According to the AP , a woman in Malaysia is sentenced to be caned after pleading guilty to drinking a beer.
Baffled? Same here. Here's some background:
Apparently, Malaysia has a two-pronged approach to governing its citizens. Muslims in the country follow with Islamic law and court systems, while non-Muslims are subject to civil law. And while both systems recognize caning as a valid sentence, only the Islamic law condemns drinking.
So when 32 year old, sometimes-model Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno was found drinking in a club last year, she was in direct violation of Islamic law. The criminal was taken to court, and convicted; though, of all the Muslims detained and sentenced (a group of both men and women were sentenced to caning after drinking that night), Shukarno was the only convict not to appeal her sentence. The AP says her priorities lay in promptly reuniting with her family, despite the humiliation and pain of a lashing.
Next week, Shukarno will be the first woman caned under Islamic law. Religious tolerance is hard to muster in a situation like this one, and religious understanding even more difficult. What's the appropriate response to such an abrasive and primitive form of governance? Is the old eye-for-an-eye routine ever acceptable (especially when the 'eye' is a glass of beer)?
From where I'm standing, the answer is a resounding no.
photo courtesy of Jezebel