Christian Judge Gives Unique Punishment To Muslims Who Insulted Mary

Prime Minister Saad Hariri said the sentence promoted harmony between Muslims and Christians through the “teaching of common ideas.”

A Christian judge in Tripoli, Lebanon, is being hailed as hero for doling out a rather unique and educational punishment to three Muslim teenagers who were on trial for insulting a statue of Virgin Mary and mocking Christianity — an offense punishable by up to three years in prison in the multi-faith country where, according to the constitution, the president must be a Maronite Christian and the prime minister a Sunni Muslim.

However, in what is being seen as a progressive move, Judge Joceline Matta did not sentence the defendants, found guilty of “contempt of religion,” to jail or impose hefty fines. Instead, she ordered them to memorize the verses from the Quran that praise and honor the Virgin Mary and Jesus, given the fact both of these religious figures hold high significance in Islam.

“The law is a school and not just a prison,” the judge said while reading out the verdict in court, highlighting how the Muslim holy book honors Mary and how the teenagers needed to learn about that.

As Matta pointed out, an entire chapter of the Quran is named after Mary.

In order to be released, the three young men will have to learn verses from the Surah Al-Omran, which describes Virgin Mary as one of the most revered women in the world. Here’s a part of it:

“And [mention] when the angels said, ‘O Mary, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds’” — Al-Omran [3:42].

Moreover, Jesus is considered a major prophet in Islam.

Matta’s decision caused quite a stir on social media, with political leaders and normal folks praising the judge for taking such a progressive step toward inter-faith harmony among Muslims and Christians in the country.


“A salute to judge of investigations in North of Lebanon, Jocelyn Matta,” wrote Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. “Her ruling against the three young men in Virgin Mary's case, and sentencing them to memorize the Holy Quran's Surat Al-Omran, is the epitome of justice and promotes co-existence between Christians and Muslims.”


“We congratulate the Lebanese on having judges who use the law as a mean to guide and rehabilitate rather than punish,” former Jbeil Mayor Ziad al-Hawat said. “Judge Jocelyn Matta is a role model when it comes to this. Her ruling in this case stresses the need for co-existence and calls on everyone to respect freedom of belief and thought.”

To provide a little context, the Middle Eastern country saw the worst sectarian violence between various religious factions during the 1975 civil war that lasted five bloody years and killed more that 120,000 people.

To encourage peace between different religious communities, not just in Lebanon but in all countries across the world, perhaps more judges should start thinking along the same line.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Pixabay, Free-Photos

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