Thursday, June 15, 2006

Muftis Say the Darndest Things

or, Dear, Are We Turning This Into a FemBlog?

The following quotes are taken from video transcripts posted under the subject heading Women on MEMRI TV. Some transcripts were previously edited by MEMRI. I have made some edits for brevity (designated by ellipses) but have made an effort not to alter meaning.

Wife-beating is associated with the cultural status of women in the different societies. Women in some cultures are not averse to beatings. They consider it as an expression of masculinity, and as a kind of control, which she herself desires. In other societies, it is the exact opposite. We must follow reason... when Allah permitted wife-beating, He permitted it to the other side of culture, which considers it as one of the means to preserve the family, and as one of the means to preserve stability.
--Mufti of Egypt Dr. Ali Gum'a, on Al-Risala TV, May 26, 2006.

We all knew women were really asking for it, right?

According to statistics from Denmark, 54% of the births in Denmark are illegitimate. In this case, the term "illegitimate" does not mean a girl getting pregnant by her boyfriend. It refers to a woman, who gives birth in a hospital, and when the doctor asks her under whose name to register the baby - who's the father - she says: "I don't know. It might be the doorman... No, no, it might be the company director... It might be the clerk, or the taxi driver... I don't know." They end up registering the child in her own name. That's an "illegitimate" birth. But when she says that the child is from her boyfriend, that's fine.
--Dr. Muhammad Al-'Arifi, Saudi author, on Al-Risala, April 6, 2006

(checking sarcasm, with some difficulty)
EU Business posted the following statistics 13/05/06:
... nearly a third -- 31.6 percent -- of the 4.8 million babies born in the European Union in 2004 were born out of wedlock.
The phenomenon is particularly noticeable up north in Scandinavia and the three Baltic member-states with a ratio of 57.8 percent in Estonia, 55.4 percent in Sweden, 45.4 percent in Denmark and 45.3 percent in Latvia.

In other words, the actual illegitimate birthrate in Denmark is 45.4%--too high, but several points short of the 54%
the good doctor cites. Note too that illegitimacy is defined as birth out of wedlock--this would include the child 'from her boyfriend,' children born to couples in committed relationships that have not for whatever reason made it official, and probably children born to parents who marry after the birth. [I don't know if Denmark defines a common-law marriage or if it includes children born into one in the 'legitimate' category.] And yes, it does include cases in which the father is genuinely unknown because of promiscuity (or in which the mother has chosen to conceal his identity.) But it may also include inseminations of single women by anonymous donor. I don't mean to encourage sexual irresponsibility or deliberately seeking to bear children outside a marriage, but let's not magnify sins with hyperbole either. I doubt very much that a percentage more than single digits of Danish women have no idea who fathered their babies.

A Muslim in Europe or America can marry a Christian woman or a woman from among the People of the Book, under four conditions:
The first condition is that she is, in fact, of the People of the Book. In other words, she must not be a heretic - for example, a communist or a Bahai. She must be a believing woman from among the People of the Book.
Some people say a woman is Christian because her father is Christian, while she does not believe in any religion... Such a woman is not Christian...We have to make sure that she's really of the People of the Book.
The second condition is that she must be chaste, in other words, honorable and pure - not a woman who sells her body to any man...
Is there a single honorable, chaste woman left in these countries? Don't they reprimand a girl who is still a virgin at the age of 14?.. She becomes undesirable...

Yeah, I always reprimand my girls for not behaving like tramps. (That's sarcasm, for those who need it explained.)

The third condition is...a Muslim is not allowed to marry a Jewish woman from Israel, or from among the Jews who support Israel...
[one must not] marry a Jewish woman, unless she belongs to the Jews who are hostile to Israel...
The fourth condition is that this marriage would not cause harm to him, to his children, or to Muslim men and women. Sometimes, he is personally harmed, because she influences him...Sometimes it is his children who are at risk. His children receive a non-Islamic upbringing...

She only carried them around for nine months, gave birth to them and probably is caring for them most of the time...but they're his children.

Islam permits marrying a woman from the People of the Book, or a Christian, so that she will enter the Muslim family and society.

No chance she'd be allowed to determine her own faith journey.

There is also a danger to Muslim women...since a Muslim woman is only allowed to marry a Muslim man - who will she marry? If all the men go off and find themselves Western blondes to marry, our own daughters - Fatma, 'Aisha, and so and so - will find no one to marry.
--Quotes from Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradhawi, Qatar TV, March 12, 2006.

But even in the time of Mohammed Muslim women had more rights than do western women today--if you think I'm making it up, read on!

We all agree on the need for women's liberation. But what model of women's liberation do we want? There is an Islamic model and a Western model. With the Western model - and especially with the radical feminist movements - their extremism becomes a kind of madness. When they raise the issue known as "gender" - the claim that there is one sex, rather than male and female, and that everybody is of the same sex, and there is no difference between male and female - this obliterates the nature of Allah's creation of humans, whom He created as male and female. I say that a normal woman would never be satisfied being masculine, or becoming a man or like a man, just as a normal man would never be happy being effeminate or like a woman. If there was only one six [sic], what would make one side desire the other and try to attain it?
Therefore, I say that the issue of gender issue [sic] - the claim that all people are of one sex, men are like women, and women are like men - legitimizes homosexuality. This is what led the people who support the "gender issue" and "unisex," and who claim that there is no difference between male and female, to dream of a world without men - women living with women, and men with men. This legitimizes homosexuality...
This ideology runs counter to human nature, and will not lead to women's liberation, but to women's misery, because if a woman becomes masculine and Spartan - what man would want her?

--Dr. Muhammad Ammara, Nile Culture TV, November 11, 2005

All right, I was that close to conceding him the point about radical feminism being madness until he declared women's happiness entirely dependent on male desire. And while I'm nit-picking, is there really anybody left in the West who has a basic understanding of biology and still thinks there's no difference between male and female?
I wonder if he ever got around to outlining that 'model of women's liberation' he mentioned at the outset?

About three years ago we signed, at the UN headquarters, the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Since we signed this document, we must adhere to it.


I don't recall right now the exact articles of this convention. I saw and read it, but its details don't come to mind right now. But it does have some provisions granting women their rights.

So which idiot in the Production office brought this guy on as an expert?

Sir, the women's rights that are required... Some people, unfortunately, are being stubborn or hypocritical, claiming the opposite of this - the women's rights we demand are those provided by the Shari'a, the rights that are derived from the Koran and the Sunna. If we gave women these rights in their entirety - that would be enough.

Responding to that would be another whole post, if not a monograph.

I remember, for example, that in Europe some time ago, a wife could not be an independent businesswoman, while in Islam for 1,400 years now, a woman could manage her own money independently. This is one of many examples.

Well, to start with there's the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, who 'considers a field and buys it.' And Lydia the purple cloth seller in Acts. And the Vikings, even in pre-Christian times, gave free women high social status and rights. And Vicki Leon cites numerous examples of 'independent businesswomen' during the Middle Ages and Renaissance in her Uppity Women books...but that's another monograph.

There is Islam in other places, where they have their own interpretations. In these Islamic countries, women work side by side with men.

Define that 'side by side' thing.

Sheik Muhammad Al-Ghazali, one of the greatest religious authorities, once said: "I prefer Thatcher to seventy bearded Islamists." He said that, not me. Why? Because some women who are more virtuous and self-confident than men.

Well, give the Sheik some credit for that much...

Therefore, I think women should get their rights, even if only gradually, until she can...

Beggars can't be choosers, after all.

Host: Do you expect women to enter the Saudi government in the near future?
Talal bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz Aal Sa'ud: I see what is going on. You ask if women, who cannot even drive cars, will join the government? That would be difficult.

--Prince Talal bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz Aal Sa'ud, Dubai TV, Sept. 16, 2005

Gosh, I could really use one of those ASCII art popping balloons right about here.

Dr. Fawzan: In conservative countries like Saudi Arabia – this blessed Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – which, Allah be praised, is the most conservative in the Muslim world, in which a woman maintains her honor, decency, and modesty – and she does not reveal anything – not her hands, her face, or anything – how can she drive a car?

A veritable Paradise...

Those who call to allow women to drive – according to what has been written – can be divided into two groups. The first group includes Westernized people who want to Westernize the society, to tell the truth. They want to destroy society, corrupt it, and drag it down into the depths of decay and permissiveness, like in Western societies. These people have been blinded by what they saw there when they studied or visited there, and they want our society to be like other societies. They want it to be devoid of all values, morals, and modesty. They want women to go out on the streets all made up, like a harlot, with her face uncovered, like they see in the West. They think that the shortest and best way to reach this goal is to allow women to drive, because if a woman drives, she will reveal her face, drive without a male chaperone, will have an easy opportunity to meet all kinds of young men and women, and she will get all made up, will mix with men, and so on.

Heaven forbid! And the other group is???

I don't think that any woman, throughout human history, has been as oppressed as the Western woman today – and they still claim that they have given her freedom. They took her out (of the home) in order to exploit her, to exploit her honor and dignity. Furthermore, in many countries, her salary is lower than the man's, but she works more than him. She does not get what she wants unless she sacrifices her honor, to her bosses or co-workers.

Count to ten, all you professional women out there who actually worked your way to your position.

How strange! Even though they have permissiveness there, and any man can satisfy his desires outside of marriage… he's not satisfied with ten or twenty.

Energetic lot, those Western men.

Any girl he sees, who has certain features, he wants. If she consents – fine. If not – he rapes her.
--Dr. Abd Al-'Aziz Al-Fazwn, Saudi Cleric, Al-Majd TV, June 17, 2005

Which explains why a lady can't safely set foot outside her house alone in the West, whereas in Saudi Arabia...oh. Never mind.

Sheik Aal Mahmoud: If the husband wants to use beatings to treat his wife, he must never ever do it in front of the children. It must remain between him and her. It must be done according to the following conditions: He must not cause bleeding or bruise her body. He should avoid her face and other sensitive parts of her body. As we've said, the limitations on beating are: They must not cause bleeding, they should not break any bones, they should not be on the face, and they should not bruise her. If the husband violates these rules, he violates the rules of Allah. If she has been hurt, the husband is held liable for what he has done, because the woman is not his merchandise. He cannot do to her whatever he wants. Even if the wife forgives the husband, it does not mean Allah will do the same on Judgment Day.
--Cleric Abdullah Latif Aal Mahmoud, Bahrain TV, June 20, 2005

Well, thank goodness there are some standards! Must be some of those rights the Prince was talking about above.

But there is some hope:
Zulfa: I wasn't expecting all this uproar over something which is merely an idea. I proposed study the possibility of allowing Saudi women to drive cars.
Host: Would you, Dr. Muhammad Aal Al-Zulfa allow your wife drive a car?
Zulfa: Absolutely.
I think that if something happened to me, she would be the best person to take me to the hospital, or in any other circumstances when I couldn't drive, and she is capable of driving.
Host: And the same goes for your daughters, when they reach the right age.
Zulfa: Yes, I hope that she would drive her car, instead of some foreigner driving her and her children around.

--member of the Saudi Shura Council Muhammad Aal Zulfa, Al-'Arabiya TV, June 8, 2005.

Well, all right, so he's not Martin Sheen--progress is progress!

I don't EVER want to hear about how lousy women have it in the U. S. again. Understand?



Blogger CMinor said...

It occurred to me after I posted that that reference to the Vikings in Pre-Christian times was confusing. I'm not referring to Nordics living pre-A.D. 33 there, but merely Vikings who had not yet been exposed to Christianity. I believe the earliest conversions among the Norse were around 1000 A.D., so what I meant was that even prior to that time Viking freewomen had status nearly on a par with their men. None of this, of course, applied to slaves, but that fact hadn't really changed 600 years later in the Middle East, either.

8:00 AM  
Blogger CMinor said...

sheesh--try that last sentence again with '400 years earlier.' I really gotta learn how to delete on this thing.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Rambling Speech said...

Thanks for clearing up that viking thing. I mean, it was really hard to concentrate on the rest of the message with that discrepency! (sarcasm here).

Keep up the good work! I really enjoy reading your blog-- I never know what it's going to have on it. We need some good fem blogs around here-- especially christian fem blogs-- all the blogs I read are from males. Bravo on well thought articles!

5:31 AM  
Blogger CMinor said...

Hey, Rambling! Good to see you over here! Hope La Plata's treating you well!

7:49 PM  

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