Shocked by barbaric act in Pakistan

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 July, 2002, 12:00am

I cannot adequately express how appalled and horrified I was by the report headlined 'Jury orders teen's rape' (South China Morning Post, July 2).

A tribal jury in Meerwala, Pakistan, ordered an 18-year-old girl to be gang-raped as 'punishment' for an alleged crime by her brother.

To add horrendous insult to her grave injury, she was then ordered to walk home naked in front of hundreds of onlookers. I lived in the Middle East for eight years and never heard of shariah law recommending such a punishment. What is to become of this poor girl now? She will surely be shunned by the same community that has condemned her and ruined her life.

Where is the justification in making an innocent pay for the alleged crime of her brother, who, incidentally, was 11 years old and whose so-called 'crime' was to be walking unchaperoned in a deserted part of the village with a girl from a higher social status?

While I have since read a press report that the incident has outraged people across the country, if the authorities are to retain any credibility they must prosecute the rapists and the tribal jury. So many in the Islamic world bemoan the fact that Islam is misunderstood by the West, but how can they expect understanding of such barbaric behaviour, especially when the Koran actually teaches that women are to be honoured?