EGYPT: Do-it-yourself sharia punishment

UnknownEgyptian man addicted to stealing cuts off both his hands…by allowing a train to run over his wrists. Limb amputation is a common punishment under sharia. Now, if only we could get Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Hasan’s head cut off by allowing victims’ families and survivors each to take a smite at his neck with a kitchen knife until it rolls off his shoulders.

UK Daily Mail  Ali Afifi, 28, was apparently so appalled by his habitual crimes that he took his punishment into his own hands. The young man, severed both his hands in his self-inflicted purgatory. His decision was likely to have been drawn from the Islamic teaching of Sharia law – the principles, rules and subsequent punishments that inform every element of life for those who practice Islam.

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Mr Afifi said his stealing ‘disease’ started at a young age, first taking his friend’s lunches at primary school. It then escalated to items in shops and until recently he was taking people’s mobile phones and gold jewellery.  He said he used to give the money he made from the thefts to children and poor families.

But Mr Afifi was unable to cope with the guilt and decided to cut off his hands to put an end to his compulsive behavior.  The Islamic legal system varies between cultures, but it is accepted in some countries that repeated stealing is punishable by cutting off the hand.

Normally, a person caught stealing would be summoned to a Sharia court where Islamic jurists would issue guidance on an issue. But for Mr Afifi, from the central Nile delta region of Tanta, Egypt, he decided he knew what his fate should be, according to the ‘divine law’. 

A Sharia court may issue a punishment of some kind of injury to the hand to someone caught stealing for the first time, such as slowly driving a car wheel over the hand. In countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and northern Nigeria, amputation for repeated stealing is still practiced.

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In Egypt, however, the courts have not permitted judicial amputation for many years. Last year, however, under the new Muslim Brotherhood government,  a bill to reintroduce amputations for certain crimes was proposed.