Islamic Law Means a Rocky Future

BBC, Aug. 19 — Nigeria's northern regions, which impose Islamic law on Muslim citizens, are headed for a conflict with the country's constitution, according to the BBC.

The British broadcast network reported that an appeals court has upheld a sentence of death by stoning for adultery ordered for a 30-year-old Nigerian woman, Amina Lawal. The nation's Supreme Court has held such sentences unconstitutional, but the Sharia, or Koranic law, is extremely popular among the country's Muslim plurality.

BBC reported that “the largely male crowd in the courtroom reacted to the judgment of judge Aliyu Abdullahi with shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar’ [God is great].”

The judge said, “We uphold your conviction of death by stoning as prescribed by the Sharia. This judgment will be carried out as soon as your baby is weaned.”

The court's ruling will heighten tensions between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, BBC predicted.

Girl Scouts Honor Population Controller

C-FAM.ORG, Aug. 16 — At its international summer conference in the Philippines, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts honored Nafis Sadik, former executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, the agency recently defunded by the U.S. government for supporting forced abortion in China.

The association invited Sadik to deliver the keynote address and presented her with its World Citizenship Award, noted the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, a Catholic lobby at the United Nations.

In her speech, Sadik expressed her belief that “traditional” morality disguises a male power structure and must be transformed. She decried “the narrow traditional moral boundaries which some people would draw around sexual behavior,” asserting that “restrictive morality is being used falsely as a means of asserting power over women in particular.”

“We must make male and female condoms far more widely available, and we must demand that men use them,” Sadik said. She also condemned those who are “squeamish” about distributing the morning-after abortion pill.

Sadik has also been honored by Communist China, which presented Sadik with a Population Prize Award. Accepting that prize, Sadik praised China's coercive one-child policy, according to C-FAM, saying, “China has made an indelible mark in the global population community. It is to be congratulated on its successful programs.”

Pakistan: Christian Escapes Death Sentence

INDEPENDENT CATHOLIC NEWS, Aug. 16 — A Christian Pakistani narrowly escaped execution this week as his death sentence for “allegedly blaspheming the Islamic prophet Mohammed” was overturned by that country's Supreme Court.

Independent Catholic News reported that 26-year-old Ayub Masih was arrested in 1996 and sentenced to death two years later. He strongly denied his guilt, saying his accuser was simply trying to grab the Masih family's land.

Supporters still fear for his safety, which has been threatened by Islamic extremists. According to ICN, “there have already been at least two attempts on Masih's life.”

The human rights group Jubilee, which defended Masih, praised the decision but noted that “there are still many Pakistani Christians imprisoned for blasphemy and two of them, Kingri Masih and Anwar Kenneth, are currently facing the death penalty.”