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Elevating Law Above Religion

Despite the advancing nature of many aspects of modern society, there are occasionally instances of brutality or insensibility that belong in a past and less informed age. In the far more liberal and knowledgeable state of existence that we enjoy, the mere concepts of corporal punishment or public executions are simply abhorrent, and have no rightful place within the environment of a forward thinking civilization. Despite this, these activities still occur, and raise serious questions as to whether governments should do more to instruct and regulate religious practice.

The global community was saddened by recent incidents in Bangladesh, where a 14 year old girl lost her life after a public and particularly brutal flogging. After an allegation of adultery and seeking a physical relationship with a married man, the village elders in her small, rural parish passed a ruling and a religious ruling was passed by the local mosque. For this suggested and unproven act of immorality, she was sentenced to 101 lashes of a whip, collapsing after 70 and losing her life in hospital 1 week later.

A Judgement Without a Hearing

Bangladesh is considered to be a fairly temperate and democratic country, adopting contemporary values and a liberal method of rule towards it’s citizens. This, alongside the fact that the Supreme Court outlawed Fatwas and any relevance of religious jurisdiction over a decade ago, should suggest that instances such as this were consigned to an ugly and becoming fragment of history. However, it has been suggested that there have been more than 500 instances of such punishments for similar crimes within that time, but have remained covert as those afflicted have been loathe to upset their village elders or local religious leaders.

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