Murder of Daughter Earns Saudi Preacher Wrist-slap
Justice, Saudi-style? Five-year-old Lama al-Ghamdi is dead, the victim of her father, Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a preacher who's a popular talking head on Muslim TV programs.
Fayhan al-Ghamdi admitted to brutalizing and killing his young daughter, purportedly for his daughter losing her virginity (yes, you read that right). There are conflicting reports about whether or not al-Ghamdi raped his daughter and his exact punishment.
For his crime, al-Ghamdi was sentenced to a few months in jail and ordered to pay a $50,000 fine, according to the Shia International News Association. The fine is considered "blood money," and will be given to Lama's mother - al-Ghamdi's ex-wife - as compensation. The amount is half of what Lama's mother would have received for a son (as if that's compensation enough for murdering any child).
But CNN reports:
Some media reports say that Al-Ghamdi was sentenced to pay blood money for Lama's death, and others say that he has been released from jail. But Mohammed Almadi, with the Human Rights Commission, told CNN that the father has been in prison for about eight months and has been accused of the torture that led to the girl's death.
Lama's mother says the next hearing in the case will take place in about two weeks.
Writes Ryan Mauro at RadicalIslam.org:
Al-Ghamdi, whose extremist preaching was often on Saudi television, was originally accused of abusing Lama last April. That attack was so vicious that she suffered a fractured skull and brain damage. Tragically, he was still permitted access to her, leading to her death in December.
He was then arrested in November after Lama died. He admits responsibility and says his assault began because he suspected her, a mere five-year old, of losing her virginity. A social worker said she was "raped" everywhere, but her mother says that part of the story isn't true. Lama was beaten with electric shocks, whips and an iron. Her skull was crushed. Her back and arms were broken. Her ribs were fractured. The hospital said al-Ghamdi even tried to burn her rectum closed. [Italics added]
Mauro further reports that "Saudi national laws prevent a father from being executed for murdering his children or his wife, activists told Al-Jazeera."
Al-Ghamdi still has custody of his two children by another wife.
Again from the CNN report:
Prominent Saudi women's rights activist Manal Al-Sharif, who has launched an online campaign and created a Twitter hashtag, #IAmLAMA, expressed a similar sentiment, explaining how this case reflects once again how dire the situation is for women in Saudi Arabia, who must contend with a male guardianship system that she says infantilizes women and strips them of any power.
"In Saudi Arabia," Al-Sharif told CNN, "all women are considered minors and are automatically assigned to the care and judgment of their most immediate male relative."
Al-Sharif said Saudi courts tend to "show leniency toward male abusers," and she said she is concerned that might happen in this case as well.
The subordination and abuse of females isn't peculiar to Saudi Arabia; it's true throughout the Muslim world. It's a fact of life that too many American news outlets ignore or turn a blind eye toward. Read this article from WND Faith about an MSNBC's host's rationalization (moral vacuity is more like it) for not wanting Western media reports of atrocities toward females in the Muslim world.
Meanwhile, five-year-old Lama is dead and buried, yet another victim of beliefs and a culture that little regards the worth and rights of females.