Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sharia justice in Italy

A father slits his daughter’s throat. Another, aided by wife and son, lock a teenager in her room, tied to a chair, to be freed only to be savagely beaten. The girls’ crime? Westernization. The family’s punishment? In the second case, none. In Italy, where immigration is a relatively recent phenomenon, concerns of cultural diversity–and the fact that Fatima’s father had hit her only 3 times in her life—led a court of appeals to overturn the conviction of Fatima’s parents for sequestration. The high court confirmed the absolution last week, because Fatima was beaten not for reasons of “vexation” or “disdain”, but for improper behavior. And she was tied to the chair not for punishment, but to prevent her from carrying out her suicide threat. According to the Association of Moroccan Women in Italy, at least 9 Moroccan girls have been found dead in Italy in the last year, victims of family brutality. Outside the courthouse where preliminary hearings were being held in the case of Hina’s father, protests were held to show the judges that in Italy, Italian law applies. Trial opens in September.

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