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.