Bangladeshi Woman Caned To Death For Adultery

Sufia Begum, a Bangladeshi woman who was sentenced to 40 lashes under Sharia law for having an affair with her stepson, died earlier this month of injuries that appeared to result from the caning, although police are still investigating the cause of her death.  Two people, including a Muslim cleric and a woman who apparently carried out the beating, have been arrested, and the police say they are looking for four others.  Punishments inspired by religious edicts or fatwas (legal opinions) were banned by the Bangladeshi government earlier this year, and this appears to be the first fatality linked to a punishment under Islamic law since the practices were officially banned.

The beating, which took place in mid-November, sounds horrific.  “Village elders tied 10 canes together and beat her legs,” police chief Azizul Haq Sarker said to the AFP.  Her brother, Taimur Rahman, filed a complaint with the police, saying that the caning caused fatal damage to her kidneys.

“Her body was swollen, and I couldn’t even recognize her,” Rahman said.  The family was apparently unable to raise the money for medical treatment, which explains why the injuries – awful as I’m sure they were – resulted in her death.

In a heavily Muslim country, Sharia law carries an understandable amount of weight, but the government has vowed to crack down on punishments like these, although many seem to flout the ban.  I’m concerned by some of the media coverage of this story (one piece refers to a “creeping tide of Sharia” in Bangladesh), which makes Islamic law, something that is extremely nuanced and complex, seem like a demonic force, but anything that can inspire a woman’s death should be attracting the government’s attention.  What the Bangladeshi government can do is another story.  I’m hopeful, though, because Begum’s brother is standing up for her rights – his outrage, and the anger of other family members, can be a powerful force for shedding light on the horror of these punishments.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.


valda p.
valda p6 years ago

The men?of Islam love Sharia Law as it gives them complete control over their women ,and makes the women responsible for all their deficiencies,,they are -gutless wonders,and so arrogant ,I have seen videos of the women being -flogged ,shot ,stoned to death etc,it makes my blood boil ,how dare they do that to her ,she is worth 100 times more than him ,how will they ever escape from this male dominating religious ideology -I know what I would do ,I hope one day -she will .

fadzilah d.
fadzilah din6 years ago

I disaggree. I think religions came about to teach people to be moral and ethical. And then some people corrupt their religions because they don't respect other humans or other creatures, or its true teachings are against their self interest.

But there are still some people who believe in doing the right thing. And these are the really religious people.

ROLF P6 years ago

Religion was used to control the population before there were laws and courts as we know them today. And religions second function was to give people something to fight about. Isn't it about time we got rid of religion all together. It's useless, it's just something to fight about, and a way for Muslims to keep their people stupid. The worst part is that it serves to DEGRADE and HUMILIATE women. To these neophytes it serves their purpose, women are only good for having babies and little boys are for pleasure, and they have a problem with homosexuality, they are all GAY.

fadzilah d.
fadzilah din6 years ago

This is not Shariah because the guy was not caned too. In order to cane someone you have to have 4 witnesses seing the perpetrators in action. If only 3 witnesses you can only fine or jail them. As it is, it is the law of the Bangladeshis that are anti women.

Gerald Reynolds

Do you really think this is news? This has been going on since before Mohammad and Islam for cryin' out loud. It is a stone age cultural phenomena and a man will use whatever power base he can to get to the top of whatever organization the culture has put together, it will not change until we change it. Mohammad saw religion as a great tool because he was intelligent enough to realize the stupidstitious nature of the people at that time and it has been that way for 1000s of years he is just the most contemporary...well, actually Stalin's communism was relisious in nature as was NAZIsm ... As a matter of fact the christians / jews were no better in their treatment of women and children for at least 1000 years before the until we do away with all cults as the mythological trash they are....

TERRY R6 years ago


Ellene J.
Past Member 6 years ago

Muslims again? You don't say...I'm shocked--NOT. We must send the message repeatedly...WOMEN ARE PEOPLE, not chattel! A holy man and a woman. It's not religion, it's the bastardization of the scriptures to accommodate the barbaric cultural of knuckle-dragging cave dwellers who continue to exploit women and female children.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

Why can't you that debate different religions and how true they are and how unholy the other one's faith is, go somehwere else so people that have something important to say about the issue at hand, can be found easily instead of me having to scroll thru 174 comments before I can read the ones that interest me???

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

My first thought was like Sue T. -- what was the punishment for the man? And just a day ago, I read of two other female deaths for adultery; no mention of the men. Nada.

Adultery is wrong to one's spouse, but this sharia law is insane. For the community to take it upon themselves, to punish someone for a personal failing, is ridiculous. I like the law of "live and let live." Stay out of my business, and I'll stay out of yours -- unless you are hurting someone else, interfering with someone else's rights -- then, I will speak up.

Sue T.
Susan T6 years ago

What happened to the man?

Sharia law is wrong. Where are the feminists on this issue? Where are progressives on this issue!?

this aspect of being a Muslim is so sick and wrong and horrifying....Where are Muslims denouncing this type of behavior!

THIS is the problem in the world.

sick sick sick