Tuesday 16 August 2016

Rape and Sexual Slavery in Islam (Part 4)

The Islamic Rape of the West

On New Year’s Eve in 2015, hundreds of women in Cologne, Germany, reported being sexually assaulted all over the city by gangs of men who were “North African or Arab in appearance”. The mainstream media reported these events belatedly and in a limited fashion, but they were the first exposure for many in the West to the dangers of mass immigration from the Muslim world.

And yet, despite the large-scale nature of the Cologne attacks, they were merely the tip of the iceberg. Left mainly unreported by the English-speaking media was the fact that hundreds of similar sexual assaults occurred in Hamburg and Stuttgart on the same night. The wave of migrant rape in Germany has also continued well into 2016, with women, teenage girls and even young children being raped and attacked by Muslim immigrants and asylum seekers in numerous public places, including shopping centres, parks and train stations. There has also been a spate of migrant sex attacks on children at public swimming pools, leading to some pools banning male refugees or segregating men and women.

Sweden has also been heavily hit by the Muslim rape epidemic, being perhaps the second country behind Germany to take in a huge number of “refugees” during the 2015 migration crisis. In May 2016, the Swedish police released a report noting that Sweden is at the top of the EU's statistics on physical and sexual violence against women, sexual harassment and stalking. The report stated that the vast majority of the crimes are committed by “asylum-seeker boys” and “foreign men”. As in Germany, sexual assaults at public pools are widespread, and in 80% of cases, the perpetrators have been “unaccompanied refugee children”. The rapes are occurring everywhere, including within the asylum centres. In one case, an Afghan asylum seeker raped a 15-year-old girl on only his second day in Sweden.

These are not just a few isolated cases. This phenomenon is manifesting itself on a daily basis all across Europe, with examples also occurring in other countries including Finland, Austria and Switzerland. In 2011, a report by Norwegian police revealed that 100% of all violent rapes – literally every single one – that occurred in the city of Oslo during the previous year had been committed by immigrants, with up to two-thirds of overall rapes attributable to non-natives. The largest first- and second-generation migrant group in Oslo is Pakistanis, with thousands of Somalians, Iraqis, Turks, Moroccans and Iranians also present.

In the UK, this continuing “rape jihad” has manifested itself in the form of so-called “grooming gangs”, whereby large gangs of men draw in vulnerable underage girls, often plying them with alcohol, before raping and abusing them repeatedly, sometimes over a period of several years and often accompanied by severe intimidation and threats. There have been dozens of such crimes recorded over the past several years alone, with notable instances occurring in Rochdale, Rotherham, Ipswich, Oldham, Oxford and Halifax, among many others.

Of course, gang rape is sadly an evil that is found among all religious and ethnic groups. But although the media frequently refer to these gangs as “Asian” (an appellation which has angered some Hindu and Sikh groups, who do not want to be accused of an offense they are more often the victims of than the perpetrators), this is in fact an overwhelmingly Muslim problem. As of March 2016, Muslims are estimated to make up around 90% of gang grooming convictions in Britain, and statistically speaking, a Muslim is about 170 times more likely to be convicted of this crime than a non-Muslim – an especially disturbing fact given that Muslims are only around 5% of the UK population.

Up until now, mainstream analysts and political authorities have been woefully unable to explain why all of these phenomena keep occurring. And yet, for those who understand Islam, the explanation is simple, intellectually consistent, and tragically predictable. Consider the following established facts:

Islam teaches that non-Muslims are inferior to Muslims.
Islam promotes an image of women as sexual playthings for men (see link below).
Islam permits Muslim men to keep sex slaves.
Islam permits Muslim men to have sex with young children.

All of these facts have contributed towards the Muslim rape crisis in the West today: Hence women are targeted for sexual abuse and rape, who are predominantly non-Muslims, and are often under the legal age of consent.


As this recent set of posts has proven, the practice of sexual slavery by the Islamic State, and the widespread sexual assaults committed by Muslim immigrants to the West, are all justified by orthodox, traditional Islamic teachings that can no longer be denied. Speaking after the mass assaults on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, the local imam, Sami Abu Yusuf, said that the victims of the attacks were themselves responsible, by dressing inappropriately and wearing perfume, adding that “[i]t is not surprising the men wanted to attack them.” Events in recent years have proven that these attitudes are also pervasive among a large number of ordinary Muslims.

The response of European political authorities to this never-ending stream of rape and perversion has been supine at best, and dangerously negligent at worst. Whether it is German authorities putting up posters at swimming pools with pictures telling migrants not to grope women, or British authorities failing to deal with Muslim rape gangs for fear of being called “racist”, all of them have failed Europe’s female population. The surge of Muslim immigration initiated by Angela Merkel has only added fuel to the fire.

The only way to combat this problem is by recognition of its root causes. Our leaders and analysts, all across the political spectrum, have consistently failed to do this, and innocent Western women have paid the price for their spinelessness. It is time that defenders of freedom finally held them to account.

Friday 12 August 2016

Rape and Sexual Slavery in Islam (Part 3)

Child Marriage

Under British law, sex with a child under the age of thirteen is automatically classified as rape, regardless of whether or not the child “consented” to the act. What are we to make, then, of Muhammad, who is reported in Islamic tradition to have married and had sex with a nine-year-old girl when he was in his fifties?

The most authoritative hadith collections record numerous variations of this straightforward statement: “[The Prophet] married 'Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consummated that marriage when she was nine years old.” (Bukhari v.5, b.58, no.234, and many others). Muslims today, understandably embarrassed and ashamed by this fact, attempt to deny that Aisha was nine when Muhammad had sex with her, but the textual evidence in the hadith and other Islamic literature is overwhelming. References to her being nine appear, multiple times, in five of the six hadith collections which are considered most reliable by Muslim theologians, as well as in the writings of numerous renowned scholars and historians, including Ibn Hisham (d.833), Tabari (d.923) and Ibn Kathir (d.1373).

Any lingering doubts about what Muhammad did with Aisha are quickly erased by other hadith, which recount the following revolting details:

Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet and I used to take a bath from a single pot while we were Junub [ritually impure from recent sexual intercourse]. During the menses, he used to order me to put on an Izar (dress worn below the waist) and used to fondle me. (Bukhari v.1, b.6, no.298) 
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin [“Mother of the Believers”]: The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to kiss her and suck her tongue when he was fasting. (Sunan Abu Dawud b.13, no.2380)

Since Aisha was only eighteen when Muhammad died (Muslim b.8, no.3311, and others), we can be sure that at no point was she old enough by the standards of any decent person to be subjected to this sort of contact by an elderly man.

It is frequently countered that child marriage was common in seventh-century Arabia, and so Muhammad was not doing anything unusual for the time and place in which he lived. But even if this is true (and there is no evidence that it is), the most important point is not the cultural context of Muhammad's marriage to Aisha, but its impact on Muslims of all future times and places. Because Muhammad is held up as a “beautiful pattern of conduct” for Muslims to follow (Qur'an 33:21), child marriage became a fixed part of Islamic law, and Muslims ever since have sought to emulate their prophet’s example, even today. For example, Iranian law currently sets the legal marriageable age for girls at thirteen, although it allows parents to marry them off even younger with the permission of a judge. Islamic clerics in the country have made attempts in recent years to reduce the marriage age to nine in imitation of Muhammad. Meanwhile, it is estimated that despite laws against child marriage in Afghanistan, over half of girls there are married before the age of fifteen. In Pakistan, roughly a third of all registered marriages involve children. Even in Britain, it has been reported that girls as young as nine are being forced into marriage by Islamic clerics in the London Borough of Islington. In 2007, Dr. Bilal Phillips, the imam of a Birmingham mosque, was recorded saying: “The Prophet Muhammad practically outlined the rules regarding marriage prior to puberty. With his practice, he clarified what is permissible, and that is why we shouldn't have any issues about an older man marrying a younger woman.”

Coming soon: What Islamic attitudes towards rape mean for Western women

Wednesday 10 August 2016

BBC Covers Up Motive For Islamic Blasphemy Killings

Asad Shah, who was murdered by his sharia-compliant co-religionist for blasphemy

Yesterday saw the sentencing of Tanveer Ahmed, a British Muslim who murdered another Muslim, Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah, for "disrespecting Islam" after he apparently claimed to be a prophet.

The BBC chose to cover this event, as is its wont, by covering up the real motive for the attack and spinning for Islam, revealing in the process the depths of totalitarian depravity nested within Britain's Muslim communities.

The prime focus of a new article published on the BBC website today is on the inspiration drawn by the killer from another jihadist murderer: Mumtaz Qadri, who murdered a Pakistani governor five years ago after he criticised Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws. While this source of inspiration is important, and should be covered, in the hands of the BBC it merely serves as a way of distracting from the key ideological inspiration for both of the killers: sharia blasphemy law, which I have covered at length here, but is nowhere mentioned in the piece.

The article then devotes a lengthy section to discussing the views of Pirzada Muhammad Masood Qadiri, a Muslim scholar from Bolton who describes himself on his Facebook page as a "Teacher, Lecturer, Public Speaker. Arabic, English, Persian, Punjabi and Urdu Linguist." Qadiri openly supported the Pakistani murderer Mumtaz Qadri, and flew out to Pakistan for his funeral after he was executed by the government. Qadiri describes Qadri as a "martyr" and a "warrior", and says that he should have been freed on grounds of diminished responsibility, since he just "could not control his anger" after hearing his beloved prophet being blasphemed.

When questioned about whether he also supports the murderer of Asad Shah, Qadiri responds: "You cannot compare this country with Pakistan. Pakistan was created in the name of Islam. [The UK] was not created as a Muslim country and the Quran and Sunnah are not the law here." The interviewer presses him as to whether those like himself - who are supportive of Mumtaz Qadri - are actually also supportive of Tanveer Ahmed too, but just worried about getting in trouble with the authorities. He simply says "no".

Because not only is the killing of blasphemers part of Islam, but so is taqiyya.

The article then tries to make a bizarre connection between blasphemy killings and the Barelvi form of Islam - a train of the Hanafi school that is predominant in Pakistan and India:

Tanveer Ahmed and Mumtaz Qadri both come from the Barelwi sect of Islam - normally associated with peaceful and spiritual interpretations of Islam - although both claim to have acted as individuals rather than on behalf of any group. 
Many of those supportive of Mumtaz Qadri are also Barelwi. Masood Qadiri says the particular emphasis this school of thought places on the Prophet means they react more strongly to any perceived insult. 
"We preserve all the traditions of the Prophet - how he lived his life - and we try and present the perfect picture of him. Because of that when someone insults him anywhere in the world the emotional feeling it creates in us is more than in any other group."

No basic fact-checking seems to have been done here. First of all, to "preserve all the traditions of the Prophet - how he lived his life" is how all Muslims are taught to live Islam - certainly Sunni Muslims in any case. The Qur'an says that Muhammad presents a “beautiful pattern of conduct” for Muslims to follow (33:21), and displays an “exalted standard of character” (68:4). Muslims everywhere are instructed to abide by the sunna, or the traditions and example of Muhammad. So to claim that Barelvis have this special veneration for Muhammad, and then to use that to justify murder, is just wrong on so many levels by the BBC.

Finally, the article cites an anonymous spokesman for the Council of Mosques in Bradford - where Tanveer Ahmed lived - who says that while he completely condemns all acts of violence, "one solution would be to introduce a blasphemy law in Britain."

Got that? So we can't have people being killed for blasphemy against Islam in the UK...we ought to just lock them up instead. This argument is presented completely uncritically by the Beeb's Secunder Kermani.

Ultimately, the biggest flaw of the whole article - emblematic of the mainstream media in general - is that it comes completely without the context required to understand ghastly events like the murder of Asad Shah. No discussion of Muhammad's assassinations of blasphemers, and the sharia blasphemy law that sprang from it. No discussion of the fact that a hugely disproportionate number of Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa have - and enforce - sharia-based blasphemy laws (is the BBC going to claim that they are all dominated by Barelvis?). No discussion of the fact that numerous polls have shown that somewhere between one-fifth and one-quarter of British Muslims support the murder of those who mock Muhammad and Islam, while a significant majority reject such violence but still support imprisonment and legal sanctions against blasphemers. No questions raised about how many other imams and Islamic authorities around the country might agree with Pirzada Muhammad Masood Qadiri's fascist disdain for freedom of speech and support for a fanatical murderer.

And yet, none of this surprises me at all. It's par for the course. That alone should tell you how bad things have become in this country today.

Sunday 7 August 2016

Rape and Sexual Slavery In Islam (Part 2)

The “Four Witnesses” Clause

As well as directly sanctioning rape, the Qur’an also indirectly enables it, by means of a stipulation that allegations of adultery and fornication must have four witnesses to back them up, or the accuser will be liable to punishment themselves: “And those who accuse honourable women but bring not four witnesses, scourge them (with) eighty stripes and never (afterward) accept their testimony – They indeed are evil-doers.” (24:4) This requirement derives from a famous incident in Muhammad’s life, in which his favourite wife, Aisha, was accused of adultery, only to be exonerated by Allah Himself, much to Muhammad’s relief (Bukhari v.5, b.59, no.462). The Qur’an directly addresses the incident, berating Aisha’s accusers with the question: “Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they produce not witnesses, they verily are liars in the sight of Allah.” (24:13)

Importantly, subsequent Islamic legal authorities explained that the four witnesses must all be men. For example, the authoritative legal manual known as the Hedaya, which is widely consulted today in Pakistan and elsewhere, elaborates: “The evidence required in a case of whoredom is that of four men, as has been ordained in the Qur'an, and the testimony of a woman in such case is not admitted...because the testimony of women involves a degree of doubt, as it is merely a substitute for evidence, being accepted only where the testimony of men cannot be had; and therefore it is not permitted in any matter liable to drop from the existence of a doubt...”  This likely derives from another verse in the Qur’an, where a woman’s testimony is said to be worth half that of a man: “And call to witness, from among your men, two witnesses. And if two men be not (at hand) then a man and two women, of such as ye approve as witnesses, so that if the one erreth (through forgetfulness) the other will remember.” (2:282) When Muhammad was asked about this, he explained: “This is because of the deficiency of a woman's mind.” (Bukhari v.3, b.48, no.826)

Muslim apologists often claim that the “four witnesses” rule is a positive thing, as it makes the standards for proving guilt when it comes to adultery so high that it is much harder to convict, and so the infamous sharia punishment of stoning to death for adultery will therefore be applied quite rarely. This may be technically true, but it also has far more disturbing implications. Adultery in Islam falls into the general category of zina, or fornication, which encompasses any illicit sexual intercourse not prescribed by sharia.  If a man rapes a woman who is not his wife or his sex slave (both of whom, as we have already seen, can be legally raped under sharia law), then this would be a punishable zina offence, but if the woman cannot provide four male witnesses who say they saw the act, then she is liable to be punished instead.

This is not just a hypothetical problem. In Dubai in recent years, numerous Western women have reported being raped, only to find themselves being arrested and sentenced to lengthy prison terms on charges of extramarital sex. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the Muslim women’s rights organisation Sisters in Islam estimates that three-quarters of women in jail in the country are there because they were raped. Furthermore, when the Pakistani government considered reforming these rape laws in 2006, a group of furious Islamic clerics protested. They demanded that the amendments be withdrawn, since they would turn Pakistan into a “free-sex zone”. They insisted that these modernisation efforts were “against the teachings of Islam”, and that they had only been passed to appease the West.

Based on all that we have discussed so far, we can see that far from forbidding rape, Islam actually permits the rape of almost every woman on the planet. And yet, what we have covered to this point is not even the worst of it.

Coming soon: Islam's divinely-sanctioned form of statutory rape - child marriage.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Rape and Sexual Slavery In Islam (Part 1)


In May 2015, U.S. Special Operations Forces captured a number of documents during a raid on a high-ranking Islamic State official in Syria. Among the documents was a fatwa, or Islamic legal ruling, issued by Islamic State theologians, outlining the “rules” regarding who can have sex with women captured in battle by the jihadist organisation, and when the rape of these sex slaves is and is not permissible.

ISIS has been open and unashamed about its support for sexual slavery, justifying it in terms of Islamic theology on multiple occasions, and the harrowing testimony of the group’s victims – particularly those from the Yazidi minority in Iraq – serves as heartbreaking confirmation that the practice is taken very seriously.

But just how Islamic is this behaviour? A major manual of Islamic law which has been certified by Cairo’s Al-Azhar University makes only two mentions of rape in 1200 pages, and while it is forbidden on both occasions, it is important to note that it is only prohibited against those who are “unlawful” sexual partners for Muslims – suggesting that there are “lawful” women who could conceivably be raped without sanction under sharia.

This new set of blog posts will examine the phenomenon of Islamic sexual slavery, casting light on the legal authority Islam provides to its male adherents to justify rape, as well as elaborating on the implications of these doctrines regarding the increasingly common sexual abuse of women by Muslim immigrants in the West.

Sexual Slavery in the Qur’an and Hadith

On several occasions in the hadith, Muhammad is depicted as uncritically allowing his warriors to rape female captives of war:

We went out with Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) on the expedition to the Banu al-Mustaliq and took captive some excellent Arab women; and we desired them, for we were suffering from the absence of our wives, (but at the same time) we also desired ransom for them. So we decided to have sexual intercourse with them but by observing 'azl (coitus interruptus). But we said: We are doing an act whereas Allah's Messenger is amongst us; why not ask him? So we asked Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), and he said: It does not matter if you do not do it, for every soul that is to be born up to the Day of Resurrection will be born. (Sahih Muslim b.8, no.3371) 
Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) reported that a man came to Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and said: I have a slave-girl who is our servant and she carries water for us and I have intercourse with her, but I do not want her to conceive. He said: Practise 'azl, if you so like, but what is decreed for her will come to her. The person stayed back (for some time) and then came and said: The girl has become pregnant, whereupon he said: I told you what was decreed for her would come to her. (Sunan Abu Dawud b.8, no.3383)

Note that at no point does Muhammad tell his men not to have sex with their slaves. Instead, he merely tells them that they do not have to practise coitus interruptus (withdrawal of the penis before ejaculation, to avoid pregnancy), because Allah will ultimately decide whether to make the women pregnant or not.

We can justifiably assume that Muhammad allowed himself to engage in similar “pleasures” with captive non-Muslim women on occasions. Consider, for example, the case of Safiyya bint Huyyay, a Jewish woman from the Khaybar oasis. Khaybar was attacked by Muhammad in 629 AD. After the battle, when the Muslims had taken the Jewish women as spoils of war, they praised Safiyya’s beauty in front of Muhammad, proclaiming that they had “not seen the like of her among the captives of war.” (Muslim b.8, no.3329) Shortly afterward, the Prophet selected her for himself (Sahih Bukhari v.3, b.34, no.437), before having her “beautified” and marrying her. He then “passed the night with her” in his tent, according to his earliest biographer.  It is not explicitly stated what happened in the tent, but the implication seems obvious, and it goes without saying that this would qualify as rape, since most of Safiyya’s family, including her father and husband, had just been killed by the Muslims, so it is unlikely that she would have willingly consented to sexual intercourse with their killer.

Further support for the assumption that Muhammad’s marriage to Safiyya involved forced sexual intercourse comes from another hadith, in which he explains to his followers: “The stipulations most entitled to be abided by are those with which you are given the right to enjoy the (women's) private parts (i.e. the stipulations of the marriage contract).” (Bukhari v.7, b.62, no.81) Indeed, the Arabic word used multiple times in the Qur’an, and still used today, for an Islamic marriage – nikah – more literally means sexual intercourse. The prominent Egyptian Muslim jurist Khalil ibn Ishaq (d.1365), who was a renowned specialist in the Maliki school of Islamic law, wrote: “When a woman marries, she sells a part of her person. In the market one buys merchandise, in marriage the husband buys the genital [region].”

Moreover, Islamic law allows Muslim men to enforce this “right” to sexual intercourse against their wife’s will. Reliance of the Traveller, an Islamic legal manual certified by numerous international Muslim organisations, explains:

It is obligatory for a woman to let her husband have sex with her immediately when: 
(a) he asks her;
(b) at home (home meaning the place in which he is currently staying, even if being lent to him or rented);
(c) and she can physically endure it. 

In another section, the manual affirms that “[w]hen a husband notices signs of rebelliousness in his wife”, he is permitted to use physical violence in order to correct her. Crucially, one specific example of “rebelliousness” that it provides is when “he asks her to come to bed and she refuses”. This principle derives directly from the Qur’an: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge [i.e. beat] them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.” (4:34)
Disturbingly, this kind of marital rape has been endorsed by Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, president of the UK’s Islamic Sharia Council, who has stated on multiple occasions that there is no such thing as rape within marriage. The concept of wife-beating for disobedience has also been advocated by numerous high-profile Islamic clerics, including Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most influential and famous Muslim scholars in the world today.

Returning to the concept of female sex slaves or concubines, it is perhaps unsurprising to find it endorsed and promoted in numerous verses of the Qur’an (all emphasis mine):

If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess. (4:3)  
Also (prohibited are) women already married, except those whom your right hands possess... (4:24) 
[Those] Who abstain from sex, Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their case) they are free from blame, (23:5-6) 
O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee... (33:50) 
Not so the worshippers, who are steadfast in prayer, who set aside a due portion of their wealth for the beggar and for the deprived, who truly believe in the Day of Reckoning and dread the punishment of their Lord (for none is secure from the punishment of their Lord); who restrain their carnal desire (save with their wives and their slave girls, for these are lawful to them: he that lusts after other than these is a transgressor... (70:22-30)
The phrase “those whom your right hands possess” is understood by Muslim scholars to refer to slaves, and is often used specifically to mean female concubines.

Unfortunately, it is not only the Islamic State that takes verses like these seriously. In 2011, the Egyptian Sheikh Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini argued that after Muslims invade and conquer a non-Muslim nation by jihad, the properties and persons of those who refuse to convert to Islam or become subjugated dhimmis should be seized as ghanima, or “spoils of war.” Quoting from the Qur'an and the hadith, Huwaini outlined an ideal scenario in which women and girls are taken captive as part of the war spoils and sold to Muslims in slave markets. He referred to these slave girls using the Qur'anic term “those your right hands possess”, and concluded: “In other words, when I want a sex-slave, I go to the market and pick whichever female I desire and buy her.”

The very next week, Salwa al-Mutairi – a female political activist and former Kuwaiti government official – also called for a revival of the institution of sex slavery, arguing that it would be an effective way to allow Muslim men to satiate their frustrated sexual desires and prevent them from committing illegal adultery. She also added that when she had previously spent time in Mecca, Islam’s holiest city, she had spoken with various authoritative imams and muftis, and all of them had affirmed to her that sexual slavery was perfectly legal under sharia.

Coming soon: How Islamic law lets rapists get away with it

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Female Genital Mutilation: An Islamic Or "Cultural" Practice? (Part 3)

Extent and Persistence

According to the previously cited UNICEF report on the prevalence of FGM in Africa, there are four countries in which over 90% of girls are circumcised, all of which have a Muslim majority: Somalia (98%), Guinea (96%), Djibouti (93%) and Egypt (91%). In terms of raw numbers, Egypt is the worst offender, with over 27 million girls having undergone the procedure. Worldwide, it is estimated that female genital cutting affects up to 200 million girls in varying degrees of severity, with as many as 60 million of these victims found in Indonesia alone.

As disturbing as these figures are, they are unfortunately beginning to manifest themselves in the West as well, due to rising immigration from Muslim countries. In the UK, there were over one thousand cases of hospital attendances due to FGM recorded by the National Health Service in just three months between April and June 2015 – roughly eleven instances per day. The same amount were recorded in the first three months of this year, also. It had previously been estimated that up to 100,000 girls in the UK had been victims of genital cutting.

This problem is clearly exacerbated by mainstream clerical support for the practice among Muslim authorities in the West. For example, the imam Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad, a board member of the UK’s Islamic Sharia Council, has argued that there is a “proper” way of performing female cutting, stating that “it is consensus of all scholars that female circumcision is sunnah [i.e. in accord with the teachings of Muhammad]”.

Returning to FGM in the Muslim world, there may be a correlation between its prevalence in certain Islamic countries and adherence to the Shafi’i school of Sunni Islamic law. As we have already seen, Reliance of the Traveller – a sharia manual dealing primarily with the Shafi’i doctrine – says that “circumcision is obligatory for both men and women”, and the school’s eighth-century founder also declared it to be a religious necessity, in contrast to other jurists who saw it as merely recommended. The Shafi’i school is one of the largest schools of Islamic jurisprudence in terms of global adherents, and is predominant today in many of the world’s major hotspots for FGM, including Egypt, Indonesia, Somalia, and Kurdish regions of Iraq. It is also prevalent among the FGM-practising Muslim minorities in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Thailand, among others. In Africa, four of the five countries with the highest rates of FGM follow Shafi’ite Islam (Somalia, Djibouti, Egypt, and Eritrea - the latter being a significant Muslim minority, maybe as high as 48%, within a non-Muslim country).


We can no longer continue to deny the Islamic dimension of FGM, and its prevalence among Muslim communities worldwide. We must begin to have a more open, honest discussion about the nature and scope of the problem, just as we must also pressure Muslim organisations and leadership to forcefully condemn it and work transparently to bring this misogynistic barbarity to an end.

Saturday 11 June 2016

Female Genital Mutilation: An Islamic or "Cultural" Practice? (Part 2)

Theological Justification

Why is FGM so prevalent in Islamic societies? In this case, the answer cannot be found in the Qur’an, as circumcision is not mentioned in the Islamic holy book at all. Even in the hadith, there is very little mention of it, with only two major references that suggest that it was known in seventh-century Arabia, and that it was never condemned by Muhammad:

The Messenger of Allah said: When anyone sits amidst four parts (of the woman) and the circumcised parts touch each other a bath becomes obligatory. (Sahih Muslim b.3, no.684)
A woman used to perform circumcision in Medina. The Prophet said to her: Do not cut severely as that is better for a woman and more desirable for a husband. (Sunan Abu Dawud b.41, no.5251)

In the first hadith, it appears to be taken for granted by Muhammad that both Muslim men and women will have circumcised parts. In the second, Muhammad is aware of a woman performing circumcision on girls and does not condemn it, only warning her not to cut “severely” – an entirely subjective judgement. Islamic law permits Muslims to engage in any behaviour which Muhammad saw but did not forbid, and thereby gave “unspoken approval” to (for example, explained in this book, p.53), and so most Muslim scholars have traditionally either allowed or encouraged FGM. Referring to the second hadith, a note in the English translation of the Sunan Abu Dawud hadith collection summarises the views of the four main Sunni legal schools as follows:

The reference is to the circumcision of girls. It was practiced in Arabia when Islam came. It is disputed amongst the jurists. Some Shafi'i scholars hold that circumcision of girls is obligatory, but others think that it is recommended. Ata, Ahmad b. Hanbal, and some Maliki jurists also hold that it is obligatory. Abu Hanifah maintains that it is recommended and not obligatory. Malik also holds that it is recommended. 

FGM is also given explicit religious sanction in the important Islamic legal manual Reliance of the Traveller, which has been endorsed by Cairo's Al-Azhar University - Islam's highest centre of religious learning - as conforming “to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community.”  The manual states: “Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women [emphasis mine]. For men it consists of removing the prepuce [foreskin] from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (bazr) of the clitoris (not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert).” It is important to note that this English translation of the manual renders this passage in a dishonest way that does not accurately reflect the original Arabic text. In actual fact, the Arabic word Bazr means the entire clitoris, and not just the foreskin as the translation claims. (For example, see Hans Wehr, A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, p.64)

Coming soon: How widespread is Islamic FGM?