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The rebellion of the child-brides - Comments

cerad's Avatar Comment 2 by cerad

Would it hurt us to try and be just a little bit tolerant of other cultures? Sure, most of us think raping children is bad but remember these are God people and they have their own ideas about morality.

Edit: Darn it. Thought I had first post.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:18:00 UTC | #217896

Lana's Avatar Comment 1 by Lana

Uh, oh. Here we go again.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:18:00 UTC | #217895

jenlaferriere's Avatar Comment 3 by jenlaferriere

It is appaling this this is happening enywhere in the world; Yemen, Britain, or in the US under some Mormom polygamist sects. This is just another silent epidemic... "le0ts keep it in the family, in the community" using religion as a "reasonable" explanation for the exploitation, rape and abuse of children and women is unfortunetely still accepted in so many situations. And the whole concept of calling someone Islamophobic... If you mean opposed, appalled, critical, repulsed... then maybe yes; maybe we need a little more religion-phobic individuals.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:23:00 UTC | #217899

movingshadow's Avatar Comment 4 by movingshadow

"Would it hurt us to try and be just a little bit tolerant of other cultures? Sure, most of us think raping children is bad but remember these are God people and they have their own ideas about morality."

This is some sort of irony, right?
Also, nobody cares who posted first.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:25:00 UTC | #217903

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 5 by bamafreethinker

Perhaps bible criticism, made possible by the freedom of the press, and accessible by literacy (education) in the 17-19th centuries is what paved the way for the softening (de-fundamentalism) of Christianity. People like Thomas Hobbes, Benedict Spinoza, Richard Simon, Hermann Samuel Reimarus, David Strauss, Ernst Renan, Johannes Weiss, Albert Schweitzer broke new ground much to the chagrin of the church, Once those lines are crossed and those doors are opened it's hard for even a powerful theocracy to resist progress towards the truth. Even Christianity's own protestant movement helped by inviting lay-men to read the bible for themselves and use their brains instead of letting someone else think for them.

I think the same tools/methods can be applied to Islam: It will take time, but a free press (which we have, but are too intimidated to use), secular education, and Koranic criticism will have the same effect on Islam as is had on Christianity. We need more folks like Sam Harris, Johann Hari, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and this brave little ten-year-old girl to get the ball rolling and of course media outlets not afraid to print/publish/show their works. I think it high time that we forget about "offending" Islam the way we've been ignoring the whinings of Christians for a few hundred years now. It's really sad how we've let a handful of extremists intimidate the vast majority of the rest of the world.

I wrote this for the other Hari article, but it seems okay here too : )

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:25:00 UTC | #217904

Quine's Avatar Comment 6 by Quine

<!-- Be sure tags are closed -->Comment #230196 by cerad:

Would it hurt us to try and be just a little bit tolerant of other cultures?

Yes, it would hurt. As a father of a daughter, I have no tolerance for this.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:28:00 UTC | #217905

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 7 by Cartomancer

I really do wonder what is going on here. The position of the women in the child marriage arrangement is relatively easy to understand - they're the victims, and usually the ones who perpetuate the cycle of abuse with their own daughters. But what of the men in these societies? Is it the case that those men who do this are all paedophiles, and their culture sanctions their paraphillia, or that they really aren't sexually attracted to children at all but go along with it because they feel they have to? How many men in these societies choose a post-pubescent bride instead? How many agree to child marriage but don't rape the girls thanks to their offended moral sense?

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:29:00 UTC | #217907

Diacanu's Avatar Comment 8 by Diacanu


Phew, good thing that was irony, or I would've eaten your skin.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:31:00 UTC | #217908

Friend Giskard's Avatar Comment 9 by Friend Giskard

If the troll comes back, can we refrain from feeding it this time, please?

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:32:00 UTC | #217909

seqenenre's Avatar Comment 10 by seqenenre

bamafreethinker (5)
I agree

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:37:00 UTC | #217914

Sleepyd104's Avatar Comment 11 by Sleepyd104

FTA- The conservative Islamic mullahs have reacted by saying there is nothing wrong with child-marriage â€" because Mohammed did it.

This brings up the obvious question: Why couldn't Mohammed have jumped off a bridge?

BTW- Everyone is afraid to offend people, what about me? I am terribly offended by people who rape and abuse children, and I know I CAN'T be the only one. Sad, sad, sad.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:39:00 UTC | #217917

HourglassMemory's Avatar Comment 12 by HourglassMemory

Another good text by Hari.
More! :)

If only there could be a way to put religious criticism inside their cities... *thinks of a plane flying over major islam-drenched cities and make pamphlets rain on their roofs and streets*

I would prefer criticism to come from the people themselves though. How wonderful it would be to see, say, the younger generation, generating some kid of historically significant revolution.
I dream of course. It would also be horrible to see a great number of those youths be killed for the most stupid, thoguhtless, insensible of reasons.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:48:00 UTC | #217921

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 13 by Bonzai


Perhaps bible criticism, made possible by the freedom of the press, and accessible by literacy (education) in the 17-19th centuries is what paved the way for the softening (de-fundamentalism) of Christianity. People like Thomas Hobbes, Benedict Spinoza, Richard Simon, Hermann Samuel Reimarus, David Strauss, Ernst Renan, Johannes Weiss, Albert Schweitzer broke new ground much to the chagrin of the church..

But the freedom of the press would not be possible unless the Church's power has already been eroded.

I think Europe was able to break loose from Christianity mainly because of its political fragmentation. There were multiple, competing centers of powers coexisting in a stable configuration: the Church and the kings and princes. This created the cracks where free floating intellectuals could survive and florish.

This is a delicate balance, it wouldn't do if they were at constant, all out war, in that case you would get only destruction and carnage. It had to be some kind of "dynamic equilibrium".

In contrast, grand unifications always leads to stagnation and single track thinking.

We find that pattern in other civilizations as well. For example, China experienced an explosion of free thinking and a bloom of philosophical ideas during the "Spring-Autumn" period (around 7 - 5 BC). During that time "China" was fragmented but stable (as oppose to all out civil war) with multiple poles of power. Intellectuals would travel around to different kingdoms to sell their ideas to competing princes.

This vibrant intellectual scene ended after grand unification and the eventual establishment of Confucianism as the "official" ideology. I always think that the cause of the China's downfall was that it unified too early, and it had too much time to fine tune the state into a deeply entrenched monolith.

I think in Europe the stable but fragmented period lasted long enough to allow ideas and economics to grow to such a degree that they finally undermined the ideological hegemony of the Church irreversibly.

This is only a half baked theory, my knowledge of history is limited to only a very "big picture". I wonder what historians such as Cartomancer or Philip1978 have to say about it.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 11:51:00 UTC | #217923

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 14 by bamafreethinker

Scenario A: A brave fringe media entity starts criticizing Islam: Extremist suicide bomber blows up said fringe media office killing the brave publisher of criticism: Awareness is heightened a small amount, but fear stomps out future progress: Little girls continue to be raped and mutilated.

Scenario B: Numerous mass media entities criticize Islam: Extremist suicide bomber blows up a random media office killing several innocent people: Awareness is raised to a much higher degree and people take more actions to improve the situation for all: Little girls are raped and mutilated on a steadily-declining frequency.

Scenario C: Everyone minds his/her own business and is afraid to criticize Islam: Extremist suicide bomber blows up random locations, killing innocent people anyway: Islam continues to thrive/grow: More and more little girls are raped and mutilated:

Scenario B seems to be the only moral choice to me.

We have freedom of the press â€" let's use it!

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:01:00 UTC | #217931

Szymanowski's Avatar Comment 15 by Szymanowski

In contrast, grand unifications always leads to stagnation and single track thinking.
Well that's very interesting but I'm not sure about that sentence - it would surely depend on the type of unification. The United States of America and the European Union haven't got into single track thinking as far as I'm aware; rather, they are broadening in politics, religion and culture all the time (despite the rise in fundamentalist corners of the USA). [Anyway... I can't bullshit about history for more than ten minutes without revealing my ignorance...]

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:08:00 UTC | #217934

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 16 by bamafreethinker

13. Comment #230224 by Bonzai

I agree and much of that fragmented power (in Europe) was in the form of, and came from, protestant sects who resisted theocratic rule.

I agree with HourglassMemeory: It seems to have to come from within - and that is where our hands are so tied. Islamic women and girls seem to be the people we need to reach - but how?

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:09:00 UTC | #217936

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 17 by Bonzai

Well that's very interesting but I'm not sure about that sentence - it would surely depend on the type of unification.

That is true. In the examples you gave the unifications are carried out under the idea of pluralistic democracy, which is not the same as most unifications in history. Historically, unifications always means a monopoly of power as well as ideology.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:11:00 UTC | #217938

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 18 by Fanusi Khiyal

Bonzai, bamafreethinker I am sorry, but it won't. Christianity could be reformed - after a truly hideous struggle - because of important fault-lines within it. These are:

1. The Bible is a vast and vague document. It necessitates interpretation and discussion. The Qur'an, Hadith and Sira are much more consistent.

2. Christ has always been seen as a pacifist. Reformers could legitimately claim that they were trying to return to his original teachings. Muhammad was, first and foremost, a preacher of hatred. Two-thirds of the Qur'an preach hatred of the kafir. Remove that and you will have reformed Islam. You will also have destroyed it.

3. There is a Church/State separation in Christianity. Islam is first and foremost a political doctrine.

4. The early Church fathers incorporated huge elements of the Graeco-Roman legacy into Christianity, forming the foundation stone on which the Enlightenment could build.

Even with that it took the full fire of the Enlightenment and the power of science, as well as the hideous thirty-years war to reform it. We don't have that time.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:14:00 UTC | #217940

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 19 by mordacious1

This Johann Hari has to be one of the UK's best journalists. (ducks to avoid being hit by flying vegetables)

I'm sorry, I don't care if he is a hack, he's hacking in the right direction.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:17:00 UTC | #217941

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 20 by bamafreethinker

When you think about it though, it doesn't have to be the women; change could come from the leaders/oppressors. If the leaders/men read Koranic criticism and change their evil ways...

if it trickled down from the top, fewer people would get hurt.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:18:00 UTC | #217943

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 21 by Fanusi Khiyal

Mordacious ever since we started singing 'Ding-dong, the witch is dead' you don't need to duck.

I agree. He may have been flat-out wrong in some areas - Mark Steyn, for example - but it is nice to see him learn.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:20:00 UTC | #217948

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 22 by bamafreethinker

18. Comment #230241 by Fanusi Khiyal

Your points are well noted. I think it comes down to cherry picking: Christians can (and plenty have) construct pretty evil religions from the teachings of the OT and Jesus by picking lemons instead of cherries. I've never read the Islamic texts and if I may interpret your statement further - there seems to be few cherries to pick from in Islam?

Edit: And a free society, a free press, education, and science/philosophy/etc. are what equips us to know which are lemons and which are cherries.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:25:00 UTC | #217952

DalaiDrivel's Avatar Comment 23 by DalaiDrivel

Here's a thought...

Mohammad did it?

Well, Mohammad was a child rapist and torturer.

Who in their right minds wants to be either of those?

'She explained: "They kept whispering in my ear to ask why I wasn't smiling. I told them I was terrified and desperate, that I was just a child and far too young to get married. I pleaded with them to help me escape, but no-one saw anything wrong in what was happening." '

That is astonishingly creepy. It's a perversion of the mind, I think, within the heads of those to whom she pleaded, in the same way that believing that Jesus sending unbelievers into the eternal lake of fire is a good thing is perversion.

Sam Harris referred to religion as a neurological disorder... Citing this as proof, I believe him- this is fanatical cultural rewiring of the mind. Again, creepy, horror film-esque stuff.

Who in their right minds wants to think like that?

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:28:00 UTC | #217955

Mango's Avatar Comment 25 by Mango

Nobody is trying to figure out how many Muslim girls are suffering this way.

This is what Ayaan Hirsi Ali is railing against, right? That Western European nations are hiding behind multiculturalism, letting the fear of offending a particular "community" suffocate of their own liberal secular values.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:30:00 UTC | #217958

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 24 by Fanusi Khiyal

bamafreethinker may I suggest something? Over at Jihad Watch ( there is a Qur'an blog, which includes a section-by-section discussion of the Qur'an, including the important bits of the hadith, Sira and the commentaries (tafsir).

I understand not wanting to read the Qur'an. It's one of the most wrist-slittingly boring books in the world. Still, there's no substitute for the original text.

There are very, very few cherries. And those that do exist are cancelled by the doctrine of naskh in which the later verses (always more psychotic) cancel out the earlier ones.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:30:00 UTC | #217957

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 26 by mordacious1


I was ducking you guys, because I might bring her back.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:31:00 UTC | #217960

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 27 by bamafreethinker

Comment #230258 by Fanusi Khiyal

Thanks, I will mix some Crown/Coke one evening and hide all the sharp instruments in the house until I'm done. If I never post here again, you'll know what happened to me : )

Please tell me it's not as long as the bible?!?! And... is there a kinky Song of Solomn-esque porno break in the middle?

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:38:00 UTC | #217963

Fanusi Khiyal's Avatar Comment 28 by Fanusi Khiyal

No, it's actually shorter than the New Testament. Still, it is nowhere as well written. I can spend a very enjoyable evening just reading Ecclesiates. The Qur'an... Well, you'll see. Let's just say that when Churchill called Mein Kampf "the new Koran", it wasn't just because of it's hate, violence, and war.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:40:00 UTC | #217966

bamafreethinker's Avatar Comment 29 by bamafreethinker

Mt Hari has fired me up a little. I'm going to pre-order the controversial book/novel mentioned in another post to show my support. It's not much, but it's a start...

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:44:00 UTC | #217968

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 30 by Bonzai


The Quran is a horrible enough book, but my understanding is that many of the most outlandish Muslim practices actually come from the Hadith, while the Quran is supposed to be God's word, Muslims are not obliged to follow the Hadith, except for traditional reasons. There are also disagreements over the authenticity of books in the Hadith.

I do agree that there is much less room to cherry pick over the Quran than the Bible.

One thing I notice in my debates with liberal Muslims (I mean Muslims who are theologically liberal, not secular "Muslims" who couldn't care less about religion) is that they almost never come out to denounce certain Islamic practices such as stoning adulterers and killing homosexuals on principle. They would use some lawyerly sophistry to argue against the practices, but never the principle.

The argument may be that the Quaran makes it so difficult to convict that in practice these punishments should never be carried out if the true standards of Sharia are met, or that these punishments can only be meted out in a "true" Caliphate under the proper authority, but since such a thing never existed so it is a purely academic question. Another technique is hair splitting over Arabic words, like saying the Quran doesn't really mandate killing homosexuals, but only those who practice sodomy (homo and hetero), but that since you can't convict without witnesses, anyone should be scot free in practice if true Sharia is followed etc.They would add that Muhammad instructed Muslims to be obey the law of the land if they don't live in a "true " Caliphate, as a result, Muslims should be good citizens etc.

These are basically liberal minded, decent people and they mean well, but their arguments are weak and morally cowardly.

Thu, 14 Aug 2008 12:52:00 UTC | #217977