August 13, 2009

Under the Sharia Law

In case you were in doubt as to whether or not the world is a village, you should pay attention to this post. The author, who is a regular contributor of Wind Rose Hotel, is an Anglo-Scottish artist living in France (and speaking a little Italian) who happened to be on vacation in Italy last July. During his time over here he used to be a regular reader of the Corriere della Sera newspaper, in which on July 23 he happened to read a sharply critical article (in Italian) about the fact that, for the sake of multicultural integration and “with the incredible support of the seemingly unenlightened Archbishop of Canterbury and the Supreme Judicial Authorities of England,” the application of the Sharia as a parallel institution of law had been authorized in Great Britain some months ago (at least 85 Islamic sharia courts are already operating in Britain).

In his post Mirino wonders “if the legal authorities of Great Britain ever took time out to fully inform themselves of what Sharia law consists of.” This, in Mirino’s opinion, “applies equally to Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Shouldn’t he be more supportive towards the principles of the religion he’s supposed to represent, and less concerned by pre-medieval Islamic laws that seem more prone to advocate intolerance?”

There is no need to say that I strongly agree with him. If it’s not already “too late,” he concludes,

to prohibit the application of Sharia law in Great Britain, and to encourage Muslims who wish to live according to Islamic law and Islamic values to return to where these are naturally more fully adhered to and respected, then it would seem primordial to do so without delay.

It could otherwise be that certain eminent, Right Honourable, robed, wigged, absent-minded and short-sighted lords of British justice have inadvertently lit the fuse to an Islamic time bomb destined to be more explosive than anything since the signing of the Magna Carta.

In the meantime it would be useful to know that more and more non-Muslims in Britain are going to Sharia court seeking judgment for legal matters. Of course critics are worrying that, by accepting Sharia courts as a convenience, the British public is clearing the way for the greater infiltration of Islamic law into their system, irrevocably changing it.. No need to say that I agree with them.


  1. What's being applied in Britain and was initially supported by Rev Williams, is not the full corpus of Sharia law
    It's just some element of commercial and family law which are not covered by the law of land
    They're not meant to be a parallel set of laws in the sense the British Muslim skips the ordinary law, rather a complement, so they will have abide by the law of land plus this minor body of laws
    The Times last year launched a massive campaign against the idea, trying to mislead its readers by scaring them
    It's part of a general battle started in Europe by some groups which oppose the idea of multiculturalism and it's run by media they can lean on
    There's no chance to see corporal punishments in a western country if it's against the law of land
    Islam doesn't ask for that

  2. It's introduction will fuel the coming backlash against Islam in Britain...nothing to do with denying multiculturalism.

  3. Balqis' comment is interesting and most plausible, however it's hard to believe that there are any elements of law which British justice is unable to deal with. One would tend to believe that the opposite is the case as British law has evolved constantly throughout history, also for the sake of necessity, whereas Sharia law, in principle and in respect of its sacred foundation, has not.

    If any element of Sharia law is allowed, reason dictates that other elements of the law will be gradually implemented. Muslims who want to live according to the laws of the Sharia wouldn't expect anything less. To try to prevent this development would be like trying to stop the tide from rising.

    This opinion is also based on the understanding that it's a Muslim duty to impose Islam, its values, which naturally include its law, wherever possible. Additionally It's based on the general rise in Islamic fundamentalism, the real menace that this
    represents, and the fact that Sharia law is incompatible with the principles of democracy.

  4. It's not a Muslim duty to impose Islam and am not giving a sugarcoated answer, preventing your next observation :P
    The Muslim [according to the greatest majority of the school of Islamic jurisprudence] is in an abode of Islam as long as he is allowed to practice his religion and if not, then he must migrate
    Of course the extremists version is quite different, here is the challenge for western governments : to work on educating people to the fact that there's no contradiction between living in a western environment and belonging to its culture [as time goes by, there will be more of us Western muslims, rather than immigrants]to avoid extremist thoughts
    That's the meaning of integration

  5. @ Balqis

    “It's not a Muslim duty to impose Islam”

    This is a very controversial issue, isn’t it…? ;-)

    …”here is the challenge for western governments : to work on educating people to the fact that there's no contradiction between living in a western environment and belonging to its culture …”

    Correct, but this is not what is generally called “multiculturalism,” which is aimed at recognizing and allowing members of distinct groups within a certain society to celebrate and maintain their different cultures. And that’s why I am against multiculturalism though not by any means hostile to a multi-ethnic society—which is already a fact in most Western countries. Furthermore, I would like to know what is the challenge, in your opinion, for Muslim people living in Western countries …

    “[as time goes by, there will be more of us Western muslims, rather than immigrants]”

    Do you really think so, and, above all, what makes you think so?

  6. It's understandable that many moderate Muslims would welcome such an arrangement in order to continue to live in a democratic environment without feeling that they are over abandoning their culture and values. Everyone is
    perfectly free to practice his or her religion in such an environment, but surely the law should be solely constituent to the host country.

    The danger of allowing the practice of Sharia law in a democratic country wouldn't necessarily come from 'moderate Muslims' - assuming 'moderate Muslims' have 'the right to exist as such', and they wouldn't want a clash of cultures, laws and values. The danger would come from fundamentalists whose objective is to impose Islam in an increasingly rigourous way. Once the Sharia courts are thus set up in a democratic nation, what guaranty is there that these courts will always bend to national law regarding serious crime, and will always be controlled by 'moderate Muslims'? Trust on such a basis would seem to be flimsy in a world where there is an increasing danger from Islamic fundamentalists as well as the Mafioso pressure fundamentalist organisations can exert to corrupt Muslim institutions.

    It's agreed that there's a great need to reduce the 'contradiction' between the Western and Muslim world, but this cannot be done without greater efforts and commitments from the Muslim authorities to adapt their culture, laws and values more to the democratic world. If this 'revision' isn't established internationally, then Sharia law, for example, will remain open to political abuse.

    Some Sharia laws are totally unacceptable and illegal in democratic countries. As Mirino pointed out in his article, certain undemocratic terms and conditions can hardly be considered just by modern, legal standards. If in Iran the Sharia can be used as a political weapon, if there are such incredible loop holes to be exploited, then what is there to stop any so called Muslim authority from eventually exploiting them in a democratic country that has granted the practice of Sharia law for the sake of multiculturalism?

  7. This is a very controversial issue, isn’t it…?

    Not really
    Muslims have always fought back
    What we call today radicals or extremists, simply hold a literalist interpretation of the texts

    I would like to know what is the challenge, in your opinion, for Muslim people living in Western countries …

    To explain to western people that they don't want to chop heads or build a caliphate

    Do you really think so, and, above all, what makes you think so?

    It's four years I left Europe and I follow only through media, but the number of converts is growing
    It's with these people that governments must deal with
    They must respect them same as they have to respect the law of land

  8. To Balqis
    By controversial issue I think Rob is also referring to the fact that many Muslims categorically believe that it's their duty to try to convince 'infidels' to adopt the religion and way of life of Islam, if not to try to impose this whenever and wherever possible.

    If you are a Muslim it would be very interesting to know if you think that Sharia law could and should be revised, modernised and democratised to accord more to legal and social requirements of the present century, especially as you have expressed belief that the Occident should learn to adapt itself to Islamic laws and values.

    Do you think, for example, that burying women to their necks and stoning them to death with rocks (not too large nor too small) should be maintained as a capital punishment for 'alleged adultery' (depending on evidence supplied by three men)? Is it in your view legally correct that the family of a victim should decide whether the person 'alleged' to have killed a member of their family should be convicted or pardoned? Should those found guilty of stealing have one of their hands cut off? Should all drug offences be punishable by death? Should, in your opinion homosexuality be considered a capital crime?
    There are of course other examples
    that you would be more aware of than any 'infidel'.
    Thanks in advance for your opinion on this.

  9. Mirino

    I very well understood what Rob meant and I explained to him that the extremists' version [because this is what we are talking about] derives from a wrong interpretation of the scriptures
    Our religion is based on texts, hence they can be interpreted
    A literalist reading, which doesn't take into account the historical period and the conditions in which Quranic verses or the the words of the Prophet were pronounced and keeps them separated, leads to a wrong understanding of the Islamic message
    Religion must be not imposed under compulsion, but we have to invite people

    As I said, Sharia law in toto, cannot and must not be introduced in Western countries because the religion of the state there is not Islam
    The basic principle of Sharia is that it rules over a Muslim nation, hence the laws are derived from religion
    There are some elements which need to be introduced to cover issues that the law of land does not and this are mainly of commercial natural or about family right

    The issue of the corporal punishments must be understood in this perspective :
    a Muslim nation is guided by Islamic principles and in our religion adultery and homosexuality are forbidden
    When adultery is perpetrated by a married person, the punishment [stoning] is even harsher than the one for the unmarried [80/100 lashes] for the simple reason that the family is the core of the Muslim society
    A person betraying the partner is betraying the entire nation as well
    And this applies to other crimes
    The punishment goes with the gravity of the act
    It's indeed a difficult topic to understand for a person living in a secular country if they keep on judging it through their own schemes
    The problem is not Sharia itself
    There's no need to modernize or adapt it because Islam final message is valid for all times and places
    When the law enforcement doesn't work, that happens because of a wrong or forced interpretation
    In countries like Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan the problem is with the poverty, corruption and little education of people and institutions
    This leads to interpret Sharia as they like but not as it is
    If for example, the rule of the four witnesses was respected to the letter, there would be few or no execution
    In how many cases of illicit relations, the penetration can be witnessed by 4 persons ?
    But for a husband who's been cheated, it's enough to pay four guys to go to court and declare they witnessed the act

  10. Thank you for your response Balqis. For exactly the reasons you have outlined, Sharia law should never- and in principle can never- be introduced as a parallel law in a democratic nation governed by its elected parliament and subject to its own constitutional laws.

  11. Balqis

    As your answer is sincere, perhaps I should again underline why in my view Sharia law is incompatible with democratic, constitutional law, referring to your comments.

    Homosexuality cannot be regarded as a crime because although it shouldn't be considered normal, it is nevertheless a natural development in certain people which they have no choice but to come to terms with. To treat such a phenomenon as old as civilisation itself as criminal offence, is not a positive way of curing it. Such
    persecution only makes things far worse. There has always been a great deal of hypocrisy regarding homosexuality in Muslim states.

    That a woman risks being stoned to death for falling in love with another man is also totally unacceptable for non Muslims.

    I don't believe that any 'God' worthy of being considered so would decree that women are inferior to men and should be treated as such. This discrimination is becoming increasingly unacceptable to many Muslim women as well.

    I don't believe that the crime of one person is the crime of his or her family and by extension the crime of the nation. If this was interpreted literally every nation would end up in the bowels of hell.

    The fact that four (I thought three) male witnesses are required to sentence a woman to death for alledged adultery, is an example of an exploitable loop hole should ever one want to do away with one's wife.
    The same applies to the Sharia law that allows the family of a victim to decide on the fate of the person judged, correctly or incorrectly, as the assassin.
    In both the above cases, one of which you point out yourself, the desired result can be purchased for personal, as well as political reasons. We have clearly seen cases of this recently in Iran. It has nothing to do with constitutional law governed by the principles of democracy.

  12. Am not an expert in fiqh Islamic jurisprudence but as far as I know it's not the family of the deceased to decide whether the person accused is a killer or not
    They have the power to accept diyya blood money to save the life of the killer, and as indicated by the Quran, the first option must be forgiveness
    The crime is punished as thus because it's an act of treachery against the nation, that's how adultery is seen
    Every one in Islam is responsible for his/her own actions and for me, homosexuality is an abomination
    After God sent prophet Lut to his people to warn them against such an action, we cannot indulge in it
    I know that these acts are not permissable also in other religions, but as I said, they're not considered crimes in societies where [at least on papers] religion is not source of law

  13. Re the principle of the victim's family having the final say, I completely agree with you, but as I understand this aspect of Sharia law referred to, when the accused is found guilty in a Sharia law court , the family of the criminal's victim can either pardon or condemn him or her, to death if such was decreed by the trial. This would be an enormous loop-hole by modern, democratic law standards.

    As the science of medicine evolves through the discoveries of new cures to treat new viruses and illnesses, so modern law evolves through the handling of new cases of criminality, such as high finance fraud. Previously unseen loop-holes are thus discovered and eliminated.
    When such flaws in law exist, then equally will exist the temptation to exploit them, as history teaches us.

    As you also state, in principle and by definition Sharia law cannot evolve. It thus refers to the period when it was originally established.

    With great respect to Muhammad, understandably he would never have be able to come to terms with computer technology, at least not without revising entirely his teachings and his prophesies.
    And, as another example, 'clin d'œil', considering the defence capacity of Israel, he might also have had second thoughts today about encouraging his people to try to eliminate the Israelis..

  14. Sharia law is not made only by taking Quranic verses or hadeeth [sayings of the Prophet] and applying them blindly
    It's a science made by various branches which allow the application of the universal principles to the social context :
    maslaha [preservation of the common good]
    ijtihad [inferring rules from the sources and implementing to particular cases]
    fatwa [legal opinion]
    In all this process the reasoning for analogy, knowing the historical, social and political context, is essential
    From my point of view, sharia changes, meaning that it can be applied to every single case
    What you mean by changing, I assume, is that given the times, maybe morals change so sins can be judged and punished in a lighter way
    Well that's wrong
    A premarital sexual relation or an illicit one out of marriage, are still unethical, and in a Muslim country they undermine the stability of the society
    You always talk about principles of democracy as if it was a standard scheme
    It's not like that
    There are many democratic models

  15. Perhaps we all have ideals of what democracy should be.

    Your response is most interesting. But because there was no love lost between the Prophet and the Jews when they refused his invitation to be converted to Islam, their religion being more ancient, this of course established a precedent. This has since been used by the Muslims across the ages as a pretext against the Jewish people also in the eternal squabble over the Holy Land.

    If Abraham was the father of the three monotheist religions, then the Jews, Muslims and Christians being the children of Abraham are also the children of Israel. This would mean they all have the right and should be able to share the Holy Land (at least symbolically as understandably there is, or will be, a shortage of territory).

    The fact that fundamentalists use the sayings of the Prophet and the Quranic verses
    to justify criminal actions, suggests the urgent need that Muslim authorities should redefine Islam to prevent this abuse.

    Perhaps Sharia can be applied to every law issue, in the same way as one can simplify every moral issue on a religious basis, but there has to be an evolution to the code of morals as well. For example, homosexuality is more a condition than a crime. Obliging a women to marry a man she doesn't love could be considered as immoral as an illicit relationship out of marriage. In the former case basically the woman is being raped, whereas in the latter case women consent (ideally) out of love.

    What we are really talking about is tolerance, and if, as you state, Islam is not the literal application of the Quern verses or sayings of the Prophet, then perhaps there could and should be more room for tolerance, certainly under certain circumstances (eg. when young girls demand divorce having been forced against their will into marriage, when married women are ill treated by their husbands, or have simply fallen in love with another person and seek divorce, all of which can be resumed basically as according women their rights).

    It may be thought that there are different models of democracy, but there can't be different models of its principle. The idea of a jury, a cross section of society chosen at random to deliberate over the findings of court proceedings, is based on the principles of democracy. The family of the victim, or the angry husband who alleges being betrayed, would certainly never figure in such a jury which naturally has to be impartial and objective to be able to decide unanimously on the just verdict.

  16. To me there's a basic code of morals which will never change
    This is why I find no contradiction in my European culture and I see my road from Catholicism to Islam, quite a natural passage
    But again, the difference lies on the significance that the religion has in a Muslim society
    As long as the punishment is fit for the crime [and Islam covers not only the spiritual aspect but also the socio-political, hence the difference], then is fair
    A religion must be just and Islam is, if seen in perspective
    Sharia applied to a western society, wouldn't make sense
    We don't need to redefine Islam : we need to reform it, which means to re-interpret the texts and see if we can come to different conclusions
    That is subject of discussion among scholars
    In Islam is not allowed to force a woman to marry a man she doesn't love
    Her consent is needed but again, culture comes in the games : arranged marriages are abused
    No where is written that a girl must be married at the age of 7-8
    The Prophet did it and it was normal for his time
    Yet people in places like Yemen or Afghanistan do it to catch the dowry
    They go to the office to register the marriage contract but the officer doesn't bother to check if the signature of the girl is original and the age declared [for those countries where law requires minimum age] is real
    I was watching an interesting interview of Pietrangelo Buttafuoco some days ago promoting his book on Islam as source of benefit for the West and wish I could grab it because it must be definitely a good work
    He said that extremism can be won through going back to the roots, to culture
    He is correct but unfortunately there's good culture and bad culture
    Muslims in African Arab countries mostly cling to the worst part of their culture and use a wrong interpretation of the religion to justify their wrong doings
    Women have rights in Islam, also more than in other religions or civilizations but they're not even aware of them because the society in which they live in is built on man made schemes and that has nothing to do with religion
    About the chance of the family of the deceased to turn the verdict from death to life, I don't see how this is not democratic
    The judge issues the verdict and the punishment is death
    Who better of the family has the right to decide on pardon ?
    You can tell me that you are against death penalty, but that's another story and involves also non Muslim countries

  17. The question of whether one is against the death penalty or not is indeed another subject.

    All the points you make are interesting and revealing, and if the majority of Muslims believe and reason in the same way as you do, then perhaps there is hope that Islam can eventually be reformed (which might also suggest it's being redefined). This seems urgent in view of the exploitation of the basic doctrines of Islam deformed or misinterpreted in order to be used tyrannically by extremists groups to gain power. The fact that Islam can be exploited to suit one's purpose, suggests that there is uncertainly and ambiguity that perhaps those recognised as the highest Muslim authorities should re-ascertain and clarify.

    The reason why the family of a victim shouldn't have such life or death power to wield following a judgement is, in my view, simple. Democratic justice can't depend on the sentiments of the family immediately involved, because their decision can only be blinded by emotion and other sentiments including prejudice. This, unless they are totally convinced that the person accused is innocent. The case of the Iranian artist, Delera Darabi, condemned to death for a crime she probably never committed, is a terrible example of this. It would appear that the family of the victim were either vindictive in 'signing her death sentence', or that they were 'persuaded' by the Iranian authorities to send her to her death.
    Whatever, such an arrangement cannot be regarded as democratic. Justice, which means a faire trial, judgement and sentence, can only be made on an impartial basis, which is why a randomly chosen jury is essential in court cases governed by democratic, constitutional law.

  18. @Balqis:

    “There are many democratic models”

    It’s true, but you certainly know that what is meant by the term “democracy” within the Western world is actually “liberal democracy,” which has nothing to do with alternative conceptions of democracy, such as, for instance, the so called “popular democracies” (see the former Soviet Union and today’s Cuba) or the Islamic democracies. The term “liberal” in “liberal democracy” refers to adherence to the ideology of political liberalism, which implies the duty to protect individual rights—from abuses by the State, government intrusion, etc., and also from “the tyranny of the majority” itself—which were first proposed during the age of Enlightenment.

    That’s also why you are absolutely right when you say that “Sharia applied to a Western society, wouldn’t make sense,” since, so to say, there is a lack of Enlightenment in the Islamic Weltanschauung, which was the case, illo tempore, of the Christian world and culture. So, maybe you don’t need to redefine Islam, but, as you yourself say, you “need to reform it, which means to re-interpret the texts and see if we can come to different conclusions.”

    “To me there’s a basic code of morals which will never change.”

    I couldn’t agree more, religiously speaking, but .. one thing is a sin—such as for instance homosexuality—quite another is a crime.

  19. I don't know how Iranian system works
    As I already said texts are subject to interpretation
    As I understand in Saudi Arabia the judge issues the verdict, so death is already there
    The family has only the right to ask for compensation and save his/her life
    The majority of the Muslims think like me because they know that there's a lot of wrong in how things go and it can't be from Islam
    But unlike me, they have strong bonds with their families, their traditions and culture
    It's something you can understand only by living with them
    Arranged [not forced] marriages are an ordinary issue here in the Gulf
    They are an example of the saying, love comes later [on which I agree now that am old, not when I was young and naive]
    They mostly work because it's a fact that marriage is commitment to a project
    Love is relatively important
    But when a girl really falls in love with a boy she cannot marry [sometimes because he comes from an inferior tribe or can't afford to pay the dowry or he's from a different sect and Islam is abused also in these issues], she will rarely fight for it because she knows that is a lost battle
    A battle against an entire tribe is not nice
    I know some who went away and got married with the permit of the judge [marriage in Islam is a contract and the male guardian must sign it and when he refuses for vain reasons then the girl can go to court to obtain the permit] but the marriage failed because there was no family around them
    The girl feels lonley without her relatives and goes back home
    The problem is the mentality but this can be found in other countries as well, for example in the southern villages of our Italy
    Just when the mentality remains backward, also the use if the religion is affected, which is why reforms are still under discussion

  20. To Rob (and Balqis)

    I wouldn't qualify homosexuality even as a 'sin'. It's rare that one would ever willingly develop this tendency. It's more a condition, either genetically inherent, if not conditioned by traumas and circumstances beyond one's control in early life that have induced the tendency.

I would even suggest that it's criminal to treat the state of being homosexuality (without taking into account any actual sexual act) as a crime.

At the epoch of prophet Lut, perhaps homosexuality was considered damnable because it was then thought to be a willingly developed, perverse inclination rather than a condition one has no choice but to live with, whether one accepts it or not.

  21. You may find this interview on sectarianism to one of our greatest contemporary scholars, interesting to understand our problems

  22. One of the problems that might arise from attempting to reform Islam, if the powers that be also thought this necessary, could be the fact that, depending on whether one is Shi'ite, Sunnite or any other Muslim ethnic, one's interpretation of Islam would differ considerably.

    This seems to be the main bone of contention certainly between Shi'ites and Sunnites. Further differentiation that would add to the complicated task of any reform, might come from what seems to be a national Muslim right to interpret Islam and its laws according to national custom, if not, individual, governmental interests.

    In addition, is it not natural for every Muslim to interpret and practice their religion in their own way? If so it would be all more reason why many Muslims would find it hard to accept a reform establishing any fixed interpretation.

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  24. @ Mirino:

    First, we need to clarify what we mean by the term homosexuality: I personally think that the term refers, rather than to a tendency or condition, to sexual activity between persons of the same sex. The distinction is quite fundamental, since a tendency, unlike a behavior, cannot be by any means considered as a “sin.”

    In the second place we need to clarify what is meant by the term “sin.” Well, the term refers to moral evil as considered from a religious standpoint. My religious standpoint is that of the Christian tradition, which basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, has always declared that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” because they are contrary to the natural law.

    Nothing to do, for instance, with the statement on homosexuality by the American Psychological Association: “The research on homosexuality is very clear. Homosexuality is neither mental illness nor moral depravity. It is simply the way a minority of our population expresses human love and sexuality. Study after study documents the mental health of gay men and lesbians. Studies of judgment, stability, reliability, and social and vocational adaptiveness all show that gay men and lesbians function every bit as well as heterosexuals.”

    But, if what is bad for religion is not bad for science, then it follows that a secular society, such as our Western ones, must not discriminate between people on the basis of their sexual orientation, whether they are heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, or gay.

  25. Thank you Balqis for the link to the interesting and refreshing interview with Maulana Wahiduddin Khan on Muslim sectarianism, which seems to support the idea of a general want of tolerance.

    It would also seem that the Prophet set precedents for posterity that could and are eternally interpreted incorrectly (or correctly) as 'a free for all sects' to be his true follower in order to win the carrot. (This, plus his antipathy for the Jews for not accepting his invitation, also created the other, interminable, religious conflict).

    As Khan pointed out, tolerance comes from education. In Europe, it was the advance of science which bought about tolerance in religion.

    Perhaps religion needs to be ambiguous enough for each person to be able to interpret it in his or her own way, provided that the moral base is adhered to. Reform might create a more restrictive, thus negative effect.

    Maulana Wahiduddin Khan's way of reasoning with greater flexibility would seem to be the wisest way of treating the islamic conflictual problem. One can only hope that there's not a shortage of wise, Muslim scholars.

  26. To Rob

    One doesn't necessarily need to be homosexual or lesbian to be depraved, which is more a mental disorder. We are dealing with the state of homosexuality, and not any active, sexual effects of this tendency.

    To my mind it is unjust, whether it be according to religious law or constitutional law, to treat the state or condition of homosexuality as a crime, yet we have seen several cases of well dressed young men, who certainly don't look as if they are depraved, hanging from Iranian gibbets simply because they are homosexual, and not because of anything they did or didn't do.

  27. @ Mirino:
    "One doesn't necessarily need to be homosexual or lesbian to be depraved."

    I couldn't agree more with you..

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  29. I referred to the hypocrisy regarding this particular question, especially in Iran.
    This is illustrated by the regime's officially sentencing to death and hanging homosexuals for what they are (and not for anything they have or haven't done) and turning a blind eye to alleged acts of depravity, raping young women as well as young men, that are reported to have been committed by Iranian guards on detained demonstrators imprisoned for having supported the opposition.

    Whilst in Iraq, although homosexuality has always been recognised as 'legal' there is actually taking place a witch hunt for homosexuals. They are being ruthlessly hunted out and murdered.