Rape and the Islamic Doctrine That Allows It
The first time that many Americans and others in the West became aware of the extent of the mistreatment of women in Muslim-majority countries was on February 11, 2011, the night that Hosni Mubarak’s government fell in Cairo and CBS News correspondent, Lara Logan, was brutally sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square.
Yet, those already familiar with the Egyptian street know that the brazen sexual harassment of women has been a feature of public life there for a long time. After all, this is an overwhelmingly Muslim country where statistics show more than 90 per cent of women undergo genital mutilation (Female Genital Mutilation-FGM), whose fundamental purpose is to destroy female sexuality—not only so that men may more easily control their own women but in an attempt to remove ostensible “provocation” from men who are raised from infancy in an environment of permissiveness to believe they are superior to women.
And while Western feminist groups determinedly avoid the topic altogether, international organizations charged with studying the treatment of women around the world typically take pains to avoid any insinuation that either FGM or rape of women and girls has anything to do with Islam. Unfortunately, both do. Doctrinally, historically and juridically, Islam sanctions FGM for Muslim females and the rape and sexual slavery of non-Muslim females.
While female “circumcision” (as it is referred to) is either obligatory (Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence) or recommended as “praiseworthy” (Maliki school) under Islamic Law, rape and sex slavery of females seized in war is recounted with approval in the Qur’an (Q 4:24; Q 33:50), hadiths, and Sirat (biographies of Mohammed).
The upsurge in reporting about the sexual assault and rape of women at the hands of Muslim men likely is more reflective of new-found Western awareness about the phenomenon than it is indicative of an actual increase in such behavior, historically speaking. Human rights and women’s organizations, such as Human Rights Watch, while scrupulously careful to avoid connecting sexual assault to Islam, nevertheless do publish regular statistics about its incidence.
For instance, the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, a non-governmental group, found shockingly high levels of Egyptian women who reported being sexually harassed (83 percent), while the percentage for foreign female visitors was an astonishing 98 percent. At least as shocking was the number of Egyptian men who admitted to having harassed women (62 percent).
Political upheaval in Egypt that brought the jihadist Muslim Brotherhood to power in 2011 is cited by many observers as at least one driver behind what they describe as an enormous jump in such incidents and in fact, in December 2012, the Muslim Brotherhood was accused of “paying gangs to go out and rape women and beat men” who were protesting against the new Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi.
An actual sex-slave marriage was aired on the Egyptian TV show Al Haqiqa ("the Truth") in July 2012 complete with public stripping of the woman’s hijab and abaya. The man involved, one Abd al-Rauf Awn, who identified himself as an Islamic scholar who had studied at Al Azhar and claimed to be an expert in Islamic jurisprudence, then appeared on the TV show and self-righteously cited Qur’anic and Islamic historical justifications for his behavior.
Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini is another popular Egyptian preacher whose candid assertions about enslaving, plundering, and raping conquered infidels who refuse to convert or pay the jizya and live under Islamic Law as subjugated dhimmis and referring to them as “spoils of war” were noted by Raymond Ibrahim in May 2011, but otherwise appeared not much out of the mainstream for the Islamic Middle East.
Even more astonishing was the June 2011 suggestion from Salwa al Mutairi, a Kuwaiti woman who once ran for parliament, that sex slavery ought to be legalized and that non-Muslim prisoners from war-torn countries would make ideal, Qur’an-approved concubines for Kuwaiti men seeking to avoid technical adultery. Once again citing sharia as well as historical precedent and the advice of Saudi religious authorities whom she consulted on a trip to Mecca, Mutairi recommended the purchase of sex slaves as the ideal, sharia-compliant solution for Kuwaiti men who don’t want to be tempted into “immoral behavior.”
Then there is Syria—where Salafi Sheikh Yasir al-‘Ajlawni, originally from Jordan, posted a video to You Tube in March 2013, advising that he was soon to issue a fatwa making it legal for Muslims from the Syrian Free Army who are fighting to oust Bashar al-Assad to “capture and have sex with” all non-Sunni women. Like each of the examples provided above, the Sheikh also used the legal, Qur’anic term for “sex slaves,” which in Arabic is melk al-yamin, meaning “that which your right hand possesses.” (Q 4:3)
Understanding the Islamic juridical grounding for male Muslim attitudes about the assault and rape of non-Muslim women also helps contextualize what is going on in cities all over Europe, where statistics for rape committed against host country women and girls by immigrant Muslim men are off the charts.
In Oslo, Norway, for example, 100 percent of all rape cases solved by the police from 2007-2010 were committed by immigrant Muslim men (although, tellingly, the news commentators and police officer in this linked video, are afraid to say so explicitly). In Sweden, between 2001-2010, reported rapes skyrocketed 186 percent. Police in the United Kingdom smashed two large scale child-sex rings in 2012 and 2013 in which Muslim immigrant men from Southwest Asia (“Asians,” as the British press euphemistically calls them) were targeting British girls as young as 11 years old.
Charges including rape, trafficking and organized prostitution and involving “extreme depravity” that dated back as far as 2004 were filed against Muslim defendants, whom the BBC could not bring itself to identify as such, but whose listing of names left no doubt.
It’s not that rape and sexual assault do not occur in any other culture than Muslim ones. The problem is that Islam is the only major world belief system categorized as a “religion” whose doctrine, law and scripture not only permit and sanction such abusive behavior against those of other faiths, but actually sacralize it. Until and unless that somehow changes from within or is changed from without, the savagery revealed by the statistics cited in this essay will continue.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Rape and the Islamic Doctrine That Allows It