breaking the daytime fast during Islam’s holy month.

One can only imagine if they were Virginia Slims with the added offense of a slogan like “It’s a Woman’s Thing: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” — though “I’d walk a mile for a Camel” might be more appealing in the desert region.

For the full story, click here.

One thought on “Smokin’ Sharia: Men Sentenced to Prison for Lighting Up During Ramadan”

  1. I do think Mike and others are correct to say relgious authorities use religion to increase their own power. I also think there are seeds within religion itself that sets up the abuse of power by religious authorities and their followers.

    First, not always, but most of the time, religions ask people to believe things that don’t square with experience. Actually lived experience is 1. either directly denied/ridiculed (ie:”the fossils don’t lie!”, one of my personal favorites from an earlier post), the earth is 4000 years old etc.), we create our own reality, and so on or 2. experience is explained in a way that closes off close examination and alternative explanations that might contradict the religion. So, in many eastern religions and the western new age a common theme is that people are sick and poor etc. due to past life bad karma. In christianity, it might be god’s punishment for sin that caused the earthquake. As long as there’s no outside challenge to the relgious ideology, then thought is squelched. For example, why is being sick or poor a sign of bad karma? These are two things our society looks down on, but can’t we question if it makes sense to do so? What is wrong with being sick or poor? What is right about being healthy and rich? Are any of these corrorlaries to being good peple who try to live a good life?

    What really causes earthquakes, besides gay people? If we are allowed to investigate and understand earthquakes, we have a chance of adequate warning to minimize loss of life as well as no need to blame the innocent for their occurance. Why bother if it’s just god’s will, bad karma, etc.

    Is the earth 4000 years old? What kind of knowledge are we missing when we are forced to ignore evidence and “just believe”.

    So I think this contortion of reality to fit religious ideology is a set up that prevents people from thinking for themselves. It’s part of what allows dumb, destructive, cruel behavior to be performed by well meaning believers.

    There is also the problem of spiritual “leaders” who tell others what is right and wrong, again removing the need for examination of one’s own conscience. This leads directly to the destructive actions based on religious ideology. Please note***I also believe it occurs in secular systems set up on the same model.

Comments are closed.