Fatwa of the Month: “A nine-year-old girl has the same sexual capacities as a woman of 20 and over”

A Moroccan Islamic theologian, Mohamed Ben Sheikh Abderrahman Al Maghraoui, has caused a great stir by stating “A nine-year-old girl has the same sexual capacities as a woman of 20 and over”

He issued a fatwa (Islamic edict) where he “legalizes” the union between a child and an adult male. “We found that girls of that age give better benefits than adult women,” he says. “Consequently they are so trained to marry as young of 20 years.”

In the Islamic world, especially in the Arabian Peninsula, marriage between girls and adult males is relatively common, but Muslim theologians have not gone so far in justifying the practice.

Al Maghraoui, a well-known Salafist sheikh, and the author of half a dozen books of theology, posted the fatwa on the website of his association Preaching in the Koran and Sunna. His critics argue that he probably has done it to defend, from a religious point of view, the marriage contracted in secret by one of his friends.

His pronouncement has caused a major scandal in Morocco, but so far there has been no reaction from the authorities. The radical theologian bases his edict in the example of the prophet Muhammad. “Aicha, recalls, had only six years when she became her fiancée but was not married until she turned nine”.

There are “vicious theologians who are capable of putting religion in the service of paedophilia” writes the socialist daily Al Ittihad al Ichtiraki. “The era of our Prophet is completely different from ours. These days a marriage of the kind would be a true injustice towards the girl. A true aberration” says Naji Adib, who heads the association No ones touch my Children, who campaigns in Morocco against this scourge.

“This type of people look at Islam from the point of view which is convenient for them. It is a restrictive vision of Islam. And it is bad. Fatwas like these show the lack of reasoning from those who issue them. I cannot understand via what intellectual road or for what mental construction they come to such aberrations” she added.

Faced with the passivity of the authorities, a lawyer from Rabat, Mourad Bakouri, has taken the initiative to denounce Al Maghraoui for “violation of the Family Code and violation of children’s rights.” The new Moroccan law, which came into force in 2005, stipulates that the minimum age for marriage is 18 years.

Advertisements

Sexual Harassment in Egypt (Hijab won’t stop it)

Almost half of Egyptian women are sexually harassed on a daily basis with more than half of Egyptian men admitting lewd behaviour, the Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights said on Thursday.

The group polled 2,020 people — including men and foreign women — in Cairo, and the centre’s director, Nihad Abul Qomsan, said that the figures showed harassment was on the rise.

Of those surveyed, 83 percent of Egyptian women and 98 percent of foreign women said they had been harassed at some point, while 46 percent of Egyptian women and 52 percent of foreign women said they were harassed daily.

Most women said they were harassed in the street or on public transport, with harassment defined as “any unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature which makes women feel uneasy and gives them a feeling of insecurity.”

Abul Qomsan said that almost two-thirds of Egyptian men — 62 percent — admitted harassing women, including those wearing Islamic headscarves.

“This shows that the belief that harassment is linked to women who wear indecent clothing is false,” she said, condemning the fact that in the deeply religious country women often feel responsible despite being victims.

The centre said that last year only 12 percent of women went to the police with a harassment complaint.

In 2006, women’s rights activists angrily spoke out against what they called the authorities’ acceptance of sexual harassment against women, after a mob of men openly molested women in central Cairo.

The interior ministry said it did not receive any formal complaints and has never admitted any mass harassment occurred despite the incident being widely reported in the press and some bloggers posting footage on the Internet.

Malaysian Muslims: School Uniform Encourages Rape

KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian group condemned the uniform worn by girls at government schools, saying it encouraged rape and pre-marital sex.

“The white blouse is too transparent for girls and it becomes a source of attraction,” National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia vice-president Munirah Bahari said in a statement.

“It becomes a distraction to men, who are drawn to it, whether or not they like looking at it,” she said, calling for a review of uniform policy so that it did not violate Islamic ideals.

In multicultural Malaysia, home to majority-Muslim Malays as well as ethnic Chinese and Indians, female students at government schools have a choice of wearing a white blouse with a knee-length skirt or pinafore.

They may also wear a “baju kurung” and a headscarf is optional for Malay students.

Munirah said that “covering up” according to Islamic precepts was important to fend off social ills, including “rape, sexual harassment and even premarital sex.”

“This leads to babies born out of wedlock and, to an extent, even prostitution,” she said.

“Decent clothes which are not revealing can prevent and protect women from any untoward situations,” she said, suggesting that girls wear a blouse of a different colour or with an undergarment.

However, the girls themselves also came in for criticism, with the association saying that some used the white blouse to lure men.

“This is the source of the problem, where we can see that schoolgirls themselves are capable of using this to attract men to them,” Munirah said.

“This could see them getting molested, having premarital sex and all sorts of things.” – AFP