Aisha, Mo & Imran

Imran Ali has tried to defend what is arguably one of the worst facts of the Islamic religion: the consensus among most muslims is that the prophet Mohammed, at age 53, had sex with 9 years old Aisha bint Abi Bakr. There is no reason to doubt this, so trying to defend an immoral act as vile as child rape is rather stupid, perhaps as stupid as William Lane Craig’s completely misguided attempt at defending the Israelite massacre of the Canaanites as narrated in the Bible. Craig’s disgusting defense of genocide now has a counterpart on the Islamic side.

Somewhat predictably, in Resolving Misconceptions Regarding A’isha Bint Abi Bakr’s Age at Marriage, Imran doesn’t employ subtle sophistry. He merely tries to shift blame, misdirect and resort to equivocation:

The issue of A’isha Bint Abi-Bakr, Prophet Muhammad’s youngest wife, has arisen purely due to the fact that she happened to be much younger than him unlike his other wives most of whom were even older than him

No. The issue is not the age difference. The issue is that she was a child when she got married (at age 6) and only 9 years old when Mohammed forced her to have sex with him. No-one would have accused Mohammed of child rape had Aisha been 19 and he 73 (an even greater age difference).

There have been misconceptions and controversy regarding her exact age at the time of her marriage partly because we are dependent on reported information and even with accurate reporting, it is difficult to sustain 100% accuracy all the time regarding the exact time period, and partly because this issue has been misappropriated by the enemies of Islam who have popularized the wrong accounts to defame the Messenger of God.

While it is difficult to establish 100% accuracy, here a mere 80% accuracy is sufficient. Yet, due to the numerous different sources that are in agreement, it is trivial to establish with grater than 90% accuracy that Aisha was 9, at most 10 years old when Mohammed ‘consummated’ his marriage to her. But even if we add a year, she would still have been be a pre-teen.

The generally agreed-upon sources to establish Aisha’s age are Sahih al-Bukhari and the accounts of historian Ibn Sa’d al-Baghdadi. Both accounts are difficult to misappropriate, and the majority of all muslims agree that these sources are accurate:

Sahih al-Bukhari narrates that

the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).

and Sa’d al-Baghdadi even quotes Aisha herself:

“The Prophet married me in the month of Shawwal in the tenth year of his prophecy, three years before the Hijra, when I was six years old.”

These dates are specific. They are easy to verify by cross-reference, and few people would ever accuse either author of wanting to slur Islam. It is exceedingly difficult to misappropriation these facts, and few muslims have ever denied these accounts.

Imran even quotes the same source as he continues:

Ibn-e-Sa’d has stated in at-Tabaqat al-Kubra that when Abu Bakr (A’isha’s father) was approached on behalf of the Prophet, he replied that the girl had already been betrothed to Jubair and that he would first have to settle the matter with him. This shows that A’isha must have been approaching maturity at the time.

No. It merely shows that child marriage was common at the time, a fact that is borne out by many independent accounts and records. It does not establish anything about Aisha’s age or sexual maturity. In civilized countries today it may have been an indicator that she was sexually mature. At that time – no. Even today child marriages are a problem in many regions of the world.

Imran then continues with a rather disquieting discourse of questionable veracity on human female biology for the sake of proving that Aisha could have reached sexual maturity, arguing that perhaps no physical damage was done and conveniently ignores any psychological damage that such an act can inflict on children.

After that unpleasantness, he posits:

Aisha married willingly under circumstances that supported that marriage in an age when it was not an unusual thing and at an age when a girl normally reaches puberty

Just how ‘willing’ can a six-years-old girl be? Of course at the time women and girls were treated as property. Of course child rape was not a crime when the sex toy belonged to you. Whether the girl had actually reached puberty or not was no issue either. And by the way: humans reach sexual maturity at 12-15 years of age, not at 9.

The youngest “mothers” of the world (married or unmarried) mostly happen not to be Muslims, but from amongst those who are most critical of A’isha’s young age at marriage, i.e. from the West. […] It shows the degree of moral degradation of the West and the westernized minds that they have no objection about having boyfriends and indulging in illicit sex at an early age but it is not acceptable to marry and have a husband at the same age to perform the same act legally with moral and religious sanction.

Here Imran goes completely overboard, deliberately conflating adolescent sex, paedophilia, and puritanical taboos about sex. The issue at hand, Imran, is not young mothers nor teens having sex – but old men having sex with children, i.e. child rape! What a disgraceful attempt at misdirection and shifting the blame. Calling the west ‘morally depraved’ while advocating adults having sex with children is a new low even for religious apologists.

All equivocating aside: it is a fact that 50-plus years old men must not have sex with pre-teens. Just like slavery is and always was evil (and therefore makes the Bible morally unacceptable on this account), so has sex with children always been, and will always be, immoral. The problem isn’t so much that Mohammed’s deed was socially acceptable at the time, it is that in many regions of the world his precedent is used to permit child rape today; it makes raping children socially acceptable today.

Let’s be blunt: these are not misconceptions. Muhammed was 52, and Aisha was 9 (or 10) when he forced himself on her. At the time it was socially acceptable. Today this constitutes child rape. Because Mohammed was 52 and Aisha still a child, the accusation of paedophilia has some merit, even if Mohammed wasn’t in the strictest sense a pedophile: he regularly did have sex with a child.

Imran, who I suspect is equally revolted by child rape, is doing girls everywhere a great disservice when he tries to defend, or at least lessen, the crime of child rape. It’s indefensible, and you are ill advised to try to make it look better or gloss over how damaging it is to its victims.

Imran – Some things in your scripture are simply evil. Accept that. By trying to argue the merits of child rape you make yourself look as immoral and ethically inept as Professor Craig when he defends genocide in the Bible.

It’s his nature

After retroactively discovering the Americas for the glory of Islam, Turkey’s number one nutcase has again said something profound. Profoundly stupid, that is.

Never one who runs the risk of being mistaken for a feminist, Erdoğan took the opportunity to prove once and for all that he’s a world-class jerk when it comes to women’s rights. Slapping his international audience for women’s rights and freedom across the face, the premier intoned rather tone-deaf:

“You cannot make women and men equal; this is against nature. […] What women need is to be able to be equivalent, rather than equal.”

Now that is not only jaw-droppingly stupid, it’s also on par for what we expect from a fundamental religionist. His sophistry betrays the immoral thinking many religions are built upon. Bible, Torah and Quran already have woman’s equivalency with men: In the Quran, four women are equivalent to one man, in the Torah and Bible, she is equivalent to 3/5 of a man. Equivalency is not Equality. This is taught in elementary school nowadays. It’s inconceivable that Erdoğan doesn’t know this.

Now, hidden deep down in his speech, the premier does say that women should have the same rights as men. But it’s buried under a veritable landslide of patriarchic unreason, stone-age mentality, and long stretches of void that elaborate the obvious: yes, women and men are physically different. Bravo. It’s good to know that Turkey’s leadership has clued in to this surprising fact.

Instead of saying things that are obvious yet can easily be misrepresented by misogynists to justify their actions, Erdogan should stop being an ass and acknowledge openly, and in a straightforward manner what should be front and center to every ethical being: that even though men and woman are different, they must have the same rights and freedoms.

Then again, Erdoğan can’t help himself. Saying something intelligent, so it would seem, is against his nature.

Mini morals

A wave of sexual assaults has hit Kenyan women: they are severely beaten and have their clothes torn off by a mob of men. Why? Because, according to the male mob, their victims are

tempting them by being indecently dressed

Even more alarming, in an interview a 26-years old student commented to the press that

An African woman should be decent. They are provoking us. And I think we should put in place laws to curb that.

Let’s face the truth. These ‘men’ are looking for excuses to humiliate women and will take anything as a pretext to sexually assault them. A miniskirt that was proffered as evidence for indecency is a cynical joke. No mater what a woman wears, no man must ever take that as a pretext to assault her – no excuse will ever do. Moreover, in Kenya many women live in traditional communities that do not have Abrahamic nudity taboos – they don’t, for example, have acquired the compulsion to cover their breasts. So even if we did allow for some ‘cultural’ BS explanation, it would not hold water here. No, these men simply assault women – because they feel they can.

What we see here is unchecked male desire for dominance, coupled with a patriarchal ideology – most probably Christianity – trying to assert itself by openly assaulting women. Mind you – the fault does not lie directly with Christianity; it lies with the perpetrators. It’s just that Christianity provides such a convenient pretext when foaming-at-the-mouth priests tell their congregation that

wearing miniskirts is the devil’s work

Remember this the next time some religious nut tells you that religion helps you to be more moral.

Hijab vs. Bible

A couple of weeks ago, a colleague noticed my discomfort and point-blank asked what bothered me about her Hijab. Regrettably, I had no immediate response other than ‘it doesn’t feel right’. She was gracious enough to accepted this non-reason.

So what is it that I find so offensive about a Hijab, Niqab or Burka? At least the Hijab can be a fashion statement, can’t it?

Yes.

It’s the original purpose, the idea behind a head- or body veil that disturbs me: the sentiment that a woman’s beauty is just for her husband to enjoy. Only her husband (who does not reciprocate) can see her beauty, making it his exclusive property – and by extension, her as well. The hijab is nothing else but a reminder to society that every woman is some man’s property. That is making me uncomfortable: the idea that women wear the very symbol of their subjugation as fashion.

If you are a Christian nodding at these lines, don’t get too comfortable, though. The Ten Commandments list wives (yup, plural) as a man’s possessions. They are listed among other property such as slaves, house and cattle. And yet, Christian women happily recite the 10th Commandment, just like many muslim women willingly wear a Hijab. That’s why I also feel uncomfortable each time an otherwise intelligent Christian woman praises the Ten Commandments.

Also – have you never wondered about the eerie similarities between a Burka and a Christian nun’s Habit?

Do you really think that’s coincidence?

Cat-callers go apeshit

It all started with a video: a woman walking down some New York streets, being the target of a lot of cat-calls. Even if parts of the video are fake (as was accused, but not proven), it definitely made an impression. To many men, the number of cat-calls was surprisingly high; most women say that it feels about right. Even if parts of the movie were staged, it points to an actual issue. So silly me thought that the issue was clear cut: the video shows that there are a lot of men who say things like ‘hey babe’ to a strange women, believing they are doing her a favor, while women think this behavior is bordering on harassment. Condensed into the short movie, the point, I thought, was crystal clear. I thought.

Enter Steven Santagati, who considers himself god’s gift to womankind. In a discussion on CNN, Steven went on to give new meaning to the term mansplainin’: not only did he explain to the two women on CNN what they really want, he also advised them that their best course of action to counter every-day harassment would be to carry a gun, and blow away the cat-callers.

Now, contrasting the original video to the sentiments of a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal, who explains the world as perceived by a single-digit IQ brain, I thought this was a slam-dunk – one of those rare cases where everyone agrees.

Reading the comments on YouTube (a bad idea even on a good day), I found further proof against evolution: if you think humanity has evolved from monkeys, you are dead wrong. We are still apes.

Then again, using a gun to get rid of cat-callers is a surprisingly Darwinian approach to this problem.

Please don’t let me be misunderstood.

Yesterday I mentioned the incredibly misogynic posters that ultra-orthodox jews put up in Stamford Hill. Predictably, and with much credit to Sam Aldersley, the issue blew up.

Chaim Hochhauser, from Stamford Hill’s Shomrim group, tried this as an explanation:

I have spoken to the organisers of the parade – they have apologised. They did not think it would get so public. It was just a misunderstanding.

No.

This is not a misunderstanding. There is nothing to misunderstand about misogyny. To make this perfectly clear – especially to those who maintain that the posters were only intended for religious people: misogyny is not a relative state of the mind; it is always evil. There is no excuse. If you believe that you are entitled to tell a woman which side of the road she must use, you are morally unfit for modern civilization. This is true regardless if you are religious or not.

That these people thought this wouldn’t get so public is just another disturbing reminder that political correctness in the UK is retarding efforts to rid society of institutionalized injustice.

Allah’s Sex Slaves

In 2005, a newspaper published 12 cartoons that depicted Mohammed (the Prophet) in various vaguely satirical ways. As a result, fanatical Muslims around the world became so enraged that their riots left some 200 people dead, embassies burnt down, and churches destroyed.

In 2014, Islamist Fundamentalist group Boko Haram (which roughly translates to ‘the western ways are sinful’) kidnapped 230 Nigerian school girls to sell them as sex slaves. Their justification? Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s Leader said in a video message: “Allah commands me [to sell the girls]”.

No riots.

Why not?

This is no idle question.

It certainly seems that fanatical Muslims believe it is a worse crime to draw a a caricature of a mythical person than raping 230 children. Now, I don’t want these people to go out, riot, and kill another 200 humans just to set the record straight – but can’t the fundamentalists at least show some indignation at this terrible crime? And if not at the crime itself, then at least at the (hopefully) blasphemous claim that Allah condones sex slavery?

Ah.

Of Swastikas and Burqas

Swiss fundamental Islamist Nora Illi says that there is nothing wrong with wearing a Burqa.

Technically, that is perhaps correct. Just like, technically, there is nothing wrong with wearing a Swastika, a more than 6000 years old symbol that represents a wide variety of meanings.

In the western world, however, the Swastika has become synonymous with Nazi Germany and the atrocities committed by Hitler and his henchmen.

Although I have never heard about them, the Burqa may have some real, practical advantages over other forms of clothing. Still, it is used for but one purpose: to convert women into property, to curtail their freedom, and to remove all individuality. The Burqa (and Niqab and – to a lesser extent – Hijab) are irrevocably linked to the institutionalized, systematic subjugation of women. It has come to represent misogyny as much as the Swastika has become a symbol for racism.

That is why it is not smart to openly defend women wearing that kind of garment. Supporting the Burqa as as viable clothing for women is about as smart as advocating wearing swastikas in Europe.

Context matters.

Too close for comfort…

An article in Pakistan Today reports that

The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) concluded their 192nd meeting on Thursday with the ruling that women are un-Islamic and that their mere existence contradicted Sharia and the will of Allah. As the meeting concluded CII Chairman Maulana Muhammad Khan Shirani noted that women by existing defied the laws of nature, and to protect Islam and the Sharia women should be forced to stop existing as soon as possible.

Luckily this is satire – unfortunately only few people clued in to that fact. The problem is not that too few people understand satire. The real problem is that too many people know that Islamists really think that way. The article hits too close to truth for comfort.

A bad trend

The Guardian has an extraordinarily well written report on a disturbing trend where french girls are brought to England to be mutilated in the horrific tradition of ‘female circumcision’. This monstrosity, officially called ‘female genital mutilation’, is banned as a crime against humanity; the ban is sharply enforced in France. The fact that parents take their children to England to have it performed there casts a dim light on the UK and their handling of human rights. This is a trend that has to be stopped now.

In the report Dr. Emmanuelle Piet says that

tiptoeing around religious or social traditions has no place in the FGM debate.

I fully agree. But this leaves an important question: where does it have a place?

Nowhere where people are subjugated, hurt, or exploited.

The EU should take note, and finally pass strong legislation to end FGM in Europe.