To the Judges of Qatif

Explain to me how it is just to punish a 19 year old woman who was gang raped by 7 men with 200 lashes and 6 months in prison? After an appeal - four of the rapists got off with 5-10 year sentences for their heinous crime. The three others must have been really well connected - they are still awaiting sentencing. Most of the rapists were married and had families of their own. Excuse my ignorance, but shouldn’t they have had the death sentence according to Sharia law?

Exactly what texts and references are these judges using – because honestly – I have no idea what and who they represent. It is an insult to me that they call themselves Islamic judges.

What kind of society punishes a victim of such an appalling crime?

Shame on the judges of Qatif. Their absolute rejection of the rights and value of women is frightening to me. They chose to humiliate the victim rather than punish the perpetrators. This is purely tribal law, in no way does this reflect the values of Islam. I wish someone somewhere can hold these judges accountable.

Sadly, this is a replay of Mukhtara’s story, the young woman from Pakistan that was raped by order of a tribal court. When are we as Muslims and as civilized human beings going to stand up and say enough? Its almost as if we are back in the Jahiliyah days when they used to bury their girls alive.

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About Lena Alhusseini

Ms. Alhusseini joined the Arab American Family Support Center as Executive Director in April 06 after a number of years at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), where she served as international outreach project manager on issues of child protection, abduction and child trafficking. Prior to joining NCMEC, Alhusseini worked for the Gateway Battered Women’s Shelter in Denver, Colorado where she developed the Shelter’s children’s program and worked with immigrant populations including Arab-American women and children. Before coming to the U.S., Alhusseini served with a number of international organizations around the world on issues pertaining to child protection and human trafficking, including USAID and UNICEF. Most notably, she established the Jordan River Foundation’s child protection unit under the direction of HM Queen Rania Al Abdullah. That organization was the first in Jordan to address the issue of child abuse. Born in Jerusalem and raised in Saudi Arabia and the UK, Alhusseini is of Palestinian origin.

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