In blighted but affordable east Bakersfield old bank transformed into new mosque hosts annual Islamic Conference where keynote speaker Main Al-Qudah, PhD in Islamic law and imam at large mosque in Houston, steps to podium. He’s slim, stern, middle-aged, dressed in suit and tie, and resembles prosecutor as power points to screen bearing principles of criminal justice in Islam:
Intentional Murder – If perpetrator is sane and convicted, then next of kin can execute him, usually by decapitation.
Unintentional Murder – Careless driving that leads to death is example. Penalty would be 100 camels or something of comparable value.
Bodily Injury – There is right of retaliation against those responsible. Relatives can give guilty same “amount of injury.” But since it’s difficult, for example, to break man’s leg in same way he broke another’s, payment is usually fitting substitute.
Adultery – If married or previously married people screw around, penalty is stoning until death.
Fornication – Unmarried fornicators are punished less severely and receive only 100 lashes and year exile. Imam Al-Qudah says unauthorized sex should not be necessary in Middle East since polygamy legal and man can have four wives and enjoy intimate relations much superior to animalistic fornication. Polygamy also ensures man is responsible and supports wives. He notes taking multiple wives is illegal in United States, and law here must be respected and obeyed.
Homosexuality – Penalty is death. Tea Party may applaud this ultimate rejection of same-sex marriages.
Theft – Right hand is amputated. I don’t approve but penalty may have deterred Wall Street thieves and other financial hooligans.
Drinking Intoxicants and Taking Drugs – Forty lashes await those unable to remain sober. Mercifully, I didn’t travel in such jurisdictions during ancient party days.
Apostasy – Original Muslims must not abandon Islam or penalty is death, likewise for those who convert to Islam but later change convictions.
Imam Main Al-Qudah uses statistics to refute those who say Islamic punishment “harsh, against dignity, or against freedom of speech and religion.” In immoral and tolerant United States there are 1.4 million violent crimes annually, and 17,000 people are murdered. One in eight homicides involves man killing wife. Imam doesn’t note some wild Western women also terminate husbands.
There are 90,000 rapes annually, one every two minutes. “Since we started today, 60 women have been raped,” imam says. There are 800,000 kidnappings yearly. Every 40 seconds child under 18 is abducted. This doesn’t surprise Al-Qudah in permissive society with divorce rate of 50% and in which 22% of married men and 14% of married women have had affairs. I fear latter two figures may be tad low.
Identity theft has rocketed to $52 billion annually while more than million motor vehicles are stolen.
Approximately two-thirds of criminals released are rearrested within three years.
“All these things explain why Islam imposes rigid code of punishment for microscopic minority of criminals,” says Al-Qudah.
He then addresses issue of evidence and proving guilt. There are two ways to ensure justice, confession or eyewitness testimony by sane adult male. Circumstantial evidence such as fingerprints and DNA are “supplemental only…and not sufficient to convict suspects.”
No one need worry Imam Main Al-Qudah seeks violent cultural revolution. He declares, “We don’t want to impose laws here. We simply want our beliefs to convert people in United States to believe in Islam. Then laws can be changed and we would have criminal justice of Islam.”