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Ending the Fatwa in Bangladesh

July 7, 2011

The Bangladesh government appears to be huge fans of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlett Letter.

Now you’re probably asking yourselves, “How do you know that for sure?” Well, the fact that it isn’t doing anything to protect its female citizens from fatwas–“opinions that are supposed to be issued by Islamic scholars”–is one leading indicator.

A recent article from Human Rights Watch discusses what happens to women who face “extrajudicial punishments” such as “whipping, lashing or public humiliations.”

One girl died, while many others committed suicide as a result of the public humiliation and violence enacted on them. Most of the time it’s for accusations of “alleged affairs.”

I have noticed in many of these cases, there is never any mention of a shalish declaring a fatwa on the men involved.

The Bangladesh government should put down the Hawthorne novel, realize the line between fiction and reality, and “act on repeated orders of the High Court Division of the Supreme Court” in order “to stop illegal punishments” such as the fatwas.

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