ABUJA, Nigeria, JAN. 11, 2001 (ZENIT.org).- A 17-year old Nigerian girl was sentenced to whipping (with 180 lashes) by an Islamic court. The reason is that she is pregnant and unmarried and must suffer the punishment prescribed by the Islamic law or shariah.
The state of Zamfara, where the girl resides, was one of the first northern territories to implement the shariah, which, among other things, severely punishes sexual relations outside of marriage.
According to MISNA missionary agency, the girl has one month to appeal for a review of the sentence, which was given last September. It was suspended until the baby was born, in mid-December.
The girl was denounced by police in her native area when her pregnancy became obvious.
When the judge asked the girl for the father´s name, she replied by mentioning the names of 3 agricultural workers of her village. However, many testimonies in the process denied her statements.
Because of this, the accused was sentenced to 100 lashes for sexual relations outside of marriage, and 80 for having lied about the 3 men.
It is interesting to note, however, that in criminal cases like this one, Islamic Law does not consider the testimony of women valid.
The shariah is the name Islam gives the Muslim law, propounded by Mohammed after a revelation from Allah. It covers the prescriptions, recommendations, permissions, condemnations, and prohibitions relating to human actions in the areas of religion, politics, and society, as well as in the home and among individuals.
Islamic law is based on the Qu´ran and the consequent deductions (qiyas) of the heads of the juridical schools. These deductions are usually coupled with the consensus (ijma) of the Muslim community (umma).
Nigeria is the most populous country of Africa, with a total of 106,000,000 inhabitants (50% Muslims, 40% Christians, and 9% Animists).
The coming into force of Islamic Law in various states of northern Nigeria at the beginning of the year 2000 caused bloody confrontations between Christians and Muslims; 400 people died in Kaduna alone.