Friday, September 30, 2011

Current affairs
30 Sep 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com
On the Death Penalty

By Tariq Ramadan

Last summer we witnessed one such a case. Ten days after September 11, 2001, Mark Stroman attacked three people he thought were Muslims (one of them was not), killing two of them. The third, an American Muslim of Bangladeshi background, Rais Bhuiyan, pretended to be dead and survived the attack. Stroman was arrested and eventually sentenced to death. He remained nearly ten years on death row; during these ten years his would-be victim, Rais, tried to save him, offering his forgiveness and requesting that the judiciary halt its infernal machinery and save him. Despite Rais’ personal commitment, Stroman was executed on July 21, 2011 in Texas. In those years, Mark Stroman had profoundly apologized and had become another man when he left this world. Rais Bhuiyan has become the true face of dignity and compassion and, indeed, the personification of how Islamic values and spirituality can transform an open heart. This is a far more profound and true example of what Islam stands for than the recent executions in Saudi Arabia by beheading of a so-called exorcist or in Iran by hanging a man from a crane (as happened few weeks ago). Both sentences were issued by opaque judicial systems where neither the accused nor her/his lawyer (assuming an accused even has the right to an independent lawyer) could defend themselves properly, only compounding the shame. -- Tariq Ramadan

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