Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh seem to be vying for which country is the most repressive in the application of Islamic Sharia law. The Saudi courts have ordered a Filipino woman to be lashed 100 times after she was raped. The Bangladesh courts outdid their Saudi counterparts and ordered a girl lashed 101 times for being raped. At what point does the Obama Administration publicly denounce these countries for systemic human rights violations against women?
In Saudi Arabia, the Filipino woman (known in the media as “Camille”) has been held in prison since September 2009. Camille, 35, worked as a janitor to support three children and was raped by a Bangladeshi coworker in August. Because any sex outside of marriage is unlawful, she did not report the rape. She was trying to go back to the Philippines when a mandatory medical exam revealed that she was pregnant. She was jailed for having an “illicit affair” and miscarried while in prison. While pregnant, she could not be flogged under Sharia law. So, now that she miscarried in jail, Saudi Arabia is free to flog her for being raped.
Camille got a slightly lighter sentence than a girl in Bangladesh. The sixteen-year-old girl was raped by a 20-year-old man in her village. Given the shame of being raped in this culture, she did not report the rape and was quickly married off. However, she was later found to be pregnant and was divorced.
Muslim clerics issued a fatwa that kept the girl in seclusion until her family agreed to punish her with flogging for being raped. In the meantime, the same elders pardoned the rapist.
Reporting rapes can bring their own risks. These outrageous cases follow a case out of Dubai where an English tourist was jailed after reporting her rape at a hotel when authorities learned she was sharing a room with her fiance, here.
For the Saudi story, click here.
For the Bangladesh story, click here.