Friday, October 17, 2008

On Swedish TV, a Muslim Woman Supports Stoning Adulteresses

The following material is drawn from articles on the websites for Sveriges Television (SVT, Swedish state television) and Kvällstidningen Expressen. The translation is a joint effort by our Swedish correspondent LN and a Swedish reader who comments here occasionally as “Derailed Cluetrain”, and who is a regular contributor at Falkblick.

Derailed Cluetrain gives us some background on the principal figure in this controversy:

Cherin AwadCherin Awad is a “professional Muslim” who has made a career out of representing her faith in Swedish media and establishment venues, with a resumé that includes writing for Svenska Dagbladet (national Swedish daily), the “Ramadan blog”, holding lectures about multiculturalism and Muslims for police students at the Växsjö University and the Swedish state department, frequent appearances as a guest on Swedish talk shows, and now finally as a host for the SVT (Swedish Television, the national broadcaster) program “Halal-TV”.

Since this issue became public after bloggers raised it, SVT has removed from their web site the program description text described in the translation below, without any explanation of why they chose to do so. It should be noted that Ms. Awad was 19 years old, a law student, and already a well-established talking head representing the Muslim population in Sweden at the time, which makes the efforts by her defenders to portray her statement as “youthful exuberance” dubious at best.

And LN summarizes the “Ramadan Blog”:

A diary of three young Muslims writing a lot of uninteresting stuff under captions like these:

  • First Day of Eid
  • Joy and gratitude
  • An unforgettable day
  • Happy Eid
  • Now it’s Eid!
  • Take the custom where you come
  • Muslim for a day
  • Thank you for yesterday
  • Some questions are more than just stupid
  • Succeed in convincing yourself about who you are


Now for the translation from Expressen:

Cherin Awad takes back her declaration that it is OK to stone unfaithful women

Halal-TV kvinnorCherin Awad, Dalia Azzam Kassem, and Khadiga el Khabiry are three Swedish Muslim young women who look at Sweden and Swedishness on Halal-TV, shown here together with Mona Sahlin.

Recants her opinion on death penalty

One of the participants in a new venture called “Halal-TV” on Swedish Television (SVT) show, has said that it is right for women who have been unfaithful to be stoned to death.

Three weeks before the start of the series, Cherin Awad is backing away from her statement.
- - - - - - - - -
“It’s regrettable that I expressed myself in that way,” she tells Expressen.

In November, SVT starts broadcasting the program “Halal-TV”, in which three Muslim women give their perspectives on Sweden. One of them is Cherin Awad, a lawyer, lecturer and writer on the “Ramadan blog” of Svenska Dagbladet.

“She is one of three leading ladies. There is no host, just three women doing a travelogue on their country,” says Gunnar Hofverberg, the project leader for “Halal-TV”.

Stoned to death

In December 2003, Cherin Awad appeared on SVT’s program “Existens”, which deals with lifestyles and social issues, that particular show being dedicated to an unmarried women in Nigeria who risked being stoned to death because she gave birth to a child.

After the feature a studio debate followed, in which the host asked Cherin Awad if she thought it was right to stone an unfaithful woman.

She replied that it was “virtually impossible” to be sentenced to stoning, because juridically it requires so much evidence for such a penalty to be imposed. Such evidence must be that the woman confesses, or that there are four witnesses to the infidelity.

Capital Punishment is Right

But she did not answer the question about whether the punishment is right or wrong.

“The penalties are harsh, because God shows us human beings that it is incredibly appalling to behave in such a way,” said Cherin Awad.

The host followed up with another question:

“But if the criteria are met, if you have four witnesses, if a woman or a man confesses to adultery, according to you, would it (stoning to death) be the correct punishment?

“Yes,” Cherin Awad responded without hesitation.

SVT’s own description on the program schedule, which SVT recently removed from its website, described her position:

“According to her, the evidence requirements are so strict that the sentence can never be applied in practice. But if she has to choose, God’s law always precedes man’s law. And the penalty for adultery is death.”


But according to Gunnar Hofverberg, the schedule text is unfair.

“It’s been spun fairly hard,” he says.

When Expressen contacted Cherin Awad, she said she regrets her statement, explaining that she felt pressured by the situation.

“It’s regrettable that I expressed myself that way. I am against capital punishment, and was even then. But unfortunately I expressed myself in a manner that I regret,” she said.

Hat tip: Fjordman.


Steen said...

Whats particulary interesting about this story, is that it all started with a small article in Sydsvenskla Dagbladet by Paul Nilson some five weeks ago. It was follow up close by this blog

then by me and a lot of swedish blogs - and heureka, at last it reached the newspapers the day before yesterday.

Its only the second time the swedish blogosphere has moved anything, but it is never the less promising. (In Denmark we have gotten used to the media using our stories. I do hope the same for the swedish bloggers, though the filter between them and MMS is ´more tightly knit.)

Fjordman said...

I wonder what Ms. Sahlin told these veiled women. Perhaps she talked about the Medal Award she earned last year. It's probably just the thing they need at the local mosque.

Unknown said...


The shutters between blogs and MSM outlets are ever more firmly in place in Sweden, if anything. There was a time, a year or so ago, when newspapers would allow trackbacks from blogs when writing stories about immigration or criminality. Those days are gone - while they still welcome and allow trackbacks from bloggers on random celebrity stories, trivia features and gardening, they've instigated a policy of total lock down on links from political features in general and anything even tangentially related to immigration in particular.

One reason the MSM reaction to this story has been so mild - imagine if a native Swedish Christian had said something like this! - is that Mrs. Awad is so deeply embedded in the MSM already. They are distinctively uncomfortable writing about the issue, seeing how most papers in Sweden and the State TV has been relying on her opinions and punditry for years. You'll note the translated article above if from Expressen's Uppsala online edition, not from it's national online edition...

ɱØяñιηg$ʇðя ©™ said...

I'm glad this dirty laundry of SVT finally gets som international attention. What ms. Awad has given us is lip service nothing else. I can only guess but I think SVT is not too happy about all this attention just a couple of weeks before Halal-tv starts to broadcast. Our guess is that SVT wants to give ordinary swedish citizens a positive spin on islam enshrouded in wool. So give us all the help you can to make this debacle an utter embarassment for S(tasi)TV.

Anonymous said...

She's lying about both her "regret" (she regrets exposing the truth, not the truth itself) and the evidentiary requirement (4 witnesses are only required when you accuse somebody else, your own accusation is sufficient to condemn you if you were the other adulterous party). If it were in fact "virtually impossible", there wouldn't be so many stonings in Iran. Besides, in practice only women are stoned for that crime, which she conveniently forgets to mention.

Anonymous said...

A Christian View:

Stoning, the Heart of the Law, and Progressive Revelation