Hey, Ron Gold here.
An Islamic model in Malaysia–yes, they do exist–has been sentenced to be caned for her henious crime of drinking beer in public. She was set to receive the beating only a matter of hours ago, when suddenly, it was delayed for Ramadan related reasons. However, this was not a welcome decision:
The first woman in Muslim-majority Malaysia to face caning for drinking beer was reprieved Monday because of the holy month of Ramadan. Her family said she would rather get the thrashing with a rattan cane now and put the ordeal behind her.
Islamic officials had taken Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old mother of two, into custody and were driving her to a women’s prison for the caning when they abruptly turned around and sent her back to her family home in northern Malaysia.
“She feels like a football being kicked around,” Kartika’s father, Shukarno Abdul Muttalib, told The Associated Press. “She’s so exhausted and unhappy with the delay. She would prefer to just receive the six strokes and have everything finished.”
Alcohol isn’t always illegal in Malaysia. Indeed, the country has a complex, unhealthy relationship with intoxicating beverages:
Beer, wine and liquor is widely available at shops, bars and restaurants in Malaysia, unlike in more austere Islamic nations such as Iran and Pakistan. Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and other minorities in Malaysia are free to consume alcohol but its Shariah law forbids Muslims — who make up 60 percent of the 27 million population — from drinking, although a minority of Muslims still indulge despite the religious stricture.
Islamic morality police — enforcement officials of the Islamic Religious Department — arrested Kartika in a raid for drinking beer at a hotel lounge at a beach resort in Cherating in Pahang state in December 2007. Kartika was sentenced to six lashes of a rattan cane by the Shariah court last month in what was considered a warning to other Muslims to abide by religious rules.
Even though the whole practice sounds barbaric, the morality police explain that it will be one of their more compassionate canings:
Islamic officials had insisted that the caning’s purpose is to educate rather than punish. They say the rattan cane supposed to be used on Kartika would be smaller and lighter than the one used for men, and that she will remain clothed.
Yes, that does sound educational!
But to be serious, Malaysia is rarely considered to be a land of extremists, and their morality police pales in comparison to those found in many other countries, such as Saudi Arabia. Still, this “moderate” country can sometimes look anything but modern.