Memri reports a fatwa that says it’s fine for mujahideen to kidnap “the infidels’ women” and rape them, because once they’ve been kidnapped the infidel men don’t own them any more.
The inquiry in response to which Al-Athari issued the fatwa reads as
follows: “Is it permissible for mujahideen in jihad fronts
to kidnap the infidels’ women and hold them as their captives? What is the
ruling regarding a captive in our times? How should they be divided [among the mujahideen]? Is it permissible to imprison [an infidel woman who has been taken captive] in an infidel land, or must she be brought to Dar Al-Islam[the abode of Islam]? How much time must one wait before having sexual intercourse with her, regarding both one who is a virgin and one who is not?”
Notice the assumptions. Notice first the assumption that women are property – “the infidels’ women”; and notice second that they are things, which can be carted around, divided, taken, brought, and generally handled as one might handle a desk or a lawnmower – heavy but manageable; and notice third that the whole point of them is to fuck. Is it permissible for mujahideen to grab other men’s women and bring them back in order to fuck them? That is the question.
Al-Athari replies: “There is no doubt that taking the women of the combatant infidels captive – whether they are from AhlAl-Kitab [i.e.,
Christians or Jews] or pagans – is permitted according to the shari’a…
And that’s all that counts. The holy book of roolz says it’s permitted, so of course there’s no need to think about it, to evaluate it, to try to empathize with the women and judge whether or not it’s really an ok decent humane thing to do. There’s no need to try to have the imagination and compassion and sympathy to realize that kidnapping and raping people is 1) shitty 2) a war crime (because of 1). Just ask an imam and that’s the end of it.
In his discussion of “concrete proofs,” Al-Athari quotes Al-Qurtubi, who says: “Most scholars, including Malik [ibn Anas], Al-Shafi’i, Abu Hanifa,  and others, thought that taking [infidel women] captive removes the protection [they previously enjoyed], and permits whoever is holding them to have sexual intercourse with them.” Al-Athari also quotes another scholar whose interpretation of Al-Qurtubi’s ruling says that the latter uses the word “protection” to refer to married women, who are forbidden to men other than their husbands. That is, when these women are taken captive, their marriage contracts with their infidel husbands become void, and they become permissible to their captors. Al-Athari adds that the amount of time a captor must wait until having sexual intercourse with a captive infidel woman depends on her condition: if she is pregnant, he must wait until after she gives birth; if she is menstruating, he must wait until after her period is over; and if she is young and has not yet begun menstruating, he must wait a month from her capture.
That last is a nice touch. If she’s seven and hasn’t reached puberty, the guy who kidnapped her has to wait a month before raping her.
Isn’t using Memri sort of like using WorldNutDaily as a source? What they are saying might be true but they are a propaganda website, lying and mistranslating when it suits their purposes.
Malgorzata Koraszews says
For over 10 years many people tried to assert that MEMRI is a “propaganda website”, as David above writes. For over 10 years nobody managed to show biased translations (those translations were checked by native speakers who would only love to show that MEMRI is falsifying translated texts – alas, without any success), or biased selection. But MEMRI is the biggest outlet publishing dissidents from Middle East countries and gives a great amount of space for them. So David should check his information and not just repeat what he once heard.
Ophelia Benson says
I meant to include a hat-tip to Małgorzata Koraszewska for pointing this out to me.
As for using Memri – well that’s where it is, and I’m not about to ignore it, so yes, I used Memri.
Eric MacDonald says
I agree with Malgorzata. What makes you think that Memri is a biased source? Just because it publishes dissident opinions? It wasn’t that long ago that this question of the use of infidel women was discussed in all seriousness on Pakistani TV programs, so it’s not surprising to hear such a fatwa. This is pretty normal Islamic teaching. Christians are in the process of working backwards in time, so it won’t be long before Christians adopt similar standards. The quiverfull phenomenon is about treating women basically as breeding property. That said, this is distressing news. Islam, surely, is a very dangerous religion. Perhaps there are many liberal Muslims, but, from my own reading about Islam, Islam itself can never be liberal or humane. It is very troubling to hear things like this, and then hear people like Hoffmann and Ruse and other athests or agnostics suggesting that a peremptory dismissal of religion is not appropriate. The faster we get rid of this parasite te better.
Ophelia Benson says
The funny thing is…Hoffmann wrote the foreword for Ibn Warraq’s Why I Am Not a Muslim.
MEMRI is pro-Israel, and — newsflash — Israel is not perfect. It is perfectly possible to maintain awareness of a source’s biases while acknowledging that — at least some of the time — the source provides excellent information.
Even very bad sources (and I do not include MEMRI in this category) can be like stopped clocks: right twice a day. John Stuart Mill, collision of truth with error, possibility of truth, etc etc.
This is really repugnant! The Romans were nicer to the Sabine women, and that’s not saying much. As for MEMRI, it is a remarkable and valuable resource. We wouldn’t know a fraction of the public discourse in Arab countries without it. Weird as that discourse sometimes is, we need to know about it in order to get the measure of the Muslim mind.
Ophelia Benson says
What skeptic lawyer said. I am aware of MEMRI’s decided point of view, but that doesn’t mean I refuse to use any of its translations.
It seems to me that if the MEMRI team agreed with the content of their translated articles they would not be so keen to expose them to the outside world. They have a point of view, but it doesn’t come out in editorializing. The important thing is to give a flavor of the Arab media–what ordinary people are watching on their TV screens or reading in their papers. To its credit, MEMRI also tries to find more liberal and sane voices in the Arab media and give them some publicity. If MEMRI is slanted, what does that make the Guardian?
Eric MacDonald says
Sure, Memri has a bias. What doesn’t? And no, Israel is not perfect, and I hope no one would suggest that there is perfection in this world anywhere to be found. So, we are bound to end up using biased sources. If someone can name me one unbiased source, it would halp make sense of the claim that Memri is biased, and the sense in which this claim is made.
Svlad Cjelli says
I’m unsettled by sources claiming to be unbiased. I recognise that it is a real possibility if the source sincerely just doesn’t give a single damn about the reported issue, but that’s difficult to establish.
As for the reported issue. Softly drums, drums. Drums the word – death.
The fact that this is a question people would ever think to ask suggests that the askers were already pretty sure that a loophole would present itself to allow them to do whatever they wanted. Which is ultimately what magic books of rules are for.
They wouldn’t have asked the question if they thought everyone was going to look at them with abject horroR:
“Hey, you know when you rape a seven year old captive *before* a month has passed?”