Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hena Akhter - Taking Things Too Far

Hena (inset) and Hena's mother, 
24.2. The fornicatress and the fornicator – flog each of them with a hundred stripes; and do not let pity for them hold you back from carrying out God's law, if you truly believe in God and the Last Day; and let a group of believers witness their punishment. (The Miraculous Quran)

Hena Akhter was only 14 years old. She was on outside going to the toilet when she was, according to testimony from her sister, gagged, drug to another location, and then raped by a married cousin. The wife, hearing noises, found the two. She was furious. In her rage she drug the girl into her home then beat her and trampled upon her. She then demanded justice accusing the girl of being a fornicator.

The man in question, in his forties, had been reported for harassing the girl before this incident. Hena's father had gone to the authorities to complain in an effort to protect his youngest daughter. The elders ordered the culprit, Mahbub Khan, to pay the family $1,000. However, other family members asked for forgiveness since he was related. Hena's father showed mercy and forgave the debt.

Mahbub Khan did not show the same mercy to Hena, nor did the court. Even upon hearing from Hena's family that the girl was innocent and a victim, both were sentenced by the imam to be flogged. Somehow Mahbub managed to get away and only received three or four hits. Hena was not as lucky. After about 70 hits the girl fell and did not get back up. She spent a week in the hospital suffering before she died. The entire time she proclaimed her innocence.

Many may look at this and blame the Muslim relgion, but the truth is that months before this practice, sharia, was outlawed. However many small villages are still practicing what many, including myself, consider a barbaric practice. It is something many of us would never condone nor understand.

This family lived in a village in Bangladesh surrounded by rice paddies and vegetable fields. Five of them shared a home put together by corrugated tin and rotten wood. The survived on the income of day laborers working the fields. Their lives were simple.

Nothing for them is simple now. The tragic death of their daughter has brought international attention to them and their tiny village. An investigation, an exhumation of the body, and several arrests, including that of Mahbub Khan, has rocked the very core of their village and the beliefs of the people that live there.

This story brings tears to my eyes. But before we thank whatever powers that be we believe in that we do not practice such barbaric things here in the US let's keep in mind that two young girls, both 11 years of age, were gang raped. One in Texas and the other in California.

The child in California was lured into the situation by another young girl where she knew that boys from a gang were waiting for her to bring them a victim. It was not a religious practice, but more like an initiation into the gang. An insidious act to prove domination and power over the innocent.

The child in Texas was taken into an abandoned trailer and raped by several young men of various ages. The horrible thing is that this 11 year old child is being blamed by some as "asking for it." They insinuate that this young girl is not innocent, she looks older than 11. The father responded that "she has a child's mind."

That shouldn't even have to be explained. Regardless of how mature this child looks, no one can honestly believe she asked for 18 boys/men to do something like this to her. It's beyond comprehension how someone, even a relative, can make excuses for such a horrible act. Blaming the victim shows no remorse for the actions and also displays a severe lack of compassion.

This child, after being raped, was taken from her home, placed in foster care in an entirely different location because she was then being subjected to death threats. She hadn't suffered enough?

We can sit around and point fingers at the world and discuss how atrocious things are in those communities, but let's look at what we have next door as well.

No matter how you slice this each of these young women were innocent victims. A man does not have the right to molest a child under any circumstance for any reason. Those who victimize children in a group are simply cowards. What they did was just as barbaric as the crime and punishment done to Hena Akhter.

Shame to all of you that blame the children.

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