Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Amputation Machines

The GuillotineYesterday afternoon I was paging through the search words list from the referrals on our site meter when I saw the phrase “hand amputating machine shariah.” I almost continued to the next screen, but then I did a double take, thinking “What the heck was this person looking for?” Whatever it was, he didn’t find it on Gates of Vienna.

So I did some carefully targeted searching for “amputation machines.” There isn’t much information about them out there in the blogosphere — Ed Driscoll and Winds of Change mentioned them briefly back in 2002, and there were several other references in Christian missionary web sites. All were drawing on the same news source (the original of which now seems to be unavailable), which said that Muslim religious authorities in Nigeria were waiting for the arrival of amputation machines to mete out sentences to young thieves.

“Amputation machines”?? Where do they come from? Can you find them in equipment supply catalogues? Do you order them C.O.D. from the Acme Amputation Machine Company?

I found an angry editorial in the Niger Delta Congress by Sonnie Ekwowusi, railing against President Olusegun Obasanjo’s unwillingness or inability to stop the spread of the Shari’ah southwards into the heart of Nigeria:

So the most reasonable thing to do now is to beg Ahmed Sani and his Sharia protagonists for mercy and forgiveness. There is nothing we can do now. I read that they have imported some amputation machines from abroad to facilitate the limbcutting show. Armchair critics of the strong man of Zamfara State should bury their heads in shame. Sokoto State has hired the man as a Sharia consultant with specialty in amputation of the hands of suspected petty thieves. His Excellency will go places. Who knows whether his Excellency, our dear Sani intends to extend his consultancy services to his brethren in the South? Why not if muslims ask for it? Even without asking for it, has it not dawned on these irreligious Southerners that the only thing they need to curb the high incidence of armed robbery in the South is Sharia? Even we need Sharia courts throughout Nigeria to dispense substantial justice approved by Quran, Sunah and Ijitihad of the Maliki School. [emphasis added]

So Nigeria had been importing “amputation machines” from abroad to render the implementation of Shari’ah justice more efficient. How modern of them!

But where was “abroad”?

Then I came across this story from last October in The Anglican Planet by Ian Ritchie, talking about the difficult and painful attempt to achieve interfaith reconciliation in Nigeria:

One of the most contentious issues is Islamic law or sharia. Twelve of nineteen states in northern Nigeria have imposed some form of sharia since 2000. Internationally reported cases of extreme corporal punishments have fuelled the fears of many non-Muslims and moderate Muslims, these include stoning for adultery and the amputation of hands for the offence of stealing.


While there are many reasons for hope, it must also be acknowledged that Christian leaders generally sounded more optimistic about the prospects for peace and dialogue when speaking on the record than when speaking off the record.

One evening we met the Director of Kano’s Hisba. Our host, a Muslim scholar of some note, explained, together with the Director, that the Hisba is an organization, like the Boy Scouts, that was set up to cover areas of public service not being adequately covered by the police, and was nothing to fear.

The next evening Christians told us that the Hisba was set up to enforce sharia. The benign interpretation of Hisba is for public consumption, to smooth the introduction of a parallel police force, they said. They added that soon after Zamfara State started cutting off people’s hands for stealing, Kano State bought hand amputation machines from Saudi Arabia. One man who had witnessed a hand amputation explained how a thief had tried to steal an air conditioner, and was caught by the security guard. “The guard immediately cut off the man’s hand, most painfully. I was so embarrassed.” [emphasis added]

There are several things to note in these paragraphs.

First, the reaction to the cutting off of hands for stealing is “embarrassment”, apparently bypassing shock, horror, anger, outrage, and shame.

Second, the Hisba organization represents itself to the Western media as “like the Boy Scouts”, when it is in fact a version of the muttawa , the religious police. Do you smell taqiyya at work here?

Lastly, the amputation machines are imported from Saudi Arabia. Well, of course! Where else would they come from?

Some sources say that these machines resemble “crude guillotines”. But, no matter how crude they are, you can bet that Saudi Arabia doesn’t actually make them. Saudi Arabia doesn’t make anything but trouble for the rest of the world.

It could be that those machines were originally designed and built in Jamaica, for cutting sugar cane. Or in Taiwan, for cutting up livestock carcasses. But the Saudis applied their native ingenuity to the situation, sized up the African market, and resold the machines to the Hisba.

It’s like the AK-47s carried by the mujahideen in Ramallah and Ramadi and Kashmir: they don’t make them; they can’t make them, but they sure can use them.

Iran executionOr the cranes used to hang women in Iran. They were probably made in the Czech Republic or Belgium, and were designed for building houses or power plants. The Iranians just found a better use for them.

Or the mullahs’ nuclear weapons, the ones that are about to turn Tel Aviv into a green glass crater, if Mahmoud Ahmedinejad has his druthers. The Iranians didn’t spend thousands of man-hours doing the physics and engineering to develop those weapons. They sold the oil and bought the Bomb; that’s all they did.

As a matter of fact, most of the brainpower and sweat back in the 1930s and ’40s that went into the invention of atomic weapons was Jewish. All those Jewish scientists, come to America to escape Hitler and the gas chambers.

Now isn’t that the ultimate irony?


Megan said...

I think it would've been more ironic had the bomb been used on Germany. But yes, the irony doesn't escape me there.

It truly amazes me that sharia is spreading with such little notice from Western media. I guess they're too focused on the spread of militant Christianity. Oh wait... remind me again where Christians are cutting off people's hands for stealing? When was the last Christian stoning for adultery? But there *must* be some sort of Christian death punishment for gays, right?


lostlakehiker said...

It is a mistake to think that Iran has little or no technical ability of its own. While everybody tries to piggyback on the work of earlier investigators, Iran has its own scientists and technicians, and they are fully capable of finding their own solution to the odd difficulty that crops up when the answer isn't to be found in the ``manual''.

For a clue to Iranian capabilities, look up their International Mathematics Olympiad results. In 2005, for instance, Iran came in 7th worldwide, ahead of Britain and France, for instance. (Both nuclear powers, by the way, both generally deemed capable of full-blown technical civilizations.)

Baron Bodissey said...

lostlakehiker --

I'm aware that Iran has plenty of technical and scientific know-how. My point is only that they could not have developed their bomb in the time they did -- if at all -- without buying a lot of help from outside.

And that's generally true of all technological developments within majority-Islamic countries, and has been for centuries.

Also, if the Saudis get the bomb -- which they intend to do -- they will definitely not be be relying much on their native scientific experts.

the mad fiddler said...

the terrorists may have some native intelligence. It must take a certain amount just to be able to wire the bombs so they won't blow up prematurely. But most of their intelligence is given over to depravity and viciousness, and very little to CREATING anything. Even the knives they use to saw the necks of their bound captives are manufactured elsewhere.

Here is a reference to an article by a scientist in Boston, of Arab descent, bemoaning the state of Arab culture and knowledge. I've included a few choice quotes to underscore the problem.

Farouk El-Baz, member of the US National Academy of Engineering, is director of the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing. A veteran of the Apollo Program, he served as Science Adviser to Anwar El-Sadat, late president of Egypt.

Although the Arab region is considered oil-rich and wealthy, all indications point to its knowledge deficit. This fact is clearly conveyed in the Arab Human Development Report: Building a Knowledge Society that was issued in 2003 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report, which I helped to review prior to its publication, pointed out that the Arab region trails behind all other regions in knowledge indicators, except sub-Saharan Africa. These indicators included the number of books, newspapers, radio stations, television channels, telephone lines, personal computers and Internet access.

• The number of patents produced by Arabs is meager; during the past two decades, South Korea registered in the US over 44 times the number of patents from all Arab countries combined.

• ... the number of books translated in all 22 Arab countries is equal to one-fifth of those translated into Greek.

• Although Arabs constitute five per cent of the world population, they produce only 0.8 per cent of the literary

beepbeepitsme said...

RE: stoning

"Everybody Must Get Stoned"