Eid and Execution

December 29, 2006

This official – quoted by the Times in their coverage of the chaos surrounding the plans for the execution – is undoubtedly right in emphasizing the value in doing this right. You’d think that would be a lesson everyone would have learned by now. (Not to mention that due process and the rule of law and so on are the most precious aspects of what America has to offer the world. :

An Iraqi official close to the negotiations expressed deep disappointment that, after years of forensic investigation, detailed litigation, and careful deliberation, the process could be compromised in the final hours by politically driven haste.

“According to the law, no execution can be carried out during the holidays” said another official, “After all the hard work we have done, why would we break the law and ruin what we have built?”

The Muslim holiday of Eid begins Saturday for Sunnis, and Sunday for Shiites, who now control the government.

Iraqi law seemed to indicate that executions were forbidden on the holiday.

What interests/frightens me, though, is the way the Times, and no doubt countless others, are reporting it, as if Sunnis and Shi`a celebrate Eid on different days, like Christmas in the Eastern and Western church. Actually, it break down that way, and the reason some “Sunnis” in Iraq might be celebrating Eid on Saturday is because they are trying to follow the Saudi-Wahhabi government which has a long standing policy of ensuring that both Eids and the Hajj (which is connected) are celebrated on a day when it would have been impossible to have Eid according to orthodox Sunni criteria. I know nothing of Shi`i fiqh and how they arrived at their conclusion, but it would almost certainly be the same – or a day later – had traditional Sunni fiqh (or any standards whatsoever) been applied to the situation in Iraq. Besides, orthodox Islam also says that Eid is when the government says it is. The Iraqi government is at least as legitimate as the Saudis – so if the hujjaj have to have their Eid on Saturday, then the Iraqi Wahhabis can grumble their way to the Eid grounds on Sunday. And, of course, the rest.

Iraq Prepares to Execute Hussein – New York Times

Some Moonsighting details.

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