Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Primitive Justice

I have mentioned previously the appearance of shari’ah courts in Somalia, particularly Mogadishu, and their growing influence in the chaotic political environment with its warlord-based culture.

Now we have this story from the BBC about the execution of harsh Koranic justice by one of these courts:

A teenage Somali boy has stabbed to death his father’s killer in a public execution ordered by an Islamic court.

Large crowds gathered at a Koranic school in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, to watch Mohamed Moallim, 16, stab Omar Hussein in the head and throat.

Hussein had been convicted of killing the boy’s father, Sheikh Osman Moallim, after a row about Mohamed’s education.

Islamic courts have brought a semblance of order to Mogadishu, imposing Sharia law after years of rule by warlords.

However there is some opposition to the courts. A group of warlords has been fighting a militia loyal to the Islamic courts, which they accuse of links to al-Qaeda.

What I want you to notice is the approving tone with which the BBC describes the social effects of Koranic justice:

Residents in the nearby area have reported a drop in robberies, murder and general lawlessness since the court began its work, Radio HornAfrik said.

Do you think the BBC would have written so approvingly if the fathers of Swedish girls had taken the law into their own hands and dispatched the rapists of their daughters?

Do they applaud the “vigilante” Minutemen in the southwestern United States as they exercise their rights as citizens, and keep illegal aliens out of the country?

Want to take bets?

So vigilante justice is appropriate when illiterate non-white Thirld World folk administer it to each other? A little throat-cutting here, a beheading there — that’s just the way they do things in those heathen parts, right?

It’s a cultural thing; no need to be judgmental.

Hat tip: commenter Scott.


SC&A said...


It's all relative...

Baron Bodissey said...

CapZap --

On the contrary, it is quite "well selected". Sweden is undergoing an epidemic of rape at the hands of its Muslim immigrants (see Fjordman for details, with statistics), and the Swedish authorities are unwilling to take any serious action to stop it. Vigilante action would be understandable, given the circumstances.

But my point is that were white Europeans to do such things (not bloody likely!), the BBC and its ilk would definitely not approve of it.

X said...

The swedish government is pro islam; the swedish people are very against the rampant immigration and lack of assimilation by muslim immigrants. Lets not confuse the two. Sweden has been ruled by a left-wing political class since the early 60s and they've ruled with a mixture of fearmongering and guilt-tripping by casually mentioning the nazis whenever someone disagrees with the left-wing position. As you can imagine this has left the people of the country very demoralised, politically speaking.

Sooner or later they'll see through the lies of their media and act accordingly, but whether that will be soon enough... 8 million people doomed by their pathetic government. Not really something to harp about.

Baron Bodissey said...

Russell --

In a local sense it may not be vigilante justice. After all, the people of a village or community may have put together the Shari'ah court as the expression of their will to justice. But it's also possible that the courts are imposed by armed gangs.

In any case, the court was not a part of a larger justice system, nor part of any government which is accountable to the people. There's no evidence that Mogadishu is anything other than a collection of micro-tyrannies, run by competing warlords, some Islamist, some not.

That makes their justice "vigilante", IMHO.

Baron Bodissey said...

Russell --

You're bounding after phantasms here. One can expand the idea of "vigilante" so that all justice can be so-named. At the opposite extreme, one can designate any group of people who get together and agree to kill someone as a "valid justice system."

I'm not going to either extreme. Somalia is generally lacking in political structures of any functioning kind. Therefore any justice dispensed by the warlord groups is going to be pretty indistinguishable from vigilante justice.

Or we could think of a new word, used to describe justice as dispensed by local thugs and brigands among people in their thrall. I think that's what this is.

The man who was killed may well be guilty, and may even have deserved to die, but that won't make me describe this as a functioning system of justice.