Saturday, August 21, 2010

Justice tempered with mercy?

When I first heard the story a few days about a judge in Saudi Arabia asking if a hospital could damage a man’s spine so that he would be paralyzed, I thought I was dreaming. After I read it the second time, I realized it was no dream; rather it was the application of strict Islamic law which hands down punishments based on the ancient legal code of an eye-for-an-eye. Reports say the 22 year old victim was left paralyzed after a fight more than two years ago and asked a judge to impose an equivalent punishment on his attacker under Islamic law. The judge, in turn, asked at least two hospitals for a medical opinion on whether surgeons could render the attacker’s spinal cord non-functional.

I’m the first to admit that I don’t understand middle eastern cultures that encourage such things as honour killings, beheadings, jihads against infidels and so on … but I hope that most people would agree that this is wrong, wrong, wrong. It wasn’t that long ago in this country when we learned that capital punishment does no good and only results in state-sanctioned murder.

Surely, in the Quran where it is written “in the Messenger of Allah there is a good example to follow,” it can be interpreted as a call to move away from barbarism and towards a justice tempered with mercy.


Charlie said...

Yeah it caught one's attention alright - bizarre. Too bad their own holy book also left a lot of room for various interpretation. It's seems like the eye for an eye method of justice is easier than trying to get at the source of behaviour problems, and attempting positive change for criminals - who will still be among society, and loved ones too, and their lives to live.

ViewPoint2010 said...

To me, when I hear about something like this happening in Saudi, home to Mecca, I find it less difficult to believe those three guys they arrested in Toronto today are really on some sort of jihadic mission. We’ve done so many stupid things in the name of religion over the millennia – you’d think we would be capable of learning, but apparently not.