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.