Some of you may remember my post about my friend, Maryam alSherooqi, who is facing up to 7 years in jail for an article she wrote in one of our local papers, Al Wasat, concerning discrimination in Bahrains Civil Department. That post is here http://coolred38.blogspot.com/2009/02/does-telling-truth-require-apology.html
She has been to court several times and so far nothing has been decided...good news or bad Im not sure.
Anyhow, I couldnt help but feel even more pissed off about her whole case while I was perusing yesterdays other local paper, the Gulf Daily News. I came across a little snippet of news that is not shown on the website so I cant link to it...but anyone can check yesterdays paper if they want to read it.
It appears that while lecturing a college class on history etc last year, an American teacher "blasphemied" the Prophet by attempting to draw his likeness on the chalkboard. Apparently one of her Bahraini female students took exception to this and reported her to the proper authorities. I remember hearing about this teacher sometime last year but didnt really look into it. A lot of the time they just peter out and nothing ever comes of it.
The little snippet of news in the paper happened to mention that this teacher was found guilty and was fined and jailed for 6 months...and then will be deported.
So let me get this straight...."blasphemy" the Prophet you get 6 months in jail and a fine plus deportation. "Blasphemy" Bahrains Civil Department you get harassed by govt officials...threatened with loss of job...your salary is with held with no explanation given...your reputation is shredded by under the table sabotage and innuendo...and your faced with 7 years of jail in a case in which you have not broken any laws, called anyone a liar. or lied in general?
Now I dont believe the teacher who supposedly disrespected the Prophet deserved any punishment merely for drawing a sketch of him on a chalkboard for whatever reason...a simple word of caution by that female student...or any other student should have sufficed....but NOOOO Muslims have to be extreme when it comes to religion...but I also dont get the chasm of injustice being clearly shown here. Are we to assume the Civil Department and those who head it are on a higher footing and deserve more respect etc than the Prophet? Are we to assume that the punishment meted out to individuals who "cause trouble" to the Civil Department and those who head it should be enforced to the fullest extent of the law...but those that blasphemy the Prophet are dealt with leniently?
Should we assume that Bahrain authorities are quite happy to sit by and let a Bahraini Muslim woman, who had a solid reputation, deep respect from her community, and clearly has not broken any law what so ever.. be sent to jail merely for pointing out discrimination at the Civil Department...thus destroying her family life, her career, and her future prospects all because the head of the Civil Department didnt like something he read...but knows to be true?
One question. The MP's of Bahrain have made a mockery of Bahrains reputation as a tolerant and welcoming country. People are talking about leaving Bahrain because it no longer is the quiet oasis in the gulf it was known as before. How many more people will leave, Bahrainis included, once its made clear that jail is awaiting anyone that dares say a word against Ministry heads or anyone else that has a position of power?
I realize jail has always awaited those people who dared speak out...but at least it was hidden just a little bit better before...now theres not even a semblance of attempt at keeping this injustice a secret.
How nice for Bahrain and all its inhabitants.
I hope justice will be served for Maryam al Sherooqi...telling the truth is incumbent upon all of us...even if its against ourselves and our families...last I heard Bahrain considered itself a Muslim country....I guess that only applies in regards to the fact that we have mosques and women wear abayas and hijab. Sweet!!