CII decisions

A disregard of scientific method

The dislike for science has marked the clergy, be they Muslim or Christian, over centuries. From Galileo to Darwin scientists faced stiff resistance from Church and were either punished or scoffed at. Once a scientific discovery is widely accepted, the clergy suddenly takes the stand that it had already been mentioned in the holy book and the scientist making the claim of discovery had just borrowed the idea. It has been no different in the Muslim world. Once offering prayers led by an imam using a loudspeaker was considered suspect while later on landing on the moon was described as a brazen lie.

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) has re-affirmed its earlier decision, announced in May, that the DNA tests are not admissible as the main evidence in rape cases. The decision is a devastating blow to the rape victims who have been left quite helpless if not totally hapless. The CII has though agreed, that too reportedly after a heated debate, that the DNA test can be used as supplementary evidence. Before their pronouncement in May, the police had relied heavily on DNA tests during investigations in such cases. The standard police practice has been to register rape cases only after obtaining DNA test results and presenting the report before the court as the main evidence. There was a strong reaction to the CII decision from human rights groups and the media. The HRCP maintained that pronouncement by the CII brought no credit to this body and certainly not to the country, but most important of all it was exceptionally insensitive and unkind to rape victims. It was maintained that suggesting that the DNA test was inadmissible as primary evidence helps the rapist and no one else. However, in June the newly elected Sindh Assembly defied the CII by passing a resolution that required making DNA report as mandatory with costs supported by the government.

That the blasphemy law is widely misused has been recognised even by some of the ulema. That is why the CII has called for changes in the law. It wants death penalty for those who falsely accuse others of blasphemy while declaring the Blasphemy Act as valid, legal and in conformity with Islamic laws. The amendment is supposed to ensure that nobody uses religion to settle personal scores. The charge is sometime levelled to settle scores, acquire possession of property or simply on the basis of hearsay. Once a person is arrested it takes years, sometime eight to 10 years, to prove his or her innocence in courts. Even if honourably acquitted the innocent victim is not safe. Emotions are easily stirred to the point of boiling rage at the mere suspicion of blasphemy. There are cases of people having been killed inside the jail or after they were released.

Both the issues had come up before the CII for reconsideration, among the 21-point agenda it was tasked to consider. One was hopeful that the Council would have seen the light, reviewed their earlier opinion and ruled DNA tests admissible as main evidence in rape cases. While DNA tests cannot confirm whether it was a consensual intercourse or rape, they can establish the identity of the man accused of committing rape. While the Council’s recommendations on amendments in blasphemy law are more useful, it has utterly failed in performing its duties on the issue of DNA test.

One Comment;

  1. M. T. Ali said:

    It is Almighty which created a specific DNA for every individual human being and his off-springs. Science has just discovered what nature invented billions of years ago. In Islam there is no role for a paid, professional clergy, unlike Christianity or Judaism etc, and therefore these individuals have no right to give to themselves sole authority to interpret religion. Science is just the capacity of humans to utilize the immense capacity of a human brain, to understand nature and its use for betterment of human race. The inventions are just a discovery of what exists. For the CII to refuse to accept the authencity of DNA, is to deny what God created.

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