Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bangladesh Court: No Punishment can be imposed in Fatwa

Line at Dhaka Stadium  during World Cup Cricket 2011,
Religion, Cricket, Cell Phone Women's Right and Fatwa.

(Real Time Report, May 15, 2011).

The hot headlines in blogsphare is that Bangladesh Court has lifted Ban on Fatwa. Can there be a different headline?

The news is Bangladesh’s Supreme Court Thursday ruled that extrajudicial punishments carried out in the name of religion were illegal- while also upheld the rights of Fatwa? Daily Star Reports:
"no punishment including physical violence or mental torture in any form can be imposed or implicated on any body in pursuance of fatwa," Star Online, website of The Daily Star reported.

The apex court said fatwa on religious matter may be given by the "properly educated persons", which may be "accepted only voluntarily, but any coercion or undue influence in any form is forbidden.
"Fatwas on religious matters may be given only by properly educated persons and may be accepted only voluntarily," Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told AFP, quoting the Supreme Court ruling.

Bangladesh High Court had banned fatwas in 2001.  Women are frequently being abused under certail fatwabaz  people. Religious parties appealed the verdict, saying that the fatwa was an integral part of Islam.
The lawyer representing the scholars, Imran Siddiqui, said the verdict did not specify wo is considered “properly educated” about fatwas, adding he hoped that the court would clarify later. 
So what is fatwa? Here is a site dispensing Digital-Fatwa - in the age of digital Bangladesh offering advices such as how to use cell phone! Just few months back a raped girl Hena was flogged to death instead of justice in the name of Fatwa! Here is another Fatwa event on the issue of prayer time for players and long cricket matches. Surely, in Prophets' time cricket or cell phone was no there.

It looks like court may have considered the Fatwa itself as something like "opinion", "free speech", "religious activity". It however, has deftly narrowed down to the root cause of the problem. An opinion like Fatwa becomes social problem when it gains the power of imposition. If the imposition becomes something like a "parallel law"- then it indeed challenges the state itself.

So rightfully, the court has taken the tooth out of Fatwa.


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