The Little Girl Who Inspired This Blog 5

I’d had the idea for Moral Compass since early 2011, I think. Maybe it was earlier than that, but that’s when I registered the domain name and asked an illustrator to create the rotating banners at the top.

But you know how it goes. Life got busy, clients called, my family needed a husband and a dad, we adopted two dogs, and on and on.

Then, in February, I learned of this little girl:

Her name was Lama al-Ghamdi. She was five. This is what her very religious father did to her:

A prominent Saudi Arabian preacher who raped his 5-year-old daughter before torturing her to death has been spared a death sentence or even a lengthy prison term after agreeing to pay “blood money” to the slain girl’s mother. [He] was arrested last November and charged with brutally raping and torturing 5-year-old Lama al-Ghamdi to death. According to a medical report, the little girl had been tortured with whips, electric shocks and an iron. She had broken arms, a broken back and a fractured skull.

The man, Fayhan al-Ghamdi, is a respected Islamic scholar, and a regular commentator on issues of religion and morality for several Muslim TV channels. He’s a bit of a holy man, really. See for yourself:

According to social worker Randa al-Kaleeb, Lama had been raped “everywhere.” Agence France-Presse reports that hospital staff told the girl’s mother that her “daughter’s rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed.”

By the grace of Allah the Mighty, the Merciful, al-Ghamdi received just a metaphorical rap on the knuckles, “spared a death sentence or even a lengthy prison term after agreeing to pay blood money.”

Lama was the spark that finally lit my fuse. She is why you are visiting this blog right now, and why I spend countless hours updating it with the latest examples of religious hypocrisy and evil.

Moral Compass is dedicated to what I call, with a wink, “calibrating the faithful.” It’s a chronicle of religious wickedness — one that, by its nature, pokes fun at the delusional claims by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

You can help, if you wish, by sending suggestions for new posts.

My thoughts frequently drift to Lama al-Ghamdi. She continues to be an inspiration.

The only reason I’m sorry there is no heaven, is that Lama sure didn’t get much of a life on earth.

And the only reason I’m sorry there is no hell, is that I find it oddly gratifying to picture Lama’s father and his ilk spending eternity immersed in a lake of fire.

5 thoughts on “The Little Girl Who Inspired This Blog

  1. Julie Sinclair Apr 4, 2013 6:00 pm

    What a terribly sad and terrifying story. I can’t understand why religions throw up these sort of people. Personally I am Church of England affiliated and my husband is a vicar and we and the people we associate with are “nice” and intend only good to the people with whom we interact. I can’t for the life of me think how people who claim to believe in a good and holy God can carry out such vile acts.

  2. Terry Firma Apr 4, 2013 6:35 pm

    I can’t see how people can make claim that either, Julie. Yet here we are. Read my blog and you’ll see a fairly terrifying volume of crimes — almost all culled from current news reports — committed by people of faith who’ve spent their lives insisting they possess a superior, God-given sense of right and wrong.

  3. Joel Apr 5, 2013 4:47 am

    This is shockingly horrible. I’ve seen dead bodies. Hell, I’ve MADE dead bodies, but this…this is grotesque beyond all I would ever want to imagine. Honestly, as an atheist, I’d love to take part in giving that girls father the living hell he deserves. And as a parent, I hope to help create a world where this can’t happen.

  4. Gregory W. Willett Apr 6, 2013 2:07 pm

    I rarely express my feeling on subjects like this, because I feel like a grain of sand trying to hold back an epic tidal wave of injustices in the world. I’m just trying to survive life as best I can. That alone is a struggle & my own personal hell.

    I believe in no religion, although I was raised Catholic. It never made logical sense to me, so I have cast that label off as useless. I am a very moral person, or at least I do my best to be. I strive to to treat others with respect & kindness as best as I’m able. This is very difficult when confronted with situations like this.

    There is little shortage of monsters like this man, & since the beginning of time, until the end of time, who will still claim the moral high ground despite their crimes. I would cry a river of tears, if I thought it would help, but I only feel that I wish I could be blind, deaf & mute to save my sanity by being regularly accosted by cases of this kind.

    I sometimes wish there was a heaven & a hell for those deserving the fruits of their respective rewards, but as a thinking person I know that they are just fairy stories created by peoples long ago in order to make sense of a confusing world that they were confronted with. Religion is retained by most as a collective crutch to the alternative of accepting that the universe is just a collection of random events ruled by the laws of physics or other forces that we may never truly understand.

    The world is filled with people who are sheep, following whatever shepherd they happen to latch onto, despite the shortcomings that leader may exhibit eventually. We are all fallible, especially our leaders.

    I glean wisdom from wherever I find it, no matter it’s source, & discard the rest as if separating the wheat from the chaff. When confronted with injustices like this case, the animal, human nature side of me is tempted to give this man the justice I feel he deserves, but I know that isn’t the moral or logical thing to do. In the animal kingdom, if an event like this were to occur, the group would attack & kill the perpetrator, then go on with their lives with no remorse. But we humans, thinking we are higher, more evolved beings, entrust justice to our respective chosen higher authorities to resolve. All too often, they fail us, to our disgust & dismay.

    I truly wish I had a good answer to resolve the horrors that life regularly visits upon us, but I’m at a loss for words to make sense of it all. I fantasize of a world of peace love & justice that I know is only a daydream. I tell people regularly that all I can do is the best I can, & hope for the best. I rarely voice my feeling on events that surround me, for fear I will be ground to dust by the world & it’s plethora of little self-serving dictators in every walk of life. I know that a wiser man than me once said that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” . Forgive me for not having the strength or willpower to do anything.

    One last thought, & it’s not to excuse the acts of this “respected Islamic scholar”. He deserves to be punish for this despicable crime by an independent & impartial authority & lose all respect as an authority on morality. But who or what in his life led him to become this vile beast that we heap our disgust & rage on.

    People like this don’t start out to be monsters. We all start out in life as innocents, & the people & culture around us mold us to become the angels or devils that we become as adults. We know from study that abusers frequently start out by being abused themselves. I see two victims here. Lama is just the latest chapter in this cycle of abuse. Fayhan, I’m sure knows that what he did was wrong, but is unwilling or incapable of admitting it, or taking responsibility for his actions. And his culture is allowing him to shirk his moral responsibility to admit & accept his just punishment.

    This is one of my own personal curses. It’s the ability to look at both sides of a conflict or question. I can have a foot in both camps. The one that thinks he deserves any harsh penalty that he might be sentenced to, & the other side that feel even he, the monster, deserves our compassion.

    I’m no King Solomon, possessing sagely wisdom about this, but I also blame the culture & society that allows this kind of travesty of justice. Too often we blame a religion or faith for the bad acts by it’s follower, when it’s really the local culture & tradition that is to blame. I was always taught to forgive the sinner, but not the sin. It’s always been my belief that bearing the burden of ill will towards other bad actor in life is as much a weight to carry as the guilt of a crime. We must lay down our hatred & malice towards others, or forever be shackled by it. We must live our lives by looking forward with knowledge of the past, but not live in the past, forever to be dragged down by it. Without the ability to turn foes into friends, we are lost & trapped in a cycle of hatred & conflict that will never end.

    I remember a scene from a movie once, where one character was telling a story to another who blamed an incident the his past for ruining his life. He continually harped about if it hadn’t happened, his life would be better. Without telling the whole scene, the gist of the story was, to have a happy life, we must always have something good in our lives to look forward to, no matter how trivial. To dwell in the past forever cripples us & our future happiness. We can remember the past, but we must not live there. We must live in the here & now, with hopes of better things to come. That is the true secret of happiness.

    Forgive the opinion of this humble nobody & my feeble attempt to make sense of the madness of the world I’m surrounded by. I am not a man of letters, or any high degree of education. I’m only the voice of one thinking person in a world of a roaring cacoffiny of opinions. It’s at times like this that I shed a tear for the injustice that dwells in the world. But my tears & anguish alone are no answer. I can only inspire those around me to be better people & citizens of the world to make it a better place.

    These are my word & thoughts in the hopes that I can inspire us all to be better, more caring citizen & neighbor to those around us. That is all I have to give.

    Gregory W. Willett

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