The Libyan woman who was arrested after telling foreign journalists she had been gang-raped by Gaddafi’s troops has been charged, a government spokesman said today.
In a chaotic press conference, the official said Iman Al-Obeidi was being questioned by police – despite a promise that she had been returned to her family. “The accuser has now become the accused,” he added, accusing her of a “grave offence.”
The spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, said the men accused by Iman al-Obeidi are now suing her. A son of a high ranking Libyan official was among those she claimed had raped her, he said. “The boys she accused are bringing a case against her because it’s a very grave offence to accuse someone of a sexual crime,’ he told reporters in the Libyan capital.”
Grave offense (repeated twice), indeed, according to Koran 24.4, which states: “And those who accuse honorable women but bring not four witnesses, scourge them (with) eighty stripes and never (afterward) accept their testimony.” If the claim of rape is not thus “proven” by this essentially impossible standard, such severe Sharia punishment remains sanctioned by authoritative Islam as a “hadd” offense.
Moreover it also merits noting that the broader Islamic understanding of “slander” (for lesser offenses) bears no resemblance to its conception in Western law—slander is merely offensive to, or “disliked” by the person being targeted. It does not have to be false, or damaging, or financially harmful. Reliance of the Traveller, or ‘Umdat al-Salik, is a highly widely respected classical manual of Islamic jurisprudence is by the 14th century jurist Ahmad ibn Naqib Al-Misri, endorsed for contemporary use by the “Sunni Vatican” of Islam, Cairo’s Al-Azhar University. Here is how “slander” is defined by this as authoritative Islamic Law manual, invoking a tradition of the Muslim prophet Muhammad:
“Do you know what slander is?” They answered, “Allah and His messenger know best.” He said, “It is to mention of your brother that which he would dislike.” Someone asked, “what if he is as I say?” And he replied, “If he is as you say, you have slandered him, and if not, you have calumniated him.” [emphasis added]
[Thus] Slander and talebearing are two of the ugliest and most frequently met with qualities among men, few people being safe from them. I have begun with them because of the widespread need to warn people of them…Slander (ghiba) means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike…