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Slave Brides By: Phyllis Chesler
Chesler Chronicles - pajamasmedia.com | Wednesday, August 20, 2008


“Shaikha,” a 16-year-old Saudi girl, drank bleach in an attempt to kill herself because her father was forcing her to marry a 75-year-old man. And why? So that Shaikha’s father could himself marry the elderly man’s 13-year-old daughter! Shaikha begged and pleaded not to be forced into this marriage–even her mother supported her plea; all to no avail.

While such normalized atrocities continue in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Muslim world, Random House cancels the publication of a novel, The Jewel of Medina, based on the life of Aisha, the prophet Mohammed’s beloved wife whom he married when she was either six or seven years-old. The marriage was presumably consummated when Aisha was nine-years-old.

Can there possibly be a connection between what Mohammed did and what other Muslim men do? Is the mere suggestion heretical? Is telling the truth about Mohammed heretical?

According to the article in Al-Arabiya, Shaikha might have some redress since, according to Shariah law, both parties have to consent to the marriage or the marriage may be considered “null and void.”

And, a Pakistani mother and son unit in England imported a “slave bride” from Pakistan whom the son, “egged on by his mother,” violently beat and tormented daily. (Oedipus and Jocasta can’t hold a candle to this merged pair).Their fiendish plan was to turn the first wife into the family’s “slave” and to procure a second wife with whom to have children. The man, Haroon Ahktar, violently beat 20 year-old Sania Bibi twice a day, sometimes more. She was forced to work 17 hours a day. Her mother-in-law, Zafia Bibi, kept threatening to have her “shot in the head.” A sister-in-law threatened to have her put in an asylum and “given electric shocks.” Haroon Ahktar threw her down the stairs, smashed her into windows, dragged her by the hair, cursed her constantly. According to Tamara Cohen in the Daily Mail:

“(Ahktar) said ‘You are not good enough for me’ and he would get married a second time and he would have children through his second marriage and I would have to take care of these children.’

The jury of seven men and five women heard that when the teenager arrived in the UK her clothes and shoes and jewelry were immediately taken from her by her mother-in-law. She was forced to wear pajamas for her housework, and banned from answering the door, or using the telephone.”

When Sania Bibi escaped and went to relatives for refuge, they turned their back on her. They told her that family “honor” demanded that she stay with her husband’s family.

Miraculously, Ahktar was convicted of five counts of bodily harm. No matter what the sentence turns out to be, the fact that a trial took place and that a conviction was obtained constitutes a powerful triumph of western law over such normalized barbarism.

I hope that the British police understand that Sania Bibi is a marked woman who may need permanent round the clock protection. More: I hope that publishers in the West understand that documenting such truths is crucial.

NEWSFLASH! My esteemed colleague, Dr. Andrew Bostom, points out that the Jones’ novel may actually glorify Mohammed’s pedophilia. However, I do not think that is the reason for the Random House cancellation. Publishers do not routinely cancel novels because they glorify cruelty towards women and children or because they are poorly written; on the contrary, such novels often sell very well. If you go to the Bostom website you may read the Prologue to this novel.


Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) The New Anti-Semitism (2003) and The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (2005). She has just published a new edition of Woman's Inhumanity to Woman (2009). She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women's studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women's Health Network (1976). Her website is www.phyllis-chesler.com.


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