A Saudi TV Sheikh has made headlines once again as he's released from prison despite raping, torturing and killing his five-year-old daughter, prompting outrage from activists across the world.
We feel we must caution our readers, as the story that we are about to cover is both twisted and disgusting. The only reason we are writing about it is because it touches on a subject 'Diyya' (blood money) that desperately needs to be discussed in the Arab world, as well as calling for awareness to the heinous crime we're about to discuss and hoping for justice for the victim.
In Saudi Arabia, 'TV celebrity' preacher, Fayhan al-Ghamdi, has been released from custody after raping, torturing, and murdering his own five-year-old daughter, because he was willing to pay blood money for his crime. There are not enough words in the English language to describe the heinous and evil actions that this man committed. The torture of his daughter, Lama, is so graphic that we don't feel comfortable writing about. Needless to say she died a terrible death that left her body completely broken and burnt.
The supposed reason the preacher gives for his despicable actions is that he believed his daughter needed to be punished because he doubted her virginity. You heard right - he believed his five-year-old daughter wasn't a virgin, so he put his doubts to rest by raping and ultimately killing her. Instead of being executed or given a life sentence, al-Ghamdi, served only a few months in jail before the judge ruled that the prosecution could only seek 'blood money' awarding Lama's mother less than 200,000 Saudi Riyals (around 360,350 EGP).
Many will claim that Islam is all about equality, but the fact of the matter is that this Diyya is half the amount that would be granted if he she was a boy, and conversely double the amount that any victim from another faith would have received. The tradition of Diyya comes from the Quran, and is supposed to be a more humane alternative to the practice of an 'eye for eye' retaliation; "A believer should not kill another believer, unless it happens unintentionally; whoever does so unintentionally must pay diyya to the family."
We can understand the idea of Diyya, but the Quran clearly states that it is a form of reprimand for unintentional crimes. What al-Ghamdi did is far from unintentional. Diyya, if enforced, should also be equal for all victims, and it should also supplement imprisonment not replace it. Albawaba News reported the judge presiding over the case as saying: "Blood money and the time the defendant had served in prison since Lama's death suffices as punishment."
A man who rapes and tortures his daughter, should be sentenced to life in prison, with all of his assets rewarded to the victims, no questions asked. How this man was able to escape a harsh sentence is beyond us, and it seems equally odd that the blood money will be paid to his wife. The reported story didn't say anything about the wife leaving her husband, and considering that her daughter was raped and murdered and her husband was still set free, one could imagine that she too is worried for her life, and that no amount of money will change that.
Thankfully, three Saudi activists have filed formal objections to the ruling, and are looking to spread awareness on Twitter using the hashtag #AnaLama (I Am Lama). Hopefully the word spreads, the judge is dethroned, al-Ghamdi is sentenced to rot forever in prison, the justice system is overhauled, and Diyya equality is discussed. But, then again we are talking about Saudi Arabia, and in Saudi Arabia justice is haram.