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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

How a tenet of Islamic law could save the life of American crime victim

By Alex Rodriguez


Raymond Davis in police custody




'Blood money' tradition might help resolve U.S.-Pakistani row


JewishWorldReview.com |

JATTOKI, Pakistan — (MCT) Aziz Ahmed was supposed to die. In 2006 he used a meat cleaver to kill a friend he thought had been sleeping with his wife. He confessed and was sentenced to be hanged.

But last month Ahmed won his freedom; not because his confession was recanted or fresh evidence was presented, but because of a wad of cash. He paid the victim's family $9,400 and walked out of prison a free man. The slain man's relatives said they would use the money to buy the widow a cookware shop in this dusty farm town in Punjab, near the Indian border.

"We're not bitter about this at all," said Mohammed Nasir, brother of the victim, Ghulam Sarwar. "This money will take care of Ghulam's wife and children."

What outsiders might describe as "blood money" is a tenet of Islamic law sanctioned by Pakistani jurisprudence and used, by some estimates, in up to 60 percent of homicide cases here. The practice is called diyat, and it could be the means by which the United States and Pakistan extricate themselves from a dangerous diplomatic row that has strained relations between the two governments.

Washington and Islamabad are locked in a standoff over the case of Raymond Davis, the 36-year-old CIA contractor facing murder charges in the deaths of two Pakistani men in the eastern city of Lahore in late January.

Davis says he was the victim of a robbery attempt and shot the men after one of them pulled out a pistol. Authorities in Lahore say Davis' self-defense claim doesn't hold up and plan to put him on trial.


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Despite whirlwind meetings between Pakistani leaders and top U.S. diplomats and lawmakers, the Obama administration has been unable to convince Islamabad that Davis has diplomatic status and therefore is immune from prosecution.

Though the United States has emphasized the importance of safeguarding strong relations with Pakistan, a crucial ally in the war on terrorism, it at one point raised the prospect of suspending billions of dollars in economic and military aid if Davis wasn't quickly freed.

President Asif Ali Zardari's government balked at confirming Davis has immunity and instead put the question of his status in the hands of the Lahore High Court, which on Monday declined to rule on whether Davis has diplomatic immunity, saying it was up to the court hearing the criminal case to decide. The trial court is due to convene Wednesday.

Zardari's weak government, struggling to survive in the face of economic turmoil, waning support from political allies and a resilient homegrown insurgency, fears a backlash from the country's intensely anti-American population if Davis is freed.

Relying on diyat could provide a face-saving way out for both countries, legal experts say. The U.S. would secure Davis' release, and Zardari's government would be able to explain to Pakistanis that the resolution occurred within the bounds of Pakistani law.

For diyat to work, the families of the two men Davis killed, Faizan Haider and Fahim Shamshad, would have to forgive Davis and agree to financial compensation as a resolution. Neither family has decided whether they would accept money.

Waseem Shamshad, Faheem's brother, said his family would consider an offer for diyat. Faheem's wife committed suicide shortly after her husband's death, saying beforehand that she feared Davis would not be tried. Imran Haider, Faizan's brother, said his family is split on the issue.

"Some relatives suggest we should accept the offer so that the issue is resolved," he said. "But 70 percent of the family says he should be convicted."

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani first raised the prospect of diyat in the Davis case in mid-February. U.S. officials have refused to say whether they are considering such compensation to the families.

Human rights advocates view diyat as a flawed, easily exploitable custom that could allow the rich and powerful to kill with impunity and then escape justice by reaching into deep pockets.

"There's a perverse incentive to murder. ... You can pay your way out of it," said Ali Dayan Hasan, South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch. "The presence of this law on the books has led to situations where people can murder the vulnerable with impunity. Women and poor are most victimized."

The law is commonly employed in cases of so-called honor killings, in which men kill a female relative, saying they are avenging shame she brought upon their family. The woman may be a rape victim, have married a man of her own choosing or divorced an abusive husband.

Many families coping with such a killing rely on diyat to resolve the case because the killer represents his household's primary means of income, Hasan said. The family forgives the relative responsible for the killing, though often any money payment is moot because the killer lives in the same household.

"If you are poor and you're losing the family's breadwinner," Hasan said, "you are making a cynical calculation that the other person is dead," and through diyat you can "keep the family together."

Mohammed Mushtaq Ahmad, a law professor at the International Islamic University of Islamabad, estimated that diyat is applied in roughly three of five homicide cases in Pakistan. The amount of money involved varies widely, he said.

"Money cannot compensate for loss of a human being," Ahmad said. "But diyat works as token money so as to declare that the loss of life is not without any consequences.

"Money may not compensate that loss, but it does show that human life has some value."

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© 2011, Los Angeles Times Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.