UN Ignores Islam-based FGM, Honor Killings and Under-Aged Marriage

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Ever wonder why the UN Human Rights Commission doesn’t do much about violence against women?  This video of the commission’s meeting with a concerned NGO will explain it is painful detail: Simple explanation; Islam may not be linked with ANY bad “traditions”, period, end of statement.

Littman UN video rev 4 from Vlad Tepes on Vimeo.

Watch it all, it is worth it!  Get ready to applaud the “point of Order” by the German delegate!!!

Muslim Marriage: A lesson in Moderate Thought

 

Once again I am posting a blog that the hard-core Rightists will just not be able to swallow without gagging. But then again, the true Leftists will reject what I say as well, so I guess that I am still fulfilling my mission; pissing off those who need to be pissed off; example: that thing in the Bible about the motes and beams is especially true in politics and organised religion.

The unreconstructed Leftist will be puzzled at why a “rabid Islamophobic” like The Heretic Crusader should DEFEND a practice of Islam. The answer is really quite simple, I don’t. The Islamic practice is to treat women as chattel property. To be Muslimah is to be bought, and sold, and hoarded. To orthodox Islam a woman is only fulfilled if she daily, unfailingly and willingly makes a classic 1950’s housewife look like a libertine whore; her “desire” is to be a domestic animal fully trained to care for a husband’s sex, food and house; incidentally caring for children and lastly, herself; this mindset in an orthodox Imam’s eye makes her “holy“!

When the customs of veiling, and purdah, and child marriage, and the absolute authority of the husband are considered the issue of polygamy becomes incidental.

In traditional Christian marriages there are certainly many opportunities for abuse. This is no reason to ban marriage, or parenting for that matter, though it is clearly in the children’s interest not to be subject to the possibility of abusive parents using religious authority to do evil to their kids; or yours for that matter.

On top of all of that, traditional Islamic reasoning also says that humans attempting to judge the morality of Islamic rules is not valid; it is to be obeyed, not interpreted; which is the very reason that system is so susceptible abuse.

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Why should polygamy be a crime? KEYSAR TRAD
October 2, 2009

In a liberal society such as Australia, it should not be a crime to have more than one wife, argues Keysar Trad.

IN JUNE last year, Triple J’s current affairs program Hack ran an item on plural relationships. The ABC’s youth broadcaster interviewed me about polygyny, a form of polygamous marriage in which a man has more than one wife at the same time. A bisexual couple were also interviewed.

To my surprise, I was reported on the ABC’s respected current affairs program AM the next morning. Without speaking to me again and after seeking comments from the Attorney-General’s office, AM ran the line: “Undeterred Keysar Trad says he’s hoping to find another wife to join his family. To do so, he says, would be to honour his first wife.”

No such comment had aired on Hack. The media then spent more than a week mocking the practice of a husband having two or more wives simultaneously. No one took issue with the bisexual relationship, which involved one man and his female partner, who also had a relationship with another woman.

Did he say it? Did he not? Who knows, but note that he said that the comment never “aired“, not that he never said it off the air; who knows?

It is central to my points though, that Mr. Trad has conflated a heterosexual man having two women )told by their religion that they are his servants, sex slaves and less than him, in brains and judgment, in the eyes of God) and a relationship say, between a man and 2 bisexual woman; to have a second woman in that situation is truly being fair to the woman. That kind of marriage would be completely different from the traditional Islamic ideal of “honoring” a wife by marrying a younger woman to relieve her of chores, and some of the “burden” of sex.

At the end of an interview on 2UE, Mike Carlton declared that, as a Judeo-Christian nation, we marry one person for life. After a pause, he added that we just have lots of affairs on the side.

In Western society, the “other woman” in an affair is stigmatised. She faces significant pressure to keep the relationship secret to protect her man because modern society frowns on plural heterosexual relations. If she fell pregnant, society – including her partner – could place great pressure on her to have an abortion.

The mistress in an affair should have rights. She needs to be protected if she decides to end the relationship because the man refuses to live up to her expectations and leave his wife.

I am not sure just where Mr. Trad (good name that for a traditionalist) got his impressions. Films from the 60’s maybe? In my experience that while he is right that Western society is monogamous mainly as an offshoot of Church influence his analysis of our sex lives is far from accurate.

First off, he seems to completely miss out on the idea that the woman’s goal may not be the man’s divorce and marriage to her. As to the pressure for an abortion, that is unlikely to be decided mainly on that basis. The woman’s desire to have or not have that man’s baby is far more likely to control her final decision; he has no legal say in it, a concept that Mr. Trad surely finds incomprehensible. On top of that, the power a woman has to cause trouble in the man’s life, both social and legal, give her the upper hand against all but true bounders.

The problems are not what Mr. Trad imagines, they are more involved with the fact that affairs are NOT committed relationships but flings. I am not going to condemn a responsible fling by a persistently deprived spouse but, the subject is marriage not sex as I recall. Let us move on.

The Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, must have been paying attention. A few months later, he introduced legislation granting rights to the second woman so that she could also share the assets of her married lover.

The problem of deception, however, does not go away. Why in the liberal 21st century must we live a lie in relationships? And why do we continue to maintain a facade that monogamy is a perfect institution, when studies consistently reveal that most men admit to having affairs? Monogamy is great, but it is clearly not for everybody.

More cultural misunderstanding here. The legislation merely recognizes a fact; a long term lover has a share in one’s interests. In the U.S. we call it palimony and it is applied when a relationship is long term and stable. It especially applies where a financial burden has been assumed by one or both of the parties in either direction. The issue is Interdependence. Children are always the legal responsibility of both genetic parents.

Islam openly acknowledges this fact of human nature and stipulates a regulatory framework for plural relations. But modern Western society, suspicious of all things Islamic, fails to recognise the qualities of Muslim marriage and family.

Whoops, I have to step in on that little gem. “Islam acknowledges” which “fact of human nature“? That men are horny dogs and are happiest with a cooking, cleaning sex slave at home who thinks she will go to hell if she does not lick the pus from his nose? (That last was a quote from Mohammed about a wife’s duties by the way in one semi-reliable collection of the acts of Mohammed)

The regulatory framework that us Westerners are so suspicious of is known as Sharia. It commands that woman are worth half what a man is and, that she must cover herself except for face and hands lest she “Tempt” some pious man into raping her. It legalizes the rape of an unwilling wife, and sets down in no uncertain terms the rules for having sexual relations with a prepubescent WIFE.

No thanks Mr. Trad, the concept of multiple marriage is not the problem here, the problem is the systematic subjugation of the female by the Islamic, now how did you put it, Regulatory Framework Acknowledging Certain Facts of Life.

Seeing how well it has worked in Islamic lands I hope Mr. Trad forgives us if we give it a pass for now.

Legally enforceable monogamy was introduced by Emperor Justinian in the year 534. Justinian himself kept a courtesan as a mistress. He married her after the death of his wife, Euphemia, and only after he convinced Justin, his predecessor, to change the law so that senators could marry actresses and courtesans.

Ahh, good old Justinian. A superstitious fool who took credit for every victory because of his prayers but, almost lost the empire from ignoring military readiness in favor of those same prayers. If not for a man named Belisarius there would have been no Constantinople left for the Muslims to invade and occupy.

Yet another tribute to the “One Truth” idiots, and their ability to deny any reality while clinging to their possession of “rightness“.

Justinian is said to have criminalized plural unions under the influence of St Augustine, though Augustine clearly stated in his treatise on marriage that having several wives is not “contrary to the nature of marriage”. Yet like other church fathers, Augustine preferred celibacy, or monogamous marriage if one could not be celibate.

Well it seems that Mr. Trad is well versed in Church history, but it is unclear that this information either supports or denies polygamy. Mr. Trad seems to be making that case that it was solely the Church Fathers that came up with the idea. This is simply untrue as the Romans had abandoned multiple wives centuries before this time. Indeed it was likely the influx of Eastern culture that flooded the Empire that caused the subject even to come up by Justinian’s time.

And to me this all is beside the point. Marriage is for the economic and emotional stability of parents and children, anything more than that is a fringe benefit. Every other aspect of a marriage can be had without the relationship being one. We marry to have a partner, a friend, someone to have our back and someone to give ours to. A person to dedicate our energies to making happy even when we find it hard to want to make ourselves happy. This is the job of a spouse, to live every moment knowing you are not alone, knowing that what you do is important to one you love. It is also putting more than one person to the task of building a home and prosperity no matter how the labor is divided.

Over the years, I have counseled adulterers from different faith backgrounds. I never tried to punish, hurt or expose them. I tried to guide them to mend their ways. I tried to help them understand that sex outside marriage was neither in their best interests nor in the best interests of society. If they were married, I did my best to ensure that their marriage remained safe and stable. Had they been in plural unions that conformed to the Islamic regulatory framework, such relationships would not have been adulterous, but divinely sanctioned unions.

Now all of that except the building of a home can be had, with a little more effort and trouble, by a “couple” that is not married or living together. But when we start talking about children that stability and those shared resources become much more important. It is possible for a single parent to raise a fine child. But it is horribly hard on that parent.

We marry to build in the material world and to never be alone in the adventure of life and to give the best environment for our children. It is not because God told us to, it is because we are at our best when we are not alone.

Wow, I love it when an Islamist hangs himself with his own words; it makes my job easier. From his words I get the impression that he includes non-married, but sexually active, people as “adulterers“.

Not a word about the effect on the spouse, merely an admonition to be “safe” and “stable“. What does he tell them? Always use a condom and do not get caught? Given that both the Koran and ahadith say that a lie told to keep the peace is condoned; does he advise against coming clean if caught?

But the part that is the real zinger is how he tells them all that if they only were Muslim they could have their cake and eat it too. Given that there is no stigma to casual divorce (when initiated by the man at any rate) in Islam, it is quite possible for a man who can afford it to marry the regulation four wives, and simply divorce any that become unattractive or stop “pleasing” him in any way. (Heff, have you ever thought about just converting?) He can then find another to marry (buy) and refill his quota.

Is it just me, or do any of my readers out there see the problem for the woman in this “Regulatory Framework” that is so praised as a solution to the perversions of our Western sexual practices?

Australian law has maintained the Justinian facade that a marriage is one man and one woman, and that every other relationship must be kept secret. Under Australian law, bigamy attracts penalties of up to seven years’ imprisonment. On the other hand, polygamous marriages conducted overseas are recognized under family law for the purpose of property settlements.

Here is where Mr. Trad and I very slightly cross paths. I see no reason that a man and two women, or two women, or two men, or three women and two men, should not contract a “marriage” with all the legal rights and duties implied by Western customs. My diversion with Mr. Trad’s Islamic model is that I feel all parties in such marriages should be equal under the law and that no party under 18 may be entered into such contracts.

There is also a new factor that the West needs to confront. I feel it is unconstitutional for us to use the law to say someone cannot marry because of religious “law“.

What then do we do to prevent either Christians, Jews, Mormons or Muslims from marrying wives kept ignorant and then imprisoned in the home (and burka) away from eyes that can see signs of abuse and neglect?

When a couple marry in a Christian church, it indicates they want their marriage to be governed by the rules of that church. The same applies for unions conducted under Muslim rules. For a marriage to be valid under Islam, it requires the consent of both parties, at least two witnesses and a dowry paid by the groom to the bride as a gift for her to use as she pleases.

As I see it, to preserve our traditions and especially the Constitution we must allow the marriages (subject to the above limits on age and coercion) and do what we do already about radical Mormons and Christians (and I believe a few Jews), we keep an eye open for abuses and act if there is cause. This is all that is done for any spouse or child in any abusing family. Society can only apply fair rules and hope the facade of the evil cracks before they harm the innocent. But is that not what we have ALWAYS been limited to in a civil society?

If a woman in a traditional marriage shows signs of abuse someone hopefully sees it and does something. It is not just to try to apply a tighter control on ANY social group than that. But it is certainly in our rights as a society, in my opinion, to see to it that NO legal relationship shows the stigma of abuse. It is NOT in our right to say how many people are involved in that family absent those stigma.

Yeah? So? I have read the Sharia marriage rules; the payment is seen to “purchase” the man’s right to “enjoy” the woman’s vagina. No, I am not being crude, it really is THAT blatantly put.

Further, until the man has had a chance to “enjoy” the woman’s vagina, he is not required to pay her. However if he has the opportunity, but fails to “enjoy” his possession, he must pay her, and get his jollies later.

Any children of this marriage are seen as the property of the man; at best the divorced mother might get to keep them ‘til they hit puberty.

Further the divorced woman is supposed to get all her property returned to her but, this rarely happens unless her family is strong enough to force the issue. Many times a husband simply coerces his wife into signing her assets “freely” over to him sometime before he casts her off.

Islamic marriage is no solution for the issues of sex outside of marriage either. The Koran, ahadith and all Sharia are clear that having sex with non-Muslim “possessions of the right hand” is a perfectly acceptable method of dealing with what Mr. Trad calls Human Nature. Islam treats these women, and the children that might result, as non-entities; useful to legally slake the lust of a “moral” Muslim man. This is new “morality” that will save the ‘decadent’ West?

There is no requirement for such a union to be “legally” registered with a secular body that does not recognize the clauses in a Muslim union. Plural relations of this nature that take place in Australia are treated like de facto relationships and are not registered. This keeps them outside the ambit of the nation’s criminal and marriage laws. Such unions are not considered adulterous because they follow the rules of an Islamic union. They are not secret and they carry no stigma under God.

Not secret, except from the law and anyone who might report abuses you mean. This article is starting to read like a Dah’wah (Religious recruiting) aimed at adulterous, wife beating pedophiles wishing to sanctify their illegalities in the name of God by becoming Muslims.

According to this a Muslim marriage is ONLY concerned with obeying Sharia rules, and is outside the jurisdiction of mere human laws. If I take him at face value, and I have no reason not to, and look at what Sharia says about marriage, then he is promoting the idea that a man can come home from work and take his wife from her cooking to have sex with her in any fashion he likes. He can then beat her (lightly) if she has refused to obey his whims after verbal admonitions (telling her that God will only love her if she does what her husband desires) and an short period “making” her sleep apart from his no-doubt desirable bod.

Sharia tells the devout Muslim man that he is not allowed to cause physical (what about emotional) harm to his “wife” if she is “not yet able to bear intercourse” from being too young in body. It does allow him to do ANYTHING else with her, or make her do things for him, to the same effect as “enjoying” her vagina “properly” so long as his “play” does not result in this physical harm.

Had enough yet? This is all as mainstream in Islam as “For Richer and for Poorer, in sickness and in health, etc.” is in the West.

Yes, marriage needs to be reformed but, allowing traditional Islamic forms to spread in the West would be a very bad thing to this Moderate Jeffersonian.

This is not to say that people are actively encouraged to enter such unions. Islam stipulates very strict equality in the treatment of wives. If a man cannot treat his wives equally, the Koran says he should have only one. Monogamy is the norm in Muslim communities. However, men who are capable of supporting more than one partner equally are advised to be open, honest and accountable in their relationships and to treat their wives fairly.

Mr. Trad, Oh! Mr. Trad! You left a part out!!! The Koran says that if he can’t treat more than one WIFE fairly he should only have one WIFE and whatever other sex partners he likes that are “possessions of the right hand.” This has been interpreted by various scholars as meaning anything from sex slaves to any non-Islamic prostitute. The exact limit depends on your school of Islam, and the opinion of your Imam.

Islamic sex in and of itself (as in old school Christianity and Judaism) is seen as a defilement in and of itself. The only question a Muslim man need concern himself with is whether it is ALLOWED for him to have sex with this woman or that.

Since he is forbidden to marry a non-Muslim then by Islamic law the woman has no rights and is no threat to his marriage bed. Any children are either abandoned as bastards to her or, adopted and raised Muslim; the choice is the whim of the man.

There is nothing in Islam to prevent a “devout” man from being highly adulterous by Western standards; it all depends on how and who he has sex with as to whether it is a sin or not.

I fail to see, Mr. Trad, how this would HELP any of the issues that we face here in the West.

Yes, polygyny may lead to jealousy. We are all human. But in a caring and sharing world where we become euphoric when we give to those in need, sponsor orphans and provide foster care, the ultimate in giving is for a woman to give a fraction of her husband’s time and affection to another woman who is willing to share with her. It is a spiritually rewarding experience that allows women to grow while the husband toils to provide for more than one partner.

Well, I can see this argument having some validity, but only as much as it has when applied to men. I want to see anyone, Christian or Muslim or whoever explain how it is o.k. for a man to have two wives who share him but not o.k. for one woman to be shared by two men. Explain without resorting to “God told me so” arguments that is. Personally I see no problem with either one if all agree and especially if the two same sex partners are highly bisexual. In that case in fact it almost becomes required to have the third for a stable relationship without huge tension, or sex outside the marriage occurring regularly.

In most cases, the husband ends up providing separate accommodation. The women can agree to share dwellings – it’s entirely up to them. Many men in Western society complain about their mother-in-law or a “nagging” wife. If his wife and in-laws were difficult, would he seek more of the same? The willingness of a man to take on another wife is in fact a form of praise to his first wife.

Oh really? “You know dear, you are so un-troubling, and your parents are so nice to me; I know it is only for your sake that they are not nasty slobs when they visit.

In tribute to your skills at wifely things I shall marry 15 year old Tasha. I am quite willing to chance that she will not live up to your example but, I am sure that you are so good that I must be blessed by God in my marriages.”

Is this the logic Mr. Trad? Just who allowed you to pull THAT one from their emotionally constipated rectum?
And have you addressed how the issue of wealthy old men who can afford to A) bribe parents into agreeing to the marriage, and B) keep separate households for 4 wives, affects the chances of Salim on the Street to get married before he is past 50; assuming he is wealthy by then?

Oh, Mr. Trad, do you think about how limiting multi-partner marriages to multiple women for one men will affect the ratio of single young men to single young women? Are you in fact thinking about anything, but how cool it would be to have God tell you that if you can afford it you can be Hugh Hefner, as long as you follow a few simple, and morally undemanding, rules?

While Islam sanctions polygyny, it does not condone threesomes. Islam also does not permit polyandry, a form of relationship in which a wife takes more than one husband. There are many reasons for this. Some are medical, some relate to paternity. Others pertain to the sexual proclivities of the different genders. The sex therapist Bettina Arndt, promoting her book Sex Diaries, outlined the merits of women saying “yes” more often to sex with their husbands. If Arndt’s research is reflective of a greater portion of the population, a monogamous relationship leads to reduced interest in sex among women and a perpetual state of conjugal frustration among men.

What planet is this man from again? As far as I can tell Islam regards a married threesome (or one with sex slaves) as not forbidden (haram) but simply not recommended. So, do it if you really like, but pray extra afterward when you are making yourself clean again before God.

As far as the rest of it goes, I would imagine that worldwide there are as many frustrated and unfulfilled wives as there are similar husbands; I would like to see how Mr. Trad would view sex if he got a chance to make love with a woman who had not had her clitoris cut off, and been, at the least, programmed from birth to regard sex as for his enjoyment only.

What a lack of joy to be in bed with any woman who believes her own desires are a sign of evil and only by performing like a shameless whore her husbands every desire can she be sexually “healthy.”

If men in monogamous relations are not satiated, by its very nature polyandry creates an overwhelming burden for a woman in long-term relationships.

Again, I think Mr. Trad is still living in the Middle East. In the West we realize that it is the men more often cannot keep up after a certain age. But then again, if Western men were sleeping with women who are “circumcised“, and treated like dogs that can cook and clean and screw, Western women also might be a tad less than horny from time to time.

Who someone marries first is an accident of history. If a man who has an affair had met his mistress before his wife, he may have married her. Why maintain the facade that is the Justinian doctrine of monogamy knowing it has failed as a social experiment?

Mr. Trad here forgets his own emphasis on the idea that a man should not marry more wives than he can be “fair” to. Is it at all fair to marry a woman, then marry another that is a “real” love?

Can you imagine being that first woman so “honored“? But this fits in with the Modern Muslim, and old-school Judeo-Christian, view that a woman is a burden instead of a prize and partner.

And let us not forget that even if the man admits that he cannot be fair to the first wife when he meets his “true love” he can simply do what a Western man would do; get a divorce and remarry; the difference is that in the West a man, or a woman, will think twice and thrice before taking this step because of the legal and social ramifications; ramifications that are absent for the most part in Islam with its easy marriage and divorce for men only.

A man can have multiple girlfriends. Why not formalize that into a commitment for life? Why should “bigamy” be a crime?

Well, generally any man with “multiple girlfriends” does not really have a true emotional attachment to any of them. For the girls to marry him would be to chain themselves to a “master” who’s heart is not engaged.

Is the total focus in Islam on only the man coming clear yet? Can we “reform marriage” in the West by taking two steps backward, or is Mr. Trad just rationalizing in the dark?

Keysar Trad is president of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia. He will deliver a speech on why polygamy and other Islamic values are good for Australia at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Opera House today.

Wow, if that is the best he can do in making Islamic polygamy attractive to Western minds, I would love to hear about the other “values” he commends.

Book review: Why does God hate women?


Reviewed by Johann Hari – 02 July 2009
After all the arguments for subordinating women have been shown to be self-serving lies, what are misogynists left with? They have only one feeble argument that is still deferred to and shown undeserving respect across the world, even by people who should know better: “God told me to. I have to treat women as lesser beings, because it is inscribed in my Holy Book.”

Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom are the editors of Butterflies and Wheels, the best atheist site on the web. In Does God Hate Women? they forensically dismantle the last respectable misogyny. They argue: “What would otherwise look like stark bullying is very often made respectable and holy by a putative religious law or aphorism or scriptural quotation . . . They worship a God who is a male who gangs up with other males against women. They worship a thug.”

Every major religion’s texts were written at a time when women were regarded as little better than talking cattle. Their words and commands reflect this, plainly and bluntly. This book starts with a panoramic sweep across the world, showing – with archetypal cases – how every religion has groups today thumping women down with its Holy Book.

In Zamfara State in northern Nigeria, a pregnant 13-year-old girl called Bariya Ibrahim received 180 lashes of the cane in 2001 after being pimped by her father. The state’s attorney general said: “It is the law of Allah, so we don’t have anything to worry about.” In Jerusalem, ultra-Orthodox Jews have set up “modesty police” who terrorise young women who talk to men or show ordinary parts of their bodies. They break into their homes if they are seen with men; they force them to sit at the back of the bus, away from the men; and they even, in one recent instance, sprayed acid in the face of a 14-year-old girl.

In the areas of India still dominated by orthodox Hinduism, a widow is still expected to commit suicide when her husband dies, or go into isolation in an ashram. One – a septuagenarian woman named Radha Rani Biswas – fled and now begs on the streets of Vrindavan. She said: “My son tells me: ‘You have grown old. Now who is going to feed you? Go away.’ What do I do? My pain has no limit.” And on the directory of divine misogyny goes, running through Catholicism, Mormonism and more. Benson and Stangroom note: “Religion doesn’t necessarily originate ideas about female subordination, but it lends them a penumbra of righteousness, and it makes them ‘sacred’ and thus a matter for outrage if anyone disputes them.”

Methodically, they go through the excuses offered for these raw abuses of human rights by the religious, and their apologists.

The first – especially beloved of the Vatican and Islamists – is that women are not being treated worse, just “differently”. They claim that it accords a woman special “dignity” to trap her in the home. But this is an abuse of language. As the authors note: “Permanent consignment to a limited and lesser role in the world is not what ‘dignity’ is generally understood to mean . . . The smallness and intimacy and relatedness of home are fine things, but not if one is confined to them permanently.”

The religio-misogynists then claim that it is “racist” or “imperialist” to oppose such abuses. This merrily ignores how women within these cultures protest against their treatment – very loudly. They aren’t objecting to being imprisoned in their homes, or having their genitalia cut, or being stoned for having sex, because a white person told them to. Benson and Stangroom put it well: “Multiculturalism by definition makes a fetish of cultures, and it is almost impossible to do that without treating them as monolithic. As soon as you admit that all cultures have internal dissent and nonconformity, the whole idea of protecting or deferring to particular cultures breaks down into incoherence.”

Then the gentler, nicer apologists for religion arrive. They say that misogynists are simply misinterpreting the holy texts, which are in fact about love and compassion and kindness. But the authors point out this is certainly not the God of the texts who orders his followers to commit mass murder, including of women and children, and explicitly says women are inferior beings.

So, in order to defend their God, the apologists often have to lie about what He and His Prophets “say” in the texts. Cherie Blair, for example, claimed in a lecture: “It is not laid down in the Quran that women can be beaten by their husbands.” But it quite plainly is. The Quran says: “If you fear high-handedness from your wives, remind them [of the teachings of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them.”

Karen Armstrong – one of the most egregious defenders of superstition – repeatedly claims that Muhammad was an emancipator of women. Yet it is explained in the Hadith (the sayings and traditions of the Prophet) that he married a prepubescent child, and that when he was given two slave girls he gave the ugly one away to a friend and kept the beautiful one, Maryam, to use sexually. It is a strange model of female emancipation, to sleep with children and slaves.

There are people in all religions who have – through theological contortions – managed to leave behind literal readings of the text and invent a less foul God to believe in. It is not for atheists to say that one group of believers is right and the other is wrong, as we think they’re all wrong. We can note that the less literalist a believer is, the easier he is to live beside, but we will only discredit literalism and force reform if we are honest about the words of the texts, rather than trying to soft-soap believers.

By the end of this book-length blast, Benson and Stangroom have left religious hatred of women in rubble. Anybody not addled by superstition will have to conclude that such bigotry deserves neither respect nor deference. It does not deserve the taboos that today surround it. It deserves the opposite: contempt – and relentless, unyielding opposition.

Does God Hate Women?
Ophelia Benson and Jeremy Stangroom
Continuum, 208pp, £14.99

Saudi women ‘kept in childhood’


From the BBC

Women cannot make even simple decisions on children, the report says
Saudi women are being kept in perpetual childhood so male relatives can exercise “guardianship” over them, the Human Rights Watch group has said.

The New York-based group says Saudi women have to obtain permission from male relatives to work, travel, study, marry or even receive health care.

Their access to justice is also severely constrained, it says.

The group says the Saudi establishment sacrifices basic human rights to maintain male control over women.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.

Saudi clerics see the guardianship of women’s honour as a key to the country’s social and moral order.

‘No progress’

The report, Perpetual Minors: Human Rights Abuses Stemming from Male Guardianship and Sex Segregation in Saudi Arabia, draws on more than 100 interviews with Saudi women.

Read the full HRW report

The report says that Saudi women are denied the legal right to make even trivial decisions for their children – women cannot open bank accounts for children, enrol them in school, obtain school files or travel with their children without written permission from the child’s father.

Human Rights Watch says that Saudi women are prevented from accessing government agencies that have no established female sections unless they have a male representative.

The need to establish separate office spaces for women is a disincentive to hiring female employees, and female students are often relegated to unequal facilities with unequal academic opportunities, the report says.

Male guardianship over adult women also contributes to their risk of exposure to violence within the family as victims of violence find it difficult to seek protection or redress from the courts.

Social workers, physicians and lawyers say that it is nearly impossible to remove guardianship from male guardians who are abusive, the group says.

“It’s astonishing that the Saudi government denies adult women the right to make decisions for themselves but holds them criminally responsible for their actions at puberty,” said Ms Deif.

“For Saudi women, reaching adulthood brings no rights, only responsibilities.”

Read it all by clicking on the post title