The Saudi Kingdom is back this week reminding people of the inherent extreme lunacy of theocratic legal systems. Saudi Arabia’s top religious authority Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh has proclaimed that cinemas and singing concerts are unIslamic and morally harmful. The Kingdom follows a medieval system of Sharia law and denies basic civil liberties to women, non-Muslims, political dissidents, and journalists. Cinemas and public concerts are already banned in the name of Islam in the Kingdom.
Charles Obong, 52, a deceased Ugandan government official, appeared to be quite concerned about being called to account for his life and actions. Accordingly, he instructed that at least $5,700 (roughly P280,000) be placed inside his casket as an “offertory” to forgive God for his sins and “save him from hell fire.” Given his view of not only the susceptibility or ease of bribing the Almighty, I expect he has good reason to be concerned. While I am still a bit confused of why the Almighty would want Ugandan dollars or where he would use the cash, such attempted bribes are generally viewed as beyond the reach of criminal codes — even ones with really really really long-arm jurisdiction.
We have previously discussed the plight of women and girls subject to Sharia law and extreme Muslim traditions of marriage. The nightmare faced by many women was captured in a horrific guide being distributed by in Turkey by former religious affairs department employee Hasan Caliskan. The guide supports the beating of women who do not “beautify” themselves, supports the marriage of 10-year-old girls, and advances absurd notions like the danger of having a stuttering child if a woman talks during sex.
Matt Krause is a deeply religious man who feels that people too easily divorce. That is clearly understandable view and probably speaks well of his own marriage. However, Krause is also a Texas state representative and wants to make that decision more difficult for his neighbors. He has introduced bills that should more divorces more expensive and more time-consuming and thus more difficult for couples to secure. This is a point where libertarians and some conservatives part ways. As someone with strong libertarian tendencies, I recoil at the government enforcing moral codes on a couples in making it difficult for them to divorce after they have made that difficult decision within her marriage or families. He would specifically bar no-fault divorces to protect the sanctity of marriage.
Republican Arkansas Rep. Micah Neal has pleaded guilty to a shocking bribery and kickback scheme involving Arkansas evangelical Ecclesia College, a tiny Bible college in Springdale. Neal is facing up to 20 years for taking $38,000 in bribes. The father of two ran on his credentials as a pro-life, conservative leader.
When one thinks of the countries without a separation of church and state, countries like Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia and others come readily to mind. It is often easy to forget that India struggles with the same issue as many call for the enforcement of core Hindi values. That was on display in Mewat, India when police raided roadside food stalls to confiscate beef and arrest anyone guilty of slaughtering a cow or selling the meat. This is a new local ordinance and violators can face 10 or 5 years respectively in jail.
As Afghanistan continues to reach accommodations with Taliban forces, another case illustrates vividly the extremist Islamic values advanced by the group. In the village in the Northern province of Sar-e pul, a 30-year-old woman was reportedly beheaded in the market by Taliban fighters. Her crime? She “went to the city alone without her husband.” Of course, as we discussed in another story today, our long-time ally Saudi Arabia continues to maintain the same medieval Islamic abuses in the treatment of women.