The Crimes and Punishment of Apostasy and Adultery

Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese doctor who married a Christian man in 2011, was convicted last week on charges of apostasy.  While Ibrahim has a Muslim father, she appears to have been raised Christian. Apostasy implies conversion, but as Ibrahim reportedly told the judge, "I am a Christian and I never committed apostasy.” By her account, Ibrahim has always considered herself to be Christian, raising the question of what it means for a court to be using “Islamic law” to sentence her when its basis for … [Read more...]

The “Limit of Tolerance” of a white, privileged, non-Muslim man

I wrote a post last week on the flogging that took place in Pakistan's Swat Valley and my thoughts on the video. This week, Randy Cohen, a columnist for The New York Times, wrote a piece on the ethics of what took place in Pakistan, as well as the recent law proposed in Afghanistan. While I thought the premise of the essay was not terribly bad ("what do we deem to be tolerable and intolerable?"), the angle at which Cohen looked at the flogging and Muslim women in general had an air of white … [Read more...]

Mixing up the message on Islamic law

You know that game called "broken telephone" (it goes by other names too, I think), where one person whispers a message in someone's ear, who whispers it to someone else, and so on, and by the time it reaches the last person, it gets a bit warped? That's probably a pretty good analogy for what the media does on a regular basis. This week, Robert Verkaik, Law Editor for The Independent, plays telephone with the law lords of Britain.First, the headline: "Court rules Islamic law … [Read more...]