While the West is still debating its political correctness and sensitivity towards Islamists and terror suspects in the West, a few courageous Arabs have started a dialogue exposing radical Islamists and the devastating effects of their Fatwas on their culture, child rearing, women’s rights and political tyranny in Muslim society. In some Muslim circles and Arab films, radical Imams and sheikhs have been the subject of jokes, distrust and ridicule. This dialogue is still very limited and is usually accompanied by accusations of Zionist and American conspiracies against Islam. But open discussions have finally started on Arab TV and in Arabic language papers and blogs.
The Hala Show on Egyptian TV by the unveiled and attractive Hala Sarhan discussed a Fatwa by Sheikh Abdel Muhdi Abdel Kader of Al Azhar University in Cairo. The Fatwa confirmed a Hadith by the prophet as true, which stated that the wives of Muslim men should be obliged to breast feed adopted adult males, men in their service such as drivers, cooks or house-help with whom the wife might interact within the home. The reasoning behind this Fatwa is because when a Muslim woman breast feeds another person, child or adult, that person takes the status of her child and thus sex between them is prohibited. The discussion got very heated when another sheikh claimed that this particular Hadith was false. Claiming that a Hadith attributed to the Prophet Muhammad as false is something many Muslims totally avoid discussing. During the interview, the distinguished Al Azhar Sheikh and expert in Hadith, offered a large bet to Ms. Sarhan who answered ‘is that all you can offer for a bet’. Another Islamic expert Shiekh also dared Sheikh Kader if he would allow his wife or daughter to breast feed an adult male. That Hadith is being taught to Sharia students in Al Azhar University. The above is not a joke, but was actually the subject of a heated television program and was published by the Egyptian newspaper Sout Elomma on the November 7, 2005 issue.
Another interview took place on Al Arabiya TV on December 21, 2005 in which a brave Arab women’s rights activist, Ghada Jamshir, from the Arab gulf country of Bahrain exposed the oppressive Sharia courts’ bias against Muslim women and encouraged abused and oppressed Muslim women to immigrate to Spain where, she said, the Spanish government will welcome them and protect their rights under Spanish law.
Ms. Jamshir was open and unapologetic in her criticism of the Islamic Mutaa marriage which allows a Muslim man to marry several wives for the purpose of sexual pleasure only. She also criticized the Islamic Misyar marriage which allows a man to marry a woman in another town so when he needs to visit that town he can satisfy his sexual need while traveling. She was heroic when she attacked radical Islamic clerics who issued fatwas allowing the sexual abuse of children and even infants.
Another Fatwa was issued by Sheikh Ali Abu Hasan of Al Azhar that stated that a woman must obey her husband if he orders her to watch pornographic movies.
In “Diwan Al Arab” magazine in 2004, an article exposed a rise in the sexual abuse of children by family members in Jordan. The magazine reported 1200 reported cases between 1998 and 2001 but most cases in the Arab world go unreported. The population of Jordan is approximately 5 million. I have lately wondered why Michael Jackson is now residing in Bahrain.
These scandals are no longer exposed by Western writers alone, but are now being exposed from within the Arab world. Such Fatwas can no longer stay hidden in the back pages of Islamic education away from the critical eyes of Muslim masses and Muslim converts. They directly or indirectly influence the quality of life in Muslim culture. With today’s diverse media, they can no longer remain hidden but are pushed to the front pages for dialogue and discussion. I salute these brave Muslim men and women who care enough to speak from within Arab countries where their lives are threatened. They are true heroes and the true Muslim freedom fighters who are dedicated to reforming their society and religion.
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