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Enough Has Been Enough For Far Too Long Now

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The Bearded One View Drop Down
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    Posted: 04 June 2017 at 10:15am
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Bellerophontes View Drop Down

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I enjoyed this article very much. Please read this whole post before ascribing meaning to what I say early on. I am exploring here a sadness at what I see is a wilful misinterpretion of the Qur'an, by extremists across the entire spectrum.

In doing so, I wish to be open and straight forward.

I am non-Muslim, but seek to afford you utmost respect. I apologise if I am clumsy within this.

The reason that I am writing is because I was, just now, reading an article about a crime committed against a non-Muslim woman, by a Muslim asylum seeker, in Germany.

1) The article claimed that the Qur'an excuses male Muslims who commit these sort of crimes against non-Muslim women, effectively, blaming the woman for wearing revealing clothes.

2) I then was lead, as I 'surfed' the web, to claims that the profit (pbuh) expressed that 'raping slaves' or non-muslim women was permissable. Especially where they were captives of war.

I do not believe either of the above is an accurate reading of the Qur'an. And yet, I do think that extremists of all ilk find convenience in such misreadings.

With regard the first sentiment (1):

When the Qur'an was written, EXACTLY like all other religious texts, it was written to provide a route from a less caring, civilised culture, to a better future. There is an extant behaviour or problem AND there is a desired change.

Between those is a practicable solution. This solution is not to excuse rape and devalue female agency, but quite the opposite. An acknowledgement of reality, of the weakness of men, of the fallibility of the protective structures in society as it was; and thereby a method, through which, women can take control of their situation for the bettermemt.

How I see it...

The solution given (Hijab?) is not the only solution in our modern context or perhaps even the most effective solution in a perfect world, but I am more than prepared to admit that it was the best solution, in the historical context. Even now, the sentiment behind it is valid.

The sentiment is also common outside of Islam. We see the two sides of the #MeToo debate as evidence. How much responsibility does female behaviour own, in the abuses carried out by males? Some, by virtue of their agency (first wave feminists) OR none at all (second wave and latter feminists)?

Indeed... Are all men demons? Or does Allah forgive all?

Is the statement that 'Allah forgives all', then, less a permission for men to assault women who do not 'cover up' AND more, an acknowledgement that 'reality is reality' and we move forward together?

To me, what is interpreted as Islam's tendency toward blaming women for male behaviour is ACTUALLY more akin to an encouragement towards a simulacrum of first wave feminism!

But extremists on both 'sides' ******ise the meaning to excuse abuse. That is sad.

So, Hijab, was then / is, essentially, a method of female agency to take control and drive positive change. But now, in a modern, western context it can be perceived as the oppression of females, or 'victim blaming'; Out of context.

We see Hijab or Burka perceived by those who choose to wear them as a symbol of female agency, and the establishment of women's rights. A tradition of which to be proud.

And yet also, the same is perceived as a sign of the oppression of women, when the vital understanding of the origin is not considered. Some even say that Muslim women who express the former opinion are 'brainwashed' in some way!

But also perhaps, some parts of Muslim culture deem variance from that tradition to be something corrupt. Something other than an acknowledgement by a female Muslim of an altered context, and a desire to continue to express the VERY SAME agency that lead to the tradition, to thereby shed it, if they so choose.

My view, the Hijab or Burka is (SHOULD BE) a way that a female chooses to dress, or not. No more, no less. I wish that women, whatever they choose to wear, could be respected and trusted as they ought.

The choice to wear OR not wear traditional dress is an expression of exactly the same agency. But, expressed by different people, with different desires for how they wish to live as Muslim women in the modern world. Both choices are commendable, and neither should be seen otherwise.

You may say, and I apologise if this is out of turn, that women, ALL women should always be addressed by the right hand?

This leads me to sentiment (2).

Where it is convenient for a person to subsume the attitude that Islam is at war with western culture, even while it thrives within it... that Muslims despite being British (for example) by birth or migration are apart from Britain; then it may be useful for this person to perceive the words of the profit (pbuh) incorrectly.

You may or may not note that the above paragraph would apply equally fittingly to an anti-Muslim bigot; or an Islamic Extremist!

Again here, this neglects the context from which the Qur'an emerged.

This was a time in which slaves were taken. This was a time that slaves were used in whatever way their master desired. That was the reality. How to change that reality for the better, in a practicable way?

What I read of the teachings is that:
A) Slaves ought only be taken in times of war - captives;
B) Captive women who are pregnant should be protected;
C) That it would be preferable not to engage in sexual activity with captives;


D) That is is only acceptable to engage with your wife OR captives possessed by the right hand.

Now, if you ignore the vital meaning of the right hand, or misinterpret that meaning, you can perceive this as an allowance that you may take 'non-muslim' women captive, to be used for sex.

Especially if you choose to perceive Islam to be at war with Western Society, rather than an integral part of our culture.

This misinterpretation is employed by extremists across the spectrum, to excuse abuse of whoever is their desired victim.

My reading of this is:

It is only acceptable to engage with a wife OR with a non-muslim captive that you honour, and treat with respect.

This having route in that all captives must be possessed by the right hand. Honoured, and treated with respect.

Even, should that captive become a Muslim, then it is acceptable to marry her. Indeed, this would be especially rewarded.

So, that any non-Muslim captive of war must be respected and honoured. He OR She must be freed, and allowed to enter society fully.

This is a good and honourable sentiment.

And so... We end up back at the point of the article.

That those who have a tendency to do harm to self and/or others, find an excuse to follow that primal urge, through extremist belief. Whatever that belief is.

NOT, that extremist frameworks create those people; but that extremist frameworks exploit them.

Just like all extremist frameworks ever have done.

I do feel sometimes that Muslim culture in the UK is further from the rest of UK culture than any other religious sub-group.

I must be honest about that.

Equally, though, I find that when I make the effort to push through that, or when a Muslim does the same, usually, I find that the gap is not real.

No conclusion to that. No opinion. Just observation.

Do non-Mulsims blame the behaviour of 'criminals' who happen to be Muslim, on Islam, more often than we should?


Do Muslims sometimes minimise / deny the influence of their culture on some of the issues we face, more often than they should?


Is the impact of Western foreign policy more responsible for some of these issues than is admitted?


Is the agency and complicity of the leaders of Islamic nations, with the above, understated equally?


The status quo is that we cannot say any of this to each other, without being accused of extremism or racism.

Who does that status quo benefit. Not you. Not I.

But, if we can discuss this without blame, perhaps, we can solve the problem.

After all, does Allah / God not forgive all? In the end...

Peace and love,
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