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14-year-old rape victim was later punished for “adultery” -Can this be happening?

A 14-year-old girl in Bangladesh named Hena Akhter was raped by a married man and later she was charged with having an affair. CNN reports that the Imam from the local mosque where the Muslims worship sentenced the girl to 101 lashes in public. The public had already judged her. After 70 lashings, Hena dropped down, and was taken to a hospital where she died a week later. Here is the CNN story a friend of mine shared with me: http://articles.cnn.com/2011-03-29/world/bangladesh.lashing.death_1_alya-lashes-elders?_s=PM:WORLD

I cannot imagine a community standing by and watching a girl get lashed in public like this. It is harder to imagine a religious community standing by and doing nothing. But even worse perhaps is the girl’s mother had no power to do anything either.

And when we hear of stories like this outrage, we want justice. We think, how can this be happening? The pain, I just cannot fathom. In America, we have it so good in so many ways. People from a variety of traditions and cultures and religions live together side by side. Yes,  there is pain and suffering and misunderstanding, but there is at least dialogue. Or at least attempt at dialogue.

It is so important not to label people from other faiths. There will be extreme factions who make it hard for others who are part of that faith, others who want peace and justice. Yet, we should be able to talk about specific injustices, when they do occur, no matter who commits the injustice. We need to ask questions and make people accountable for their actions.

We owe it to this little girl, barely a teenager. God loves justice. He is a God of mercy. May we show the same to others.

Posted in Children, Communication, Culture, Family Life, Justice, Kids, Life, Live the Questions, Moms.


6 Responses

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  1. Curtis Zeilstra says

    It seems like with these other cultures and laws, common sense goes out the window. They don’t see the situation for what it is. All one sees is a woman pregnant by a man other than her husband. This violates their law and immediately moves into punishment mode. There’s no analyzing the situation, or grace. I’m so glad God gives us grace because if it were up to the human race to bestow grace on one another, we would be in for a world of hurt. I think of John 8:7 where Jesus said “he who’s without sin, cast the first stone. We need to be accountable to one another, but if we dealt with our own sin before trying to judge others, we would be much better off.

  2. Jason says

    This is a horrible injustice, an injustice that should and must make a true believer of Christ angry. Why should it make a person angry? It does because it is unfair. It is unfair that an innocent girl’s life was taken from her brutally for an injustice done to her. It is unfair that this sort of thing happens regularly in the world. It is unfair that there are starving kids around the world while our social elite make millions. The point I am trying to make is that we are continually surrounded by injustice and unfairness. Derek says “the only thing we can do is pray”. Is that the only thing, and if it is will it really help accept to make yourself feel better? Solomon writes in the book of Ecclesiastes that it would be better to not even be born at all than to have many years. The fact is that there will always be injustice and unfairness. As Solomon says, even this is vanity and striving after the wind. So what are we to do…pray more? I often think prayer can be an easy way out of making a difference. Can we as individual people really make that much of a difference? I think about Martin Luther King Jr., he stood up to a horrific injustice that was occurring right here in the United States, did he make a difference, yes he did. Our differences might not be prevalent in the immediate future but we are called by God Himself to stand up to whatever injustice is occurring. We are to never give up and continue fighting against this evil, we are called to do more than just pray. However, even this is vanity. The truth is we are to long for Christ’s return, when He will make all straight and justice will be met. Oh how I long for the day when His name shall be that of returning to the saints what they deserve.

  3. Cornelia Seigneur says

    Aaron, it is true that the imam does carry out these types of punishments and they base it on the Koran. And yes, Muslims need to identify what their Islam religion is saying and stand up. And as a writer, you are correct, I believe it is my duty to draw attention to what is going on in other countries. Maybe it will inspire someone, somewhere to make a difference. And Derek, yes, praying is always important. But, I always wonder if there is more we can do. Somehow. One of the things I do is write about it as Aaron noted. AJ, you are correct that it does mean more when people who are in a certain faith tradition speak out when evil has been committed in the name of that religion. I appreciated the perspective at Q Gathering where the imam said they want to take Islam into the 21st century, to modernize it. But, what does that mean in other countries? Will they modernize there?

  4. AJ says

    It is hard to know how to best respond when such an obviously sick and twisted injustice is committed in the name of a religion. It is absolutely true that there are extreme elements in every religion, from the few extremist Muslims who would blow up the twin towers on September 11, 2001, to the Crusades committed by Christians in the early 2nd century. Being outside of a such a religion when an injustice is committed makes any condemnation or approval weak and mostly meaningless. When you are a part of such a religion when an injustice is committed in the name of your own religion, however, you are provided with an incredibly powerful opportunity to set the record straight in the name of your religion. When an evangelical Christian does something that is sick, wrong, and twisted, it should be the evangelical Christian community that speaks out against the offense the quickest and the loudest. Similarly, in the case of Hena Akhter, the international Muslim community should speak out against this injustice to set the record straight. It is only when religions are able to condemn the extreme and evil elements within their community and condone the elements who conduct themselves well that a fair and correct characterization can be made of any religion, be it mainstream or small. Only then will there be an openness on all sides to speak out against injustice.

  5. Derek Dix says

    It is always a sad situation when we see that people get killed, ridiculed in public, and beaten. However, We are NOT responsible for what they do! Do we wish that this type of suffering didn’t happen? OF COURSE! Does God love that girl, and want this type of torment to stop? OF COURSE! However, there is very little we (Americans) can actually do. As Aaron said, their culture is run around the imam. As long as they are following that system (I realize they could be killed if they don’t follow this system), then this type of torment, and evilness won’t stop.
    As Christians, more specifically Christians in America, it appears to me that there is only one thing that we can really do. This is to PRAY! Pray for a revival in other nations, for the imam, and that those who are being raped, beaten, etc will in some way be aware that GOD loves them and cares for them, and that the Holy Spirit would show His presence to them.

  6. Aaron Esparza says

    The ideology of the imam created the hegemonic regime to control the followers, and only when this system is identified and called out, then social change can begin to happen. As long as the people believe they are dependent on this system, they can not get out. It’s very unfortunate to hear of this… in the article the other offender was punished to over 200 slashes, but escaped after a few. There seems to be no regard for “intention” in this matter, but rather they look at the physical working of what happened as if the young woman had any control (when apparently she did not).

    As a writer who exposes these types of situations, you are helping the world take one step closer to bringing order and awareness. And that is definitely commendable.



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