Thursday, November 20, 2008

Islam, Judaism Speak Out

Islam, Judaism speak out published: Sunday November 16, 2008
TO TAKE a life of a murderer is to save the life of many, says Sheikh Musa Tijani of the Islamic Council of Jamaica.
"When someone kills and he knows he will be killed, he thinks twice to do it and that will make people live in peace and harmony," he says.
Tijani, who is head of education and Dawah (which means calling people to the religion), says the Koran teaches that capital punishment is the law of God, and robbery and murder of the innocent are crimes punishable by death.
He says if Jamaica reimplements capital punishment, the island's ghastly murder rate is likely to be reduced.
"That is one thing that can help to solve the problem if they utilise it properly," he comments. By that he means the State must act fairly in carrying out capital punishment.
"In Islam, we believe that everybody has to be under the law; no one should be above the law; everybody has to get the same punishment," he adds.
That the innocent could inadvertently be killed in the process of carrying out capital punishment should be no excuse for discarding the system, Tijani states. He says the occurrences of such cases are minimal and all that needs to be done is to improve the process of investigation to minimise such occurrences.

The rights of the victim

"That is what happens in every country. So, as long as it is not a [deliberate attempt] to kill the person, then you cannot use it as an excuse not to perform it. When you talk about human rights, what about the rights of the victim?" questions Tijani.
The stance on capital punishment is not so clearly defined by the world's oldest religion, Judaism.
Spiritual leader Ainsley Henriques says Judaism strongly advocates preserving life, but will subscribe to the observance of capital punishment if it is the law of the land.
"We acquiesce to the majority consideration in this regard, recognising, however, that as far as we are concerned, life is a sacred blessing," he says.
He adds that modern Jewish thought is opposed to capital punishment, but might support its observance in extreme circum-stances. There has only been one execution in the history of the modern state of Israel for crimes committed against Jews during the Holocaust.


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