Islamic Law

Regarding the murder of 11-year old Carlie Brucia by ex-convict Joseph Smith in Florida this week, I have to say that it takes a lot for things to get to me but I was shaken this morning when I read that they’d found her body. I’ve had more religious debates in my life than I care to remember but I can’t think of a better example than this to advocate for the application of Sharia (Islamic law) rather than secular.

In American jurisprudence, the death penalty is carried out by a disinterested third party. Under Islamic law, in cases of murder the family of the victim is given the choice to either opt for the death penalty or to forgive (and they are told that to forgive is better.) For those who choose to apply the death penalty, the actual sentence is to be carried out by the closest male relative of the victim. In this case that would be Carlie’s father.

There are some who would opt for mercy, but for those who would choose the latter I would remind them that mercy always comes at the price of justice. As God’s viceregent on earth, it is man’s duty to extol what is right and to condemn that which is wrong. While most people don’t share my particular religious viewpoint, I think 95% of us can agree on the need for justice, not simply as a visceral reaction, but as a societal necessity, to deter crime with swift and certain retribution. And of all crimes that need to be stamped from the face of the earth, what can rank higher on the list than child abduction and murder?

I can’t say I know what it’s like; I don’t want to imagine what Carlie’s father is going through right now or what life will be like for him from now on. Neither can I maintain that punishing the killer in any form will bring his daughter back. But speaking as the father of an 11 year old girl myself, if I were in his shoes right now I know exactly which system of justice I would want applied. And I’d want a baseball bat and the killer in shackles in the middle of a packed soccer stadium. There is both justice and a deterrent.

3 Responses to “Islamic Law”

  1. smerdyakov says:

    I didn’t know they had found the girls body….CRAP! OK, so this guy deserves worse than a baseball-bat-beating in a soccer stadium. This guys deserves to be sodomized for the rest of his life (after being beaten within an *inch* of his life in front of a packed soccer stadium).

  2. Mr. Scott says:

    I particularly like when the Prophet used the baseball bat approach. They didn’t have soccer stadiums back then, but of course had American Football (I hear Abu Bakr was one hell of a Quarterback).

    But seriously, I should hope before we applied Shari’ah, the people it is being applied to are in a state of Islam, have a healthy dose of Iman and taqwa, and an awareness of Ihsan. Then we wouldn’t need any death penalties: the crimes wouldn’t be comitted.

  3. Daniel says:

    I agree that the concept of justice makes capital punishment legitimate. However, only to the extent the punishment is proportionate to the crime committed. To execute people for converting to another religion or for adultery is not acceptable.

    You also confuse two justifications for harsh punishment: that of deterrence and that of retribution. The former is based on utilitarian grounds, i.e. deterrence by which the greatest good of the greatest number is promoted; the latter is founded on Kantian or religious grounds (e.g. lex talionis in the Bible).