"The War on Women" (Lashawn R. Jefferson, OpinionJournal, 2002/08/22)
"After the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. government threw its full energies into combating terrorism emerging from militants in the Islamic world. But it has done little to expose and condemn the ways some states are using radical interpretations of Islamic law, or Shariah, to subordinate and exclude women. ... Just this week, an appellate Shariah court in northern Nigeria upheld a "death by stoning" sentence against a woman for having sex outside marriage. The case of Amina Lawal, the 30-year-old Nigerian woman sentenced to death, should raise grave concerns about how Islamic law is used in Nigeria and in other countries to brutalize and subordinate women. ... If she loses her final appeal, Ms. Lawal can expect to be buried up to her chest and stoned to death, leaving behind three motherless children. ... A woman in Pakistan who has been raped and wants the state to prosecute her case must have four Muslim men testify that they witnessed the assault. Absent these male witnesses, effectively the rape victim has no case. Equally alarming, if she cannot prove the rape allegation, she runs a very high risk of being charged with fornication or adultery, the criminal penalty for which is either a long prison sentence, including public whipping, or, though rarely, death by stoning. ... The U.S. identified the restoration of Afghan women's basic rights as one of the principal goals of ousting the Taliban. This must be a goal not only for Afghanistan, but also for the other parts of the world where the growing power of discriminatory law, including certain interpretations of Shariah, is a pernicious and chronic threat to women's very existence."

"God will get me through, says mother" (Janine di Giovanni, The Times, 2002/11/13)
"As more than 80 young women arrived amid great fanfare in the Nigerian capital to take part in the Miss World contest, an illiterate 31-year-old woman sat in a stark room a few miles away contemplating a very different fate. Amina Lawal has been sentenced to death by stoning. ... The beauty queens welcomed so effusively by the Nigerian Government on Monday night are symbols of the West’s obsession with sex, celebrity and material gain. "We're here to put Nigeria on the map of international beauty," declared Julia Morley, the Miss World president. Ms Lawal, by contrast, has become a symbol of hardline Islam's intolerance of any form of moral laxity, at least among the poor. For the alleged adultery that led to the birth of Wasila, now ten months old, she is to be buried up to her neck and stoned until she dies. ... One day, after accepting a lift on a motorcycle, she was raped by a man she thought was a friend. When it became obvious that she was pregnant the fundamentalist vigilantes, known as Hisbah, turned her over to the Sharia court. ... There are four other cases of women sentenced to be stoned for adultery. There are also 11 children in Sokoto state awaiting amputation for stealing. Ms Lawal's lawyer, Hauwa Ibrahim, said: 'We have heard they are waiting for the amputation machine to arrive.'" (See also: "The Next Hotbed Of Islamic Radicalism" (Paul Marshall, The Washington Post, 2002/10/08) and "The War on Women" (Lashawn R. Jefferson, OpinionJournal, 2002/08/22))


"The Next Hotbed Of Islamic Radicalism" (Paul Marshall, The Washington Post, 2002/10/08)
"Since Nigeria's independence, sharia has regulated family and personal law, but the newer versions, introduced largely from the Middle East, are far more restrictive and wider in scope. Since 1999, Zamfara state has required "Islamic" dress and sexually segregated public transportation. It has banned alcohol and closed churches and non-Muslim schools. These regulations are enforced by hizbah (religious police). In July the governor, Ahmed Sani, announced that all residents, including non-Muslims, must begin using Arabic, a language few speak. ... The governor has said that sharia supersedes the Nigerian constitution and indicated that Islam requires Muslims to kill any apostate, which could include a Muslim seeking a trial in a civil court. Ruud Peters, who reported on Nigeria's sharia for the European Commission, fears that the new laws are "irreversible," because anyone trying to change them could be charged with attacking Islam. This extreme version of sharia is provoking the worst violence since Nigeria's civil war 30 years ago. In the past three years, some 6,000 people have been killed in sharia-related conflict nationwide. ... This type of sharia is more typical of extreme Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran but has been spreading in Africa, to Sudan, Somalia and now Nigeria. Saudi and Sudanese, as well as Palestinian and Syrian, representatives have visited Nigeria's sharia states and offered them aid."