On Ayaan Hirsi Ali, women and Islam


by Sunny
19th May, 2006 at 3:21 pm    

Following a previous debate where Clairwil laid a smackdown on Old Pickler, she wrote this on her own blog:

I should stress that I have no quarrel with [Ayaan Hirsi Ali's] decision to reject Islam. Whilst I personally have no religious beliefs, I accept that other people do and believe that Ali was ultimately more concerned with promoting her personal view of Islam than supporting Muslim women. The difficulty with her position is that it is unrealistic to expect vast numbers of Muslim women to accept it. After all in rejecting Islam they would be rejecting their own sincerely held religious beliefs, and in some cases their friends and family not to mention social and cultural attachments. Rather than go over the whole Ali business again , I intend to ramble for a bit about Islam and women.

It cannot be denied that from a feminist perspective the Qu’ran contains a number of troubling passages, though I am baffled at the insistence of some that this is ‘real’ Islam whereas the more female friendly passages can be safely ignored. Could the hostility between the Muslim fundamentalists and the Islamaphobes be mutual projected self loathing, given that their interpretations of Islam are strikingly similar?

I take the view that if you are concerned with the rights of Muslim women rather than seeking opportunities to attack Islam, then your time would be better spent educating Muslim women about their religious rights than telling them to give up their religion. If you claim you are not Islamophobic but are critical of Islam as it is currently practised, then give all these women your support. Oh and of course I will expect your full support of my western feminist goals. Otherwise I might get the wrong idea and think you’re going in for all that ‘ uncivilised barbarians mistreating their bitches’ stuff and I’d doubt your commitment to the ladies cause.

This is what I call hitting the nail on the head. Read Clairwil’s full post – it is worth it.


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  1. Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying » Wide World of Blogs!

    [...] This blog offers an interesting window into race relations and immigrant issues in Great Britain. It offers a South Asian perspective on the issues of the day with a decidedly progressive twist. Today’s post discusses the extreme views of Ayaan Hirsi Ali who is either a champion of women against Islam or a hatemonger and an opportunist, depending on where you sit. Regardless of what you think of Ali, she is certainly part of the debate that is raging all over Europe about Islam and its place in the Western World. [...]




  1. Sid — on 19th May, 2006 at 3:51 pm  

    Thank you Clairwil. Thank you Sunny.
    Excellent.

  2. justforfun — on 19th May, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

    This is what I call hitting the nail on the head – Surely you mean hitting ‘your thumb’ not the nail.

    Re-read what she has written , but before that I suggest people get hold of a copy of

    “Bad Thoughts – a Guide to Clear Thinking” by Jamie White – published by corvobooks.

    I think it was Ishmaeel who said quoted someone – “A donkey carrying books is not literate”. Well this would apply to Clairwil’s thoughts on the subject. The english is grammatically correct but the logic is so flawed as to make the whole piece meaningless.

    Justforfun

  3. Roger — on 19th May, 2006 at 4:09 pm  

    You seem to be confused about Ms Ali’s intentions when you say “The difficulty with her position is that it is unrealistic to expect vast numbers of Muslim women to accept it. ” Did she want them to? Ms Ali wanted muslims to stop being muslims and to abandon some of their more repellent habits- like FGM- but her main purpose was to say that islam was false and had a bad effect on its followers and that nonmuslims would be wiser not to trust muslims. In fact if she had wanted to “support muslim women” as muslim women she would have had to pretend to still be a believing muslim. Would you prefer tactical hypocrisy, perhaps? That isn’t a rhetorical question.
    As for the quran’s attitude to women, it’s worth remembering that the quran is addressed to men on how to treat “their” women. The quran is woman-friendly just as the RSPCA is animal-friendly. People who are concerned about rights have a different perspective to either. It only takes one hostile generalisation to qualify every woman-friendly remark in the quran.
    Like Ms Ali, I take the word of strict muslims- and the quran- that the quran cannot be modified or changes. I wish the feminist muslims the best of luck but i can’t see why they strain at the gnat of islam’s attitude to women and swallow the camel of its attitude to everything else.

  4. Sajda — on 19th May, 2006 at 4:13 pm  

    Justforfun

    It would be better if you were to give a counter argument Clairwil’s post rather then indulge in lazy sneering and condescension. It is a strong argument she makes, and to describe it as having ‘logic is so flawed as to make the whole piece meaningless’ is a piece of gratuitous abuse and so manifestly untrue, that it appears as ad hoc dismissal. If your cage has been rattled, speak in return, do not sneer and condescend.

  5. mirax — on 19th May, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

    Sunny, I clicked on Clairwil’s blog during that altercation between her and old Pickler. I must confess that her opnion piece left me pretty confused as to what she was saying and to whom.

  6. Sid — on 19th May, 2006 at 4:20 pm  

    Looks pretty clear cut to me.

  7. raz — on 19th May, 2006 at 4:51 pm  

    Clairwil is bang on the mark. Great post.

  8. ROB — on 19th May, 2006 at 4:56 pm  

    I agree with clairvils views about ayaan hirsi ali and would like to point that F.G.M is a cultural practise in africa carried out by christians and pagans not just your usual selective memory which straightaway scapegoats muslims.

  9. Roger — on 19th May, 2006 at 5:02 pm  

    However muslims quote hadith to justify FGM. It’s also carried out in muslim Arabia. There isn’t much more basis for MGM in islam than for FGM in fact.

  10. Sid — on 19th May, 2006 at 5:04 pm  

    MGM? er, right.

  11. raz — on 19th May, 2006 at 5:17 pm  

    Please don’t mention circumsion near me. For some bizaare reason, my parents decided to have it done when i was six, instead of as a baby. I can still remember the pain now. And everytime I went for a piss, I had to take the dressing off, and bits of raw skin would rip of the …. you get the picture :(

    (sorry ladies, a bit graphic)

  12. mirax — on 19th May, 2006 at 5:41 pm  

    I accept that FGM was orginally an African cultural practice rather than a Islam mandated one. BUT, and it is a big but, Islamic hadith have soft sanctioned the practice and even spread it to far flung regions like South East asia. Malay-muslim women in this area have adopted the practice – the modified version, not the full- due solely to Islam. I was initially disbelieving when I heard about local FGM – it is rarely mentioned in public – but now I actually know a number of malay women who confirm they have had it done and they justify it in terms of chastity : reduced sensation reduces the chance of them straying sexually.

    My issues with Clairwil’s post – next post.

    Btw, Poor Raz!
    You know in Malaysia, they (traditionally) only did it to boys at the age of 10-12 and there is a very famous cartoon by the most famous Malaysian cartoonist about the whole event. There was even a special bed with blanket rigged up above like a mosquito net for the boys. Scroll down this link for a pic.

    http://www.circlist.com/rites/malaysia.html

  13. Sunny — on 19th May, 2006 at 5:58 pm  

    However muslims quote hadith to justify FGM.

    There are far more Muslims who use the Qu’ran to argue against FGM.

  14. Ismaeel — on 19th May, 2006 at 6:37 pm  

    I think the post was very good. Her point was Ali criticises Islam as it is practised today, therefore educate Muslim woman of their Islamic rights. I agree entirely.

    As for FGM, it is haraam and about that there is no doubt or difference of opinion.

  15. j0nz — on 19th May, 2006 at 6:53 pm  

    I think we’re trying to hold up Ali to very high standards here. She was just being herself, as far as I can see. I can’t see how, in a million years, Ali has made it “harder” for women under Islam???

    Could somebody spell it out for me, make some kind of example?

    I take the view that if you are concerned with the rights of Muslim women rather than seeking opportunities to attack Islam, then your time would be better spent educating Muslim women about their religious rights than telling them to give up their religion

    Well, yes, but she’s only human not bloody Mother Theresa! Thing is, IF she had of took this line, would we know her name?? I am pretty certain we wouldn’t. She would just fade into the crowd. At least she’s helping to bring these issues out for deabte…

    I suspect there are thousands, nay millions of Muslim women that try to educate other Muslim women like this, but you can’t expect everybody to take the softly-softly approach. We humans are just not always that good at diplomacy. I know how she feels in that respect!

  16. Don — on 19th May, 2006 at 7:07 pm  

    If Clairwil’s point is that muslim feminists seeking reform, starting in Europe, need to be supported I quite agree and I can’t imagine any PP regulars opposing that. Whatever fantasies OP might have, Islam ain’t going away and anything which ameliorates the the oppressive practices within it – or in it’s name – is to be welcomed.

    But I agree with mirax and Roger; why the insistence that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is somehow obligated to be a part of this project, or at least stay quiet if her views make it more difficult?

    She is an opponent of Islam and her ‘agenda’ is that Islam is inherently harmful. Many, many free-thinkers and atheists have condemned religion both in the general and in the particular and many have paid with their lives for doing so. Few, if any, were paragons of virtue and all were troublesome, inconvenient and deeply resented.

    I return to my previous analogy; no-one expects Dawkins (or Dennet, or PZ Myers, or Ophelia Benson or countless others) to moderate their views to help religion become more user friendly. They oppose it per se. It’s a valid argument. The difference is, when Ayaan Hirsi Ali makes it, her life is put in danger and those who might have been expected to support her go belly up.

    Having said that, justforfun, you really need to show how ‘the logic is so flawed as to make the whole piece meaningless.’ You may be right, but people are entitled to ask you to join the dots.

  17. j0nz — on 19th May, 2006 at 7:12 pm  

    Don, that is what I call hitting the nail on the head :)

  18. John Browne — on 19th May, 2006 at 7:37 pm  

    A bit of history about women in Holy Books.

    Plato made a big point that women should become rulers as well as men. They should be educated to the hilt (in maths, science, the arts etc etc). Full time child care should be the duty of the state. Nations should be ruled by philisophers. this was about 500BC when Athens was at its height…..

    Unfortunately (as life so often is)

    Aristotle (the pupil of Plato) , said no, actually women are: ‘not quite all there’. This was doubly unfortunate as Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great who conquerer nearly all the lands that were to become Muslim (probably including Pakistan and Egypt). Alexander planted Aristotle’s thinking all over the middle east.

    Incidently there is a close parallel between Socrates/Plato and Jesus/Paul; its quite odd.

    Socrates never wrote anything down, we only know about him from his follower Plato (in the same way we know Jesus by Paul). Bot were convicted and killed by the state. Both said (more or less) “don’t call me wise, no man is wise”. Jesus drank bitter vinger on the cross just before he died, Socrates was forced to drink bitter posion.

    both had many women followers, right from the beginning.

    John

  19. Jay Singh — on 19th May, 2006 at 8:23 pm  

    Can we have another few Islam free days please Sunny?

    Three threads on the same subject in 48 hours, the same points are just getting repeated, jOnz is wetting his pants uncontrollably, Ismaeel is laying down the law in tablets of stone for a disinterested world, and there must be some other non religion Asian news in the vicinity.

    Roll on the weekend thread.

  20. raz — on 19th May, 2006 at 8:33 pm  

    I think Sunny needs an Islam quota.

  21. justforfun — on 19th May, 2006 at 8:33 pm  

    WARNING – long verbous reply follows :-)

    Sadja – ‘lazy’ – I would have you know I went down a flight of stairs to get my copy of Jamie White’s book. I did not give a counter arguement as I was giving people a chance to critically look at the article again. But perhaps I should just go through and try an point out the flaws as I see them – but you should still read Jami’e book – I think it should be in the National Curriculum. My cage wasn’t rattled by Clairwil’s article -what has me upset is that Sunny – who I admire for what he is doing gave what I thought was an undeserved endorment of an article and it was an was an invitation for me to engage my brain perhaps, and with Clair’s perhaps minor, but noticable misrepresentation of the articles posted before I just fired off a reply ;-)

    Anyway here goes -

    A small point but it got me alerted – The first article on PP on AHA which was by Al-Hack did not as Clair says –
    argues that Ali did nothing to help Muslim women reform their communities and made it harder for them to take a stand. – Al-Hack only said Now she makes it doubly hard for any women who may have suffered abuse to come out which I actually agree with but it is not as Claire makes out. When someone starts by misrepresenting something that has just gone on before and is in a new comment piece , its a bit like pissing on my back and telling me its raining.

    Clair states:-
    I should stress that I have no quarrel with [Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s] decision to reject Islam. Whilst I personally have no religious beliefs, I accept that other people do and believe that Ali was ultimately more concerned with promoting her personal view of Islam than supporting Muslim women. Clair starts out stating she has no quarrels with AHA’s rejection of Islam – therefore she understands she is no longer a Muslim. Clair states that in her opinion AHA’s objective is to promote her rejection of Islam above all other objectives because she states it was her ‘ultimate’ concern. Fine as far it goes.

    The difficulty with her position is that it is unrealistic to expect vast numbers of Muslim women to accept it.
    Bear in mind that Clair, in her opening paragraph, has said she believes AHA’s position is to promote her rejection of Islam , she then says that Muslim women will have great difficulty in accepting AHA’s rejection of Islam. Do the vast majority of Muslim women think that AHA has not really rejected Islam and is only joking? Is this what Clair means? Or does Clair mean that the vast majority of Muslim women cannot understand why AHA has rejected Islam? But I think Clair means that the vast majority of Muslim women cannot follow AHA’s example and reject Islam because of what Clair writes in the next sentance
    After all in rejecting Islam they would be rejecting their own sincerely held religious beliefs,……

    Sajda – have you read the sentence.

    After all in rejecting Islam they would be rejecting their own sincerely held religious beliefs, . This just a pointless comment – It does not matter what religion it is, if one has sincerely religiously held beliefs then the act of rejecting that religion puts into question whether the beliefs where sincere. In the semantics of the words, Clair has very subtly demonised AHA because she has implied that AHA is trying to ‘trick’ Muslim women into rejecting their sincerely held beliefs. But of course Clair has written earlier that AHA’s main objective is to promote her own rejection of Islam and not others, let alone those who are sincere in their beliefs.

    Then for good measure
    and in some cases their friends and family not to mention social and cultural attachments the demon AHA is not only trying to manipulate Muslim women to betray their own sincerly held beliefs, she is going to make them reject their family and friends and then all their culture as well. If someone converts away from a religion they of course are going to reject that religion and if it is also the religion of their family then of course they are rejecting their family’s religion, but it does not follow mean they are always rejecting their family. However does it immediately follow that you are kicked out the family or worse? I think the course of action their family takes (and wider community)depends on how their families interpret their own sincerely held religious beliefs and whether they put these above their sister, mother, daughter or wife’s own concience. Oops – allowing someone to have make their own mind up and follow it and their own conscience is something Clair permits and expects from the rest of us of course but at the same time does not expect of others because that would be to impose her secular beliefs on others.

    Next Paragraph
    It cannot be denied that from a feminist perspective the Qu’ran contains a number of troubling passages, though I am baffled at the insistence of some that this is ‘real’ Islam whereas the more female friendly passages can be safely ignored. Fair point we don’t hear much about the female friendly passages in the Koran . I have read the following line Could the hostility between the Muslim fundamentalists and the Islamaphobes be mutual projected self loathing, given that their interpretations of Islam are strikingly similar?
    and I still cannot understand where the following line fits in except just as prejudicial rubbish that is trying to say that Muslim fundamentalists suffer from self loathing because they seem to interpret Islam in the same way Islamophobes do? Are not the beliefs of Muslim fundementalists sincerely held? Perhaps not if I understand Clair. Bizzare is all I can say.

    The next paragraph is where Clair’s authoritarian streek shows and she dictates that her way is the only way and if you somehow disagree with her you are a …god knows what, but certainly not PC and reasonable like she is.

    I take the view that if you are concerned with the rights of Muslim women rather than seeking opportunities to attack Islam, then your time would be better spent educating Muslim women about their religious rights than telling them to give up their religion
    Sajda – I will write that sentence twice again with two words added and then let you decide what to think, because as it stands the first use of ‘rights’ is a bit uncertain for my tastes.

    Sentebce 1 – “I take the view that if you are concerned with the RELIGIOUS rights of Muslim women rather than seeking opportunities to attack Islam, then your time would be better spent educating Muslim women about their religious rights than telling them to give up their religion” .

    Sentence 2
    “I take the view that if you are concerned with the SECULAR rights of Muslim women rather than seeking opportunities to attack Islam, then your time would be better spent educating Muslim women about their religious rights than telling them to give up their religion”

    Which do you think Clair meant?
    Sentence 1 – only relevant for Muslims because a non-muslim cannot lecture a muslim on Islam or can they?. I would hazard a guess that AHA was concern with muslim women’s rights as a humanist and in a secular sense.

    Sentence 2 – Does Claire mean that she thinks that the religious rights of Muslim women are equal or better than their secular rights, because if she thought that they were worse, then she is cowardly condeming secondclass citizenship on Muslim women -which doesn’t sound very feminist to me but then what do I know , I’m a circumsized man :-)

    Alternatively she could be arguing from a pragmatic point of view that Muslim women with sincere religious beliefs need to learn about their religious rights first and then later when they are safer they can move onto their secular rights. Of course those Muslim women who do not have sincere religious beliefs had better just get sincere, because it is just too dangerous to reject their families and friends and community because secularists like Claire ain’t going to give a damn about them, as she respects the sincere beliefs of other Muslims too much.

    Or perhaps Claire has another meaning in mind that I have missed or was just to pissed off to bother to read into the article :-)

    However the kicker is that AHA did not think much of womens rights in Islam so she rejected Islam or was it just her families sincerely held beliefs she rejected and not Islam in general – I don’t know because I have not found out yet. So Clair now wants AHA to educate Muslim women about their Islamic rights,when AHA herself has decided to reject Islam because she believes she has found something better. Bizarre. Clair asks us to support Muslim women, but if we are not Muslims, we cannot educate them about their religious rights can we? – it would be a bit presumptive don’t you think Sajda. Are apostates of a religion knowledgeable enough – I wonder but that for anotherday – you know the contrast – the zeal of the convert and the opposite side of the coin.

    The next bit is the holier than though bit from Clair -trying to paint people into a corner.

    If you claim you are not Islamophobic but are critical of Islam as it is currently practised, then give all these women your support. Oh and of course I will expect your full support of my western feminist goals. Western Feminist goals? What are these exactly – I assume she means educating all women about their secular rights under the law in the land in which they live, but we have spent the last 3 paragraphs promoting the idea that Muslim women need educating about their Islamic rights , not their secular rights.

    Otherwise I might get the wrong idea and think you’re going in for all that ‘ uncivilised barbarians mistreating their bitches’ stuff and I’d doubt your commitment to the ladies cause. Well with Clair as the defender of women’s rights there is no need for anyone whose motive is dubious because Claire’s way is the way to the promised land. – is it religious or secular rights or is their secular cause or religious cause? I am just confused.

    This is getting a bit tedious and if anyone is still with me I am sorry I have not been able to express myself better and with more brevity.

    In the rest of the article Clair points out the rights Muslim women have in Islam – well fine – it is good to know and re-read and I am sure they come as no suprise to Muslim women who hold sincerely held beliefs however for those who are not aware of them, then it is an education at least, but Clair wants them to have confidence to assert their rights. Fine , but is that not based on the assumption that there is secular protection for those women who then choose to exert their rights, – Knowledge without the desire to use it is not much good except for blogging ;-) –because there are others who hold equally sincere beliefs that may not quite be with Claire’s interpretation of Islam.

    I don’t doubt Claire desire to improve the lot of women in general but let no one be under any illusions that somewhere someones sincerely held beliefs will have to be challenged and changed if Muslim women are to get a better deal or am I being patronizing, like Clair, when we assume that Muslim women are getting a bad deal at the moment, because I am sure there are some that sincerely believe otherwise, but then of course we both are arguing from a secular point of view and perhaps we are both argueing for better secular rights for Muslim women but don’t actually want to say it, but I just don’t think one can be sure from Claire’s article.

    Still there Sajda – but I won’t blame you if your not.

    Justforfun

  22. justforfun — on 19th May, 2006 at 8:48 pm  

    Jay – Ahmen to your last post – there must be another religion that we can discuss – I hear there is a revival of the Aztec religion on the cards and missionaries are on the way to India at the moment – any takers?

    Justforfun

  23. j0nz — on 19th May, 2006 at 9:22 pm  

    What about the Kaotian sect?

  24. justforfun — on 19th May, 2006 at 9:35 pm  

    Arghh Sunny – bring back the preview section – my italics are crap again !! see a little knowledge is a dangerous thing :-( or I’ll promise I’ll write and write and write and write untill your bandwidth is used up :-)

    Justforfun

  25. Don — on 20th May, 2006 at 12:31 am  

    j0nz

    There’s nowt else to do in Darlo.

  26. Clairwil — on 20th May, 2006 at 2:09 am  

    Hello,
    All this had a gone a bit far for me to respond to everyone individually. I wasn’t a terribly considered post I wrote and one that would have benefited from a few re-writes and expansion on certain points. I have responded to justforfun at tedious length over at my own blog, simply because he made the most points.

  27. jamal — on 20th May, 2006 at 4:59 am  

    Personally i agree with the article and think Ayaan Hirsi Ali should not be given fame for leaving Islam, which is in fact her main claim to fame. She left, good for her, but she should stop trying to convert others to become non-muslims, just as she would argue non-muslims should not be converted to become muslims.

    If muslim women are happy as they are then who is Ayaan Hirsi Ali to try to efectively condemn their position and what they consider to be of value. As she focuses on distorted interpretations, innovations and stereotypes of Islam, this is far from support. If she really wanted to support muslim women, she would use her position to promote true Islam in its correct context. The quran is in fact a promoter and protector of women. There may be a limited number of verses interpretable as unequal to women, but then in any society there are differences between the sexex which do not neccessarily denote inequality in the negative sense.

  28. sonia — on 20th May, 2006 at 12:26 pm  

    “damaged their position by making it easier for them to be attacked as un-Islamic.”

    i keep hearing this. hello you people! the mullahs will do that anyway regardless – whose fault is that?

  29. sonia — on 20th May, 2006 at 12:28 pm  

    the mullahs that’s who, and the rest of us for allowing them to believe they have any ‘authority’ over anyone.

  30. sonia — on 20th May, 2006 at 12:29 pm  

    jonz #15 – spot on

  31. sonia — on 20th May, 2006 at 12:32 pm  

    the problem is allowing mullahs to dictate what’s ‘islamic’ its obviously up to the person to interpret whatever ideas ( religious or not) in whatever manner they see fit.

    until people get this super-important right of individual interpretation we’re going to be stuck with groups fighting each other and within for intellectual supremacy – and as we can see that so easily becomes a fight for political supremacy

  32. Ravi4 — on 20th May, 2006 at 1:33 pm  

    There seems to be quite a bit of argument here over a number of points which aren’t that contradictory.

    All “progressives” should surely be able to agree that Hirsi Ali has every right to reject Islam, argue that it is utterly incorrect and say that all Muslims should turn away from the faith. She has a right to make that argument vigorously, controversially and through the political process, so long as she doesn’t incite violence or coerce people into following her views. (j0nz put it more succinctly!) She should be allowed to exercise that right without fear of violence herself.

    None of that is incompatible with an assessment that Ali’s tactics are unlikely to succeed, not the best way of helping Muslim women, potentially positively unhelpful to the welfare of Muslim women, and unfairly negative towards Islam and observant Muslims as a whole. The fact and manner of her “downfall” can’t have helped the cause of those who want to renounce Islam and those who wan to tackle the kinds of problems she had highlighted.

    What I find most annoying though is a point a couple of people made in the earlier thread. Her use of the asylum system to gain entry to the Netherlands is not only in itself an act of deceit, but also contributes to the general undermining of the system of asylum itself and the UN Refugee Convention ( http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/protect/opendoc.pdf?tbl=PROTECTION&id=3b66c2aa10 ), with potentially damaging consequences for future refugees. I know from others’ comments that I’m not the only contributor to PP with family members who have had to make use of the UNHCR and asylum system for their safety.

    The fact that Ali came clean about her lies later is, to my mind anyway, undermined by her decision to make her political home in a party that pushed a broadly anti-immigration line and was tough on “bogus” asylum seekers. I’d have had more respect if she had shown more understanding of why people try to abuse the asylum system, rather than condemning them.

    I’m glad she didn’t lose her passport though.

  33. Lopakhin — on 20th May, 2006 at 1:45 pm  

    She left, good for her, but she should stop trying to convert others to become non-muslims, just as she would argue non-muslims should not be converted to become muslims.

    Would she argue that? That’s interesting, I’d always vaguely had her down as a proponent of free speech, which would presumably include the right of religious people to try to convert others to their faiths. If that is so, then that’s one point on which I’d disagree with her.

  34. Tanvir — on 20th May, 2006 at 1:50 pm  

    The interpretation of Islam seems like such a theme here. The process can be split into two main areas. (1) The compulsory duty of every Muslim to read and study Islam themselves, so that they know what they are practicing, why they are practicing it and to confirm its legitimacy independently – not because mum and dad told you to. (2) Scholars who study Islam for decades, who can help the lay person with explanation of more complex issues, presenting the arguments for and against a particular theory with references and examples of previous rulings etc.

    As for the right now trying to pick out selective texts – do you honestly believe the ones who do FGM, or force their daughters off to Pakistan to get married to a long lost cousin and other craziness are actually concerned about these texts themselves?
    As for the multiple AHA threads, it gets hits, and is good for the site, and replaces the H-u-T obsession, so why not. However, I think too much time and energy has been wasted on this AHA parasite (or maybe it hasn’t, its just wrong to interpret blogworld as a proportionate measure of the thought of society).

    AHA marketed herself perfectly for what she needed and her choice of allies says it all for her. As for the AHA-lovers ….no prizes for guessing which side of the political and racist spectrum they are likely to be sitting on.

    Going back to the rights of women, believe it or not, there are many people, within the communities, especially in Britain, working hard to educate Muslims away from innovative practices and toward Islam. Just because they are not media whores like AHA doesn’t mean there are not people out there doing good work.

  35. Jay Singh — on 20th May, 2006 at 2:33 pm  

    Tanvir

    There are plenty of pro Islam ‘media whores’ out there too, to use your delightful turn of phrase – Salma Yaqoob, Yvone Ridley and the rest of the sharia supporting ‘suicide bombing is the fault of everyone but the suicide bombers’ rabble. The people I admire are the ones who work at the coalface.

    Can we have the weekend thread please???

  36. lucy — on 20th May, 2006 at 7:03 pm  

    ‘Then again I’d probably think like you if I was a paranoid old mentalist with cobwebs up her fanny. Oh and before you start, yes I would insult a man in similar terms. I wouldn’t dream of stepping on your rad fem beliefs.’
    ‘rancid old bag’
    this gets sunny’s endorsement!

  37. al — on 20th May, 2006 at 8:03 pm  

    “I must admit I do enjoy the sight of a nudie lady.”

    - Is clairwil lesbian ?

  38. Brown skinned delight — on 21st May, 2006 at 1:59 pm  

    Who is this damfool woman Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Doesn’t she know that Islam means peace, and that Muhammad(PUH) respected and loved woman so much that he married about 11 of them.

  39. Ayub — on 21st May, 2006 at 2:09 pm  

    Islam: A Zionist Conspiracy?

    I’ve been thinking deeply(very) lately why Musims seem to be so backward, why for instance do we lag behind the rest of the world in most things. Could it be that the Jews foisted this idealogy on us to keep us in this backward state?

    The Muslims love saying that Muhammad was a “prophet like Moses,” and the similarities are there. The two are so similar, it is obvious that one is a fictional character modeled on a previous fictional character. It is all designed to get our youth to look up to desert nomads. Consider the following:

    Both Moses and Muhammad had beards.
    Both Moses and Muhammad have names that start with the letter M.
    Both were Monotheists.
    Both were very poor dancers.
    Neither could speak Spanish or French.
    Both had a holy text; a book of the law (Torah/Qur’an).
    Both had a holy mountains (Mt. Sinai vs Mt. Hira).
    Both went on a sort of flight (exodus/hijra).
    One final note, after Moses had gained power, he killed several enemies in Midian (mem-dalet-yod-nun, MDYN), while Muhammad killed a bunch of Yahoods in Medina (mim-dal-ya-nun, MDYN). What more proof do you need? Did we mention the beards?
    BOTH SAY GOD CAN BE BARGAINED WITH

    When reading the Torah, there is the story about Sodom and Gamorrah. God is about to destroy the place, when a man argues that there may be 50 righteous men there. So God agrees to spare the city if there were 50 righteous men, but then the crafty mortal wonders about what will happen if there are 20 righteous men, et cetera. The crafty Yahood bargains God down to ten. A similar story can be found in the ahadith, with regard to how many prayers are required. Originally God, who needs constant praise, demanded fifty prayers per day, but Moses and Muhammad (the aforementioned bearded dynamic duo) bargained it down to five. Both these stories imply that God, in his infinite wisdom, might actually say “gee, I never thought about that…”

    CONCLUDING REMARKS ON ISLAMIC ZIONISM

    I think that it is wholly obvious that the above proves that Islam is a Zionist conspiracy. Monotheism, prohibition on pork, sand encrusted beards, bleeding foreheads, iconoclasm, intolerance… these are all qualities found with the Yahoods. So, even though the Muslims pretend to despise the Jews, they’re actually working hand-in-glove with them to try and get us to give up our idols in favor of their one God. So go out to Islamic chat rooms, and tell the mu’mineen that they are perpetrating Zionist ideals. They may try and attribute Zionism to Satan, but the reality is that he’s not responsible at all.

  40. Ismaeel — on 21st May, 2006 at 2:10 pm  

    Ah the good old attack at the Mullahs again. The problem with this thesis “The Mullahs are the problem, individual interpretation is what is needed”
    is that it is exactly that kind of philosophy that has spawned the kind of abberations from Islamic ideals that legitimises attacks on civilians and the deprivation of women’s rights, because people individually interpreting the sources allowing their egos to interfere with the truth and allow them to mix their cultural understandings and anger with the sources.

  41. Jay Singh — on 21st May, 2006 at 2:19 pm  

    Sid

    Thought you might be interested in Ian Buruma’s take on the whole AHA affair.

    By all means let us support Ayaan Hirsi Ali now, but spare a thought also for the nameless people sent back to terrible places in the name of a hard line to which she herself has contributed.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/19/opinion/19buruma.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

  42. Sunny — on 21st May, 2006 at 2:20 pm  

    it is exactly that kind of philosophy that has spawned the kind of abberations from Islamic ideals that legitimises attacks on civilians and the deprivation of women’s rights,

    Ismaeel you would have a leg to stand on if it wasn’t for the fact that it is the mullahs themselves who are legitimising attacks on civilians and deprivation of women’s rights.

  43. Ismaeel — on 21st May, 2006 at 2:22 pm  

    Sunny,

    please quote some traditional scholars who have done so. I’m not talking about the self-appointed wahabbi mullahs or the government sponsored ones.

  44. Brown skinned delight — on 21st May, 2006 at 3:45 pm  

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an apostate from Islam, and we all know what that means. However, her misdeeds don’t end there, she also used her prominent position to defame Islam and Muslims even further. There is not one Muslim scholar today , however moderate, who can argue that she doesn’t deserves the death penalty. It might sound harsh, but I challenge anyone on this blog to show me a hadith or surah that suggests otherwise.

  45. Don — on 21st May, 2006 at 4:19 pm  

    I suspect Brown Skinned Delight to be a phony.

    Mind you, at one point I thought that about Bikhair.

  46. Brown skinned delight — on 21st May, 2006 at 7:07 pm  

    Don, So nothing on the Hadiths or Surah’s then?

  47. Sunny — on 21st May, 2006 at 7:15 pm  

    Ismaeel – Sheikh Al-Qaradawi has many times said that all Israeli citizens (presumably incl women and children) are legitimate targets.
    http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2006/04/26/spin_this.php

    Infact he constantly makes anti-semitic remarks against Jews.
    http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2006/05/08/what_did_qaradawi_say.php

  48. Don — on 21st May, 2006 at 7:17 pm  

    BSD,

    Wouldn’t know a hadith if it bit me on the leg.

  49. John Browne — on 21st May, 2006 at 7:57 pm  

    Does this font work:

    والله غالب على أمره ولكن أكثر الناس لا يعلمون

    cheers John

  50. John Browne — on 21st May, 2006 at 8:02 pm  

    If you can’t use google it translates to:
    ” God is most downtrodden …”

    I guess this means a TRUE muslim sees god in African homosexual AIDS victims and beaten women in Afghanistan. God is on the 8:30 Northern Line as a crushed sardine and a drug addict in Edinburgh’s Westerhales council estate.

    John

  51. Ismaeel — on 21st May, 2006 at 9:25 pm  

    Shaykh Qaradawi is not a traditional scholar.

  52. Sunny — on 21st May, 2006 at 9:29 pm  

    Well how do you define a traditional and a ‘non-traditional’ scholar? How do we tell the difference? And given he is regularly feted by Ken Livingstone and all over Al Jazeera and IslamOnline website, shouldn’t you then be worried why he’s out there passing judgements?

  53. John Browne — on 21st May, 2006 at 10:14 pm  

    People become Catholic and not Muslim or Protestant because, even if you do not fully agree with Catholic ideology its not shifting sands. We have a CEO. You know for 100% certain whether something is Catholic or not. That is the problem with Islam and Protestantism and indeed Jews. To them its “THE BIBLE ALONE”. The WORD alone (eg HEARING). Nothing else counts. What they fail to tell you is that you can see ANYTHING in Holy Books. There are people on the internet who are convinced that the bible foretell of WOODSTOCK!!! Its like the Delphic Oracle, it could mean anything.

    Seriously, the Woodstock thing is all over the internet:
    http://www.woodstockanddeadseascrolls.net/

    John

  54. Ismaeel — on 21st May, 2006 at 10:15 pm  

    Al Qaradawi is linked to the Ikhwan movement who have a specific politicised ideology which is a departure from traditional Isalm, it is unsuprising then that he is promoted in the above ways.

  55. Clairwil — on 21st May, 2006 at 10:34 pm  

    Al,
    I’m not lesbian, but Bi.
    Lucy,
    I can’t speak for Sunny but I don’t think he was endorsing my remarks towards ‘Old Pickler’ but my actual post which is there to be kicked around as you wish. The reason I was so rude to Old Pickler is simply because she is such a paranoid old joy vacuum, I cannot even begin to bother trying to reason with her.

  56. Old Pickler — on 21st May, 2006 at 10:50 pm  

    Most of the people here arguing that Hirsi Ali should have avoided criticising Islam, would have no problem with her criticising Christianity.

    The fact is Hirsi Ali has suffered as a result of Islamic treatment of women, and has seen many Muslim women suffer likewise. She is concerned about the abuse of women. Whatever the Koran says – and it is not in fact liberating for women, but enshrines oppression – the fact is that Islam is the most misogynist force on the planet today. In no other community do women who were born in Britain, with all the rights and privileges that this entails, dress like Daleks or black ghosts.

    Hirsi Ali was quite right to point this out. And it is shameful that the Pickled Politicians are so scathing about her.

  57. Old Pickler — on 21st May, 2006 at 11:01 pm  

    “Joy vacuum”? Sounds like one of those “I was hoovering the carpet when I slipped, doc” things that are actually rather difficult for women.

    Despite my crabby sounding name, I’m someone who gets a lot of pleasure from living – music, art, literature, humour, eating, drinking and sex, not necessarily in that order.

    Most of what I enjoy would be haram under Islam and, if sharia were enforced, punishable by death.

    So I hate Islam. Obviously.

    If you look at my blog, you will see that I am not very much interested in Islam; though others on the same website write about it a lot, I discuss it only in passing or where relevant. I’m interested in many other things, and Islam would destroy many of these things for me.

  58. Clairwil — on 21st May, 2006 at 11:15 pm  

    Old Pickler,
    There you are doing it again. Why do Muslim ‘dress like daleks’? That’s very much like the sort of abusive remark I’d address to you and I’m sure that’s not the impression you’d like to give. Maybe they cover up out of personal choice. The Qu’ran doesn’t need to enshrine oppression, the way it’s teachings are practiced often do. I’m truly baffled as to why a committed feminist like you would actively give oppressive Muslim men a get out clause, by implying that Islam is a sexist ideology. Wouldn’t you be better supporting Muslim feminism? Or was I right in the first place and you are seeking to assert some form of superiority? If so I pity you for being so insecure.

  59. Old Pickler — on 21st May, 2006 at 11:20 pm  

    Maybe they cover up out of personal choice.

    The choice being cover up or be beaten. Maybe. But if they do cover up out of “choice” it means they have internalised the misogynist, backward, primitive creed that says that women are responsible for rape etc. Basically a woman who dresses in a dalek/black ghost costume is saying: “Rape someone else.” Very enlightned.

    Wouldn’t you be better supporting Muslim feminism?

    I’ve read Fatima Mernissi and other “Muslim feminists” and found them to be a contradiction in terms. As long as you accept Mohammed as the perfect man, a man who raped a nine-year-old girl, and as long as you accept the Koran as the word of God, you cannot be a feminist.

    you are seeking to assert some form of superiority?

    I would certainly assert the superiority of Western culture over other cultures and the superiority of Judeo-Christian civilisation over Islamic “civilisation”. Yes.

  60. Clairwil — on 21st May, 2006 at 11:27 pm  

    Sorry Old Pickler,
    I missed your last comment.
    In terms of Islam I doubt the sex thing would be a problem, unless you were at it it outside marriage. As far as I can make out the Muslim view is to marry and then swing from the chandeliers if that’s your thing.

    You also say you like music, art, literature, humour, eating. I don’t think most Muslims would wish to prevent you doing those things. Particularly eating which from an outsiders point of view seems to the centre point of many a Muslim celebration. As for the drinking part. There you have me. my impression of you as that you are proud of your culture and do not wish to lose it. My point to you is that I think you overestimate the risk. I apologise for my rude remarks to you the other evening but I lack patience and I was in a very bad mood.

  61. Old Pickler — on 21st May, 2006 at 11:34 pm  

    Hey, no worries. Agree to disagree.

    I’ve travelled a lot in the Middle East and really enjoy the food there. But I like pork as well. And wine. And rude jokes about everything. And being able to travel without a “mahram”, and to pick and choose who I see/sleep with/live with/marry/divorce. The absence of free thought and free, sceptical enquiry is a blot on the Muslim world and is a direct consequence of the religion, a religion which enshrined as sacred the tribal values of 7th century Arabia.

  62. Clairwil — on 21st May, 2006 at 11:42 pm  

    Well I personally don’t accept Muhammad as the perfect man. My understanding of the Muslim view of him is that he is about as good as humans get. Rather than an example of perfect manhood. As a prophet I’m quite fond of him because his first response upon receiving revelations was to think he was losing his min. He seemed like a down to earth fellow. Do you have any sources regarding Mohammed marrying a nine year old because the stuff I’ve read in some places Aisha at anywhere between six and nine when they married and states that it was about four year years before the marriage was consummated.

    What irritates me about your stance is that if you find a practice oppressive to women in a culture you dismiss the entire culture. Does that mean that culture’s art, language, literature and theatre is inferior too?

  63. Clairwil — on 21st May, 2006 at 11:45 pm  

    min sould read mind.

  64. Old Pickler — on 21st May, 2006 at 11:58 pm  

    Authentic hadiths, Muslim and Bukhari:

    ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) reported: Allah’s Apostle (may peace be upon him) married me when I was six years old, and I was admitted to his house when I was nine years old.

    Narrated ‘Aisha:

    that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old. Hisham said: I have been informed that ‘Aisha remained with the Prophet for nine years (i.e. till his death).” what you know of the Quran (by heart)’

    the stuff I’ve read in some places Aisha at anywhere between six and nine when they married and states that it was about four year years before the marriage was consummated.

    Which makes her 13 at the oldest. The idea of a 53 year old man copulating with a thirteen year old child is revolting. If it is a ten year old, which is the youngest age she could be, it is even worse.

    How any left-leaning or progressive types can think this is other than evil, vile, cruel, perverted, misogynist and disgusting beggars belief. Yet men at Harry’s Place, Pickled Politicians and even feminists seem to be quite cool about it.

  65. Clairwil — on 22nd May, 2006 at 12:13 am  

    perhaps I’m guilty of projecting my own struggles here. I was embroiled in many an a ‘repulsive’ relationship in my underage days. Indeed my current paramour is a whole seventeen years older than me. This is considered repulsive and robbing my youth by many.With regard to Mohammed and Aisha nothing she’s said has ever given me the impression she was abused. The past is another country. I wouldn’t advocate marrying six to nine year olds in the early 21st century. That may be why I seem ‘cool’ about it. I just do not believe that we’re in for a ‘clash of civilisations’ something that I do not believe you want but your views are the logical conclusion of.

  66. Old Pickler — on 22nd May, 2006 at 12:29 am  

    .With regard to Mohammed and Aisha nothing she’s said has ever given me the impression she was abused.

    There is no other way of describing intercourse between a 50+ man and a nine year old child. Rape/abuse is all it can ever be, whether it’s in the past or not.

    I’m frankly astonished that this is in any way a matter of dispute. Sex between a 50+ man and a nine year old child is rape. It is disgusting, cruel, vile and evil.

    You say your partner is older than you. Likewise mine. Are you ten, and he 27? I doubt it.

    How can you possibly, possibly draw some kind of equivalence?

  67. Sunny — on 22nd May, 2006 at 12:30 am  

    OP you really make the most bizarre assumptions. Who said I wanted to live under Sharia dammit? And who said that anyone else who feels Muslims should not be demonised also want to live under Shariah? And why exactly are you so obsessed over who other people worship or think is a swell guy?
    I suspect you go by these rhetorical questions or explanations not because you’re an equal opportunities feminist but because you just want an excuse to look down on others. Anyway, I’ve had enough discussions with you and you don’t seem to dispel that idea so I’ll leave it at that.

    I have written a piece for comment is free, which they should be posting tomorrow, on how men and women react differently on the web. Do have a read :)

  68. Old Pickler — on 22nd May, 2006 at 12:34 am  

    And why exactly are you so obsessed over who other people worship or think is a swell guy?

    Sunny, if people worshipped Hitler and thought he was a swell guy, you would be worried. Mohammed’s attitude to women, and the gender apartheid that is enshrined in Islam is just as worrying to me as colour apartheid is to you. And the fact that it is supported by the left and by feminists, makes it all the more worrying.

  69. Clairwil — on 22nd May, 2006 at 12:50 am  

    Old Pickler,
    As a feminist I go for Aisha’s view first. She didn’t say anything to indicate she felt abused, neither do any of the contemporary sources indicate any disquiet over her age. I find a marriage between a child and an over age man distasteful , though it would appear Aihsa didn’t. Then again I write at the end of the 21st century. I draw equivalence because I’m highlighting things society finds disgraceful.

    There is a very good chapter in ‘The Whole Woman’ by Germaine Greer that deals with underage sex. Phoebe’s story is persuasive.

  70. Sunny — on 22nd May, 2006 at 12:53 am  

    There we go again OP, lame analogies. But what else can I expect from you.

    Also, see this: http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/193

  71. Old Pickler — on 22nd May, 2006 at 12:58 am  

    So Muslims worship a child-rapist, but that’s OK because child-rape was OK then and who are we to judge?

    Sorry. I judge. It was, and is disgusting. And the worshippers of a child rapist need their heads read.

  72. Old Pickler — on 22nd May, 2006 at 1:02 am  

    And Germaine Greer thinks clitoridectomy and jilbabs are OK. Basically if it’s non-Western she, a beneficiary of Western feminism, is fine with it.

    She’s off her bleedin’ rocker. She should wear a sack herself and get her clit hacked off. See how liberating she finds it. Dozy bint.

  73. Old Pickler — on 22nd May, 2006 at 1:06 am  

    As a feminist I go for Aisha’s view first. She didn’t say anything to indicate she felt abused,

    For God’s sake. Was she in a position to say she felt abused? Had she said so, would her words have been heard or understood?

    She was told that Mohammed the child rapist was a prophet and that marrying him was an honour. From where could she have derived support or assurance that she was wrong to reject him?

    The whole thing about abuse, as I’m sure you acknowldedge when it’s Catholic priests etc, is that the victim thinks they deserve it or are even privileged to suffer it. And the victim has no voice – it is a non-crime.

    He raped her. You are cool with that. Fine. Enough said.

  74. Clairwil — on 22nd May, 2006 at 1:09 am  

    Old Pickler,
    I think all sorts of people excuse all sorts of things. It would be hard to find a prouder Scot than me. Yet if I’d been in Elizabeth the First’s place at that time I would have beheaded Mary Queen of Scots. Is that a mysognist position? Anti-Scottish? I think not. Would it be right for me to characterise the English as be headers on the basis of that episode? Again I think not.

  75. Old Pickler — on 22nd May, 2006 at 1:12 am  

    But nobody worships Elizabeth I as a prophetess and the perfect role model for all time. People do worship child rapist Mohammed as the perfect role model for all time.

    And there is no political necessity to rape children.

  76. Clairwil — on 22nd May, 2006 at 1:15 am  

    Oddly enough I take a dim view of false allegations against Catholic priests. I think Muslims should be judged by the same standards.

  77. Sunny — on 22nd May, 2006 at 1:22 am  

    OP you make out as if you’re a big Muslim scholar. But you’ve picked up a few things from the web and seen a few quotations after 9/11 and 7/7 and suddenly all of us who oppose prejudice are Hitler worshippers.

    The funny thing is, those people you hate use the same twisted logic as you to justify why their actions. A few selected quotes here and there, a very narrow-minded view of the world. Twisting things to fit your prejudices. You all deserve each other as far as I’m aware. And now I’ll go back to working instead of wasting my time with you.

  78. Clairwil — on 22nd May, 2006 at 1:27 am  

    Old Pickler,
    It is correct that no-one worships Elizabeth the First as a prophet. However would you like it if I asserted that she was somehow quintessentially English. I suspect not. That beheading people is the English way? Yet you seem to feel that Muslims should be judged by ancient history.

  79. Old Pickler — on 22nd May, 2006 at 1:39 am  

    Muslims themselves say that Mohammed is the perfect man for all time. So, knowing that he was a child rapist, I have my doubts about islam.

    “Englishness” is not a religion. English people do not say that Elizabeth I was the perfect woman for all time, though many, myself included, think she was the best woman at the time.

    Same with Churchill.

    Sunny – I don’t hate people, I hate islam, communism and other evil ideologies.

  80. Clairwil — on 22nd May, 2006 at 1:51 am  

    Well I don’t know that Muslims think Mohammad is the big I am. In my day they were taught he was just a man that received revelations. If you think this country is about to fall to Shariah law I think you are deluded. I accept your points about Englishness, though I dispute that Mohammed can be written off as a kiddie fiddler. Why do you fixate on the negative bits of Islam? We are all stuck in this mess together. Why the desire for fisticuffs?

  81. John Browne — on 22nd May, 2006 at 7:14 am  

    The underage women think in one of the muslim books.

    It should be pointed out that many ancient religions have stuff like this – how old was Mary when she had Jesus?

    Its an interesting footnote that ONE MAN and ONE WIFE does not come from ANY middle east religion (Jewish bible has some very horrible stuff in it) its from Indo Europeans (Greeks, Latins and Germans – Read TACITUS on the Germans: “Their marriage code, however, is strict, and indeed no part of their manners is more praiseworthy. Almost alone among barbarians they are content with one wife”)

    John

  82. Ismaeel — on 22nd May, 2006 at 8:57 am  

    Traditional Islam teaches that the Prophet (PBUH) is the perfect and infallible example, being the last and seal of the Prophets(PBUT) there could be no defect. Saying that in Islam we believe all the Prophets (PBUT) were infallible but that the Prophet (PBUH) was the best.

    All Muslims know that the Prophet (SAWS) married Bibi Aisha (RA) when she was 6 and consumated at 9. However to compare that today’s paedophilia is incredibly ignorant and malicious. Even in this country marriages at very young ages have only been abolished in the last hunded years. According to Christian scholars Mary (RA) was 12 when she gave birth to Prophet Jesus (PBUH) and Juliet of Romeo and Juliet was similarly only 12 (I know it is fiction but it gives you some understanding of the day’s norms). The reality is, that even today in bedouin culture woman mature alot faster physically and emotionally than they do in the west. The conception of childhood and adolescence are mainly modern constructs. Lastly unless you have some proof such as Lady Aisha(RA)’s own accusation etc and remember she lived some 30 odd years after the Prophet (SAWS) died and had ample time to mention it, than your case for rape has no legs. Lady Aisha (RA) narrated 2 thousand hadith and amongst them she mentions arguments she had with the Prophet (PBUH), his kindness towards her, the happiness of the marriage and the fact that she deeply missed him.
    It is this kind of typical hack job by people who take a couple of hadith out of all historical, cultural and even personal context which shows the dangers of this personal interpretation people keep on banging on about as being so great.

  83. Ismaeel — on 22nd May, 2006 at 8:58 am  

    Oh and the Greek system was for men to have male lovers and to have wives just to have children with. Hardly the great monogomous love story.

  84. Old Pickler — on 22nd May, 2006 at 11:26 am  

    take a couple of hadith out of all historical, cultural and even personal context

    I can’t imagine any context in which sex between a 50 year old man and a nine year old child is other than rape. Because rape is what it is.

  85. Lopakhin — on 22nd May, 2006 at 11:29 am  

    Even in this country marriages at very young ages have only been abolished in the last hunded years.

    What very young ages were they, out of interest? As young as six?

    The reality is, that even today in bedouin culture woman mature alot faster physically and emotionally than they do in the west.

    Emotionally I can’t comment on, but physically? Are you saying they reach puberty younger? Do you have any evidence for that?

  86. Sunny — on 22nd May, 2006 at 11:50 am  

    I’m definitely not having this stupid conversation here.

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