Thursday, October 23, 2008

COMMENT: Social Cohesion's misleading report on FGM ...

Allegedly conservative UK Thinktank Civitas has produced a report entitled Crimes of the Community. The report deals with various forms of violent crime typically perpetrated against women.

I cannot comment on the entire contents of the 169 page report. However, I have read a section on what Islam says about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

A large number of Muslimphobic and jaundiced pundits have made it their business to claim that Islam endorses any and all forms of FGM. There is no doubt that FGM of various kinds is practised in certain parts of the Muslim world, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt and other parts of Africa. It is also true that some Muslim religious authorities have justified this practice, as have religious authorities of other faiths in places where FGM is common.

The Social Cohesion report cites the views of a Shafei jurist (Ahmed ibn Naqib al-Masri) contained in his Umdat as-Salik, which has been translated and edited by Shaykh Nuh Keller). The report then speculates as to why Shaykh Nuh Keller would include the section on FGM whilst leaving out sections of ibn Naqib's book dealing with slavery.

The clear imputation is that Shaykh Nuh wishes to promote ibn Naqib's viewpoint. Perhaps the report's authors are even trying to suggest that Shaykh Nuh endorses FGM. No other evidence is provided to support these imputations.

The report then cites an opinion of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is described as "the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood". No evidence is provided from any MB source to confirm this claim.

The report then provides a reference to page 24 of Anne Sofie Raold's book Women in Islam: The Western Experience as source for the claim that:

The Hanafi and Maliki schools traditionally also regarded FGM as ‘noble’.
Roald's book is freely available on GoogleBooks. Nowhere on page 24 is FGM mentioned even once. Either this is a misprint or a complete fabrication.

What isn't mentioned is the attitude of Hanafi scholars in the Indian sub-Continent or Turkey to FGM. The report does acknowledge that the practice is rare in South Asian Muslim communities, who make up around 25% of the entire Muslim world. No South Asian religious texts or South Asian scholars are cited at all. No authorities from the Barelwi or Deobandi schools of thought are mentioned.

Further, no mention is made of what Shia religious authorities have said on the subject. This despite the fact that Shia Muslims represent at least 10% of the Muslim world and are increasing in number in Western countries.

All in all, the report attempts to show that the dominant position in Muslim communities and amongst religious authorities is that FGM is condoned. The enormous number of religious scholars and authorities who have actively campaigned against the practice is conveniently ignored.

The report ignored an international conference held in Cairo in November 2006 which condemned the practice. The report does mention Shaykh Tantawi, but doesn't mention Egypt's Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa whose views were reported by the BBC as follows ...

Ali Gomaa, Egypt's top official Islamic scholar, or grand mufti, told the gathering no examples of the practice could be found in the Prophet Muhammad's life.

The authors of the report journalists and include one Arabic speaker named Salam Hafez. Both are ex-employees of al-Jazeera. The only article of Salam Hafez I could find on the al-Jazeera site was about Dutch bikies. Further, as an Arabic speaker, one wonders whether Hafez would have been capable of reading influential books on Hanafi law written in Urdu or Turkish.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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VIDEO: Why God (but not Allah, Buddha or even Hindu) is a Republican (??)

I'm not sure exactly which party God is voting for in the upcoming US Presidential election. I'm also not sure which way Allah, Buddha or even "Hindu" will vote. But this Republican paator, delivering a prayer at a Republican Party convention certainly does.

Thanx to Gazza for the tip-off.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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VIDEO: John McCain's favourite pastor ...

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COMMENT: Why I am still a dirty lyin' taqiyin' Mozzlem ...

Well, it was only predictable that, following publication of this essay in Eureka Street, far-Right nutbags would come out and issue their FF's (i.e. fascist fatwas) joyfully declaring that they had managed to convince me to leave my ancestral religious heritage. And what has led them to this conclusion? The Australian Islam Monitor (it's official name is "Australian Islamist Monitor", but the url is makes this perceptive remark:

Perhaps Australia has had some influence on him.
Well, given that I have lived here since I was 5 months old, and given that I'm now almost 40, you'd think Australia's impact on me might be slightly greater than donning the Wallabies jersey during holiday trips to New Zealand and knowing the lyrics to just about every song sung by genuine Aussie musicians like Tim and Neil Finn.

(And calling them Aussie when in fact they are Kiwi. Now that's the mark of a genuine Aussie!)

Amateur (and indeed, amateurish) journalist Wendy Larkkson of the Australian (or should that be Kiwi?) Islam Monitor writes under the headline of "Sydney Muslim Speaks Out - Slams Gender Inequality". But is this really news? Or do the simple folk at the AIM only read headlines imposed on my articles by sealous sub-editors? Haven't they noticed another (albeit much shorter) article written for the New Zealand (or should that be Australian?) Herald and which can be found here? And other articls of similar import?

Larkkson's summary of my 1,500 word essay is ...

No you have not read a misprint. A Sydney Muslim, Irfan Yusuf, who often speaks out in defence of Islam, has written an article, which will surprise many readers. He has expressed lament about the appalling treatment of women in Islam. Perhaps this is a new venture for him in speaking out what the evidence of his eyes cannot deny. Perhaps Australia has had some influence on him. It is interesting that his article has been published in a left of centre Australian Catholic magazine ‘Eureka’, which has a caring, sharing, feel-good agenda most of the time.
No doubt the AIM's anti-Catholic arm will soon be publishing an article announcing that Eureka Street have come out and declared they are no longer Catholic. And no doubt Larkkson will be wondering whether, in a previous article, I had declared that I was now no longer a person of part-Indian heritage.

What the good folks at AIM don't seem to understand is that there is a difference between criticising (allegedly) Islamic cultures, countries, leaders etc and abandoning one's faith. A huge difference.

I've been doing the former for years. I haven't yet (and certainly have no plans to, unless someone puts a gun to my head and insists otherwise) done the latter i.e. abandoned my faith and heritage.

And with 1.2 billion Muslims around the world, even if only 1% were as crazy as the folk at AIM, I'd have plenty to write about. The fact is that you don't cease to be Muslim by defending Sudanese teddy bears or castigating pro-American dictators or condemn madcap terrorists or even lambast the nasty rants of former muftis. Just as you don't cease to be liberal if you manage to upset Liberal backbenchers.

The AIM take the matter further and pontificate ...

Working as a lawyer in Australia, he would be exposed to a number of situations and of course, to Australian law. At some point the evident maltreatment of women within his own society would have become crystal clear and would have forced some response from him.
Yes, I have done plenty of cases involving applications for Apprehended Violence Orders, some of them in the context of domestic relationships. I've unfortunately had to see Australian women and children of all ethnic and religious backgrounds be forced to resort to court orders. The Local Courts' AVO lists aren't exactly full of happy news. Domestic violence, much of it alcohol and drug related, affects Australians across all communities. But don't tell that to AIM. Let them assume this is a uniquely Muslim problem.

And as if to underscore the inherently anti-Semitic nature of AIM's rhetoric, they again repeat the taqiya smear, albeit in a rather amusing manner ...

On a more suspicious note – could Yusuf’s attack on Islamic maltreatment of women be an advanced form of Taqiyya? Have we moved beyond Taqiyya 101 and gone on to Taqiyya 202 or 303? Is this an attempt to ingratiate himself with the leftie Christians who would hold gender equality in all its forms as a fundamental principle? Does he want to make inroads to this section of the
Catholic community? Does he want more invitations to their barbeques? Is it espionage?
Indeed? Or am I part of that giant Judeo-Islamic conspiracy to impose unitarianism? Will I join Barack Obama's Muslim-in-hiding plot to take over the world? Does this all-American fruitloop have a point?

But it isn't just the AIM nutbags who have discovered that Irfan occasionally criticises Muslims. Australia's self-declared representative of the views and aspirations of all Christians, the Australian Christian Lobby, has suggested that I have written ...

... [a]n article ... for which he deserves thanks.
Well all I can say to ACL is thanks, but no thanks. It's interesting that ACL's "thanks" to me also carries a link to the AIM's note. And as if to confirm the imbecilic nature of the ACL thicksheiks, their last few lines are as follows ...

Related article White Ribbon Day - 25 November 2008 :

Australia looks forward to hearing from Mr Waleed Aly, on this subject.

If the ACL researchers knew how to use the Rev Google, they'd know that Waleed has used his White Ribbon Day Ambassadorial status to pen sone devastating critiques of the treatment of women in nominally Muslim societies.

Still, as far as ACL are concerned, their mob never engage in domestic violence. You'd never see Christians engage in physical or sexual violence towards women or condoning such violence. Only nasty Mozzlems do that kind of stuff. If you don't believe me, check out ACL's moronically jaundiced analysis here.

So now that the bigotry brigade have declared their approval of my writing, what next? Will I get a guernsay to address the Big Ideas Forum hosted by Centre for Independent Studies? Will Daniel Pipes be singing my praises on his blog? Will I get to write an op-ed for that part-Saudi and part-American-owned newspaper that calls itself The Australian? Will I be appointed a fellow to the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation and/or the Hudson Institute?
And will I finally be awarded a book deal by Allen & Unwin? Speaking of which, I'd better get back to writing the damned thing!

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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