Robert Fisk: Why did no imams plead for Akmal Shaikh's life to be spared?

Robert Fisk: Why did no imams plead for Akmal Shaikh's life to be spared?
How many Muslim clerics condemned the execution of Chinese Uighur Muslims?

The Independent, 30 December 2009

Akmal Shaikh got a raw deal from his co-religionists. Not from the West, mark you. From the Foreign Office down to the humblest humanitarian agency, the heirs of the Age of Enlightenment pleaded for the life of this 53-year-old mentally disturbed drug smuggler whom the Chinese authorities cruelly executed by lethal injection yesterday morning. But from the imams of Al-Azhar and the great teaching mosques of the world – from Cairo and from Mecca and from Qom and from Mashad – there came only silence. Well, did you really expect the Islamic experts in jurisprudence to speak up for a man caught with 4 kilos of heroin in Urumqi?

I can see how China's roaring economy would mute the voice of even the most courageous and humanitarian of clerics in the Islamic homeland. When China promises to oppose the US in the Middle East – albeit for its own self-interest – what Arab is going to take China to task for killing a Muslim drug-smuggler?

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