Always Look on the Bright Side of Pseudo-Biology

From the AFP, at bit of irony from Bauchi State in Nigeria:

An Islamic Sharia court in northern Nigeria has overturned a death sentence imposed on a 29-year-old woman, who gave birth after a divorce and was convicted of adultery.

Daso Adamu was acquitted by the upper Sharia court after the judge, Yusuf Suleiman, ruled that her being pregnant was not enough evidence to warrant a sentence that she be stoned to death.

…Under the interpretation of Sharia, which is in force in much of northern Nigeria, it is regarded as possible that a “dormant pregnancy” might last up to five years from the end of a marriage.

Perhaps the next venture for the Sharia courts will be stickers on biology textbooks, warning that the dogma of nine-month human pregnancies is a theory, not a fact, and should be critically considered. But what about the man Adamu was accused of committing “adultery” with? Reuters quotes from an earlier hearing:

“There is no evidence to link him with the allegation and consequently the court acquitted him for lack of evidence.”

Sharia has been enforced in Bauchi since the end of March 2001, after governor Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu (or Ahmadu Adamu Muazu) signed the Sharia Bill. The Guardian suggested last month that:

Appeal judges and state governors have proved reluctant to sanction stonings, floggings and amputations in the face of outcries from the federal government and foreigners, and also because the political value of such sentences has dwindled. Analysts attributed the rise of sharia partly to northern politicians seeking to tap Muslim discontent with Christian elites and a slow, corrupt judicial system. As those politicians became less popular, so did the sharia they championed.

However, This Day Online (also writing last month) has a different perspective:

Bauchi State Governor Alhaji Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu has restated his administration’s commitment to strengthening the Sharia legal system in the State, maintaining that the Islamic legal code has come to stay.

The Governor said that contrary to the erroneous impression in some quarters that Sharia had been scrapped its implementation would continue to receive full backing of the present administration.

…He added that his administration would render financial support to clerics to correct the moral decadence in the society, noting that its level among the youths was a reminder that all hands must be on deck to correct the ills through the Islamic legal system.

The Christian Post also reported in September that:

The Bauchi District Church Council of Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) has called on the Nigeria state government to withdraw the bill it sponsored to the state House of Assembly on the compulsory teaching of Arabic language and the establishment of Arabic/Islamic Board in the state.

In a letter to the state governor and signed by the chairman and secretary, ECWA Bauchi district, Rev. Dauda Gambo and Dauda S. Galadima, the council said the move was meant to consolidate Sharia in the state.

Well, given that ignorance of basic biology appears to be saving people’s lives just now, perhaps emphasising Arabic language teaching instead would not necessarily be a bad thing…

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