Sunday, October 14, 2007

Following in the paedophile steps of Mohammed?

Meet Sunam - a beautiful, innocent little three-year-old girl from Afghanistan. She is not dressing up and playing at fairy tales: the occasion is her betrothal to her seven-year-old cousin Nieem. She wears lipstick, and her hair is curled, and she is manifestly sexualised in a manner antithetical to everything the burkha-enforcing Taliban seek to impose upon followers of The Prophet. And despite Afghani law prohibiting marriage until 16 for girls and 18 for boys, the custom and pervasive practice is that marriages are consummated when the boy reaches 14. In this case, poor little Sunam will be just 10 when her husband penetrates her.

When Charles Moore writing in The Spectator dared to juxtapose the name ‘Mohammed’ with the term ‘paedophile’, the suggestion was met with outrage. The Muslim Association of Britain quickly announced that the piece was ‘a clear incitement to religious hatred’, as well as ‘full of falsehoods, lies, skewed interpretations and poisonous remarks’. The MAB called for his dismissal, and reminded him of Rushdie affair, with implicit death threats.

The problem for these ignoramuses is that Charles Moore's assertion was based on Islam’s own scriptures - the hadiths - which record quite clearly that Mohammed was betrothed to Aisha when she was six years old, and the marriage consummated when she was just nine and he was in his early 50s (Sahih Bukhari Vol 5, Bk 58, No 234; Sahih Muslim Bk 008, No 3310, 3311). And prior to that, there is written record of a good deal of ‘thighing’, which is the practice of laying the erect penis between the girl’s thighs, and doing sufficient to cause ejaculation.

Since a nine-year-old is now deemed to be incapable of giving consent, this practice would be considered child abuse. Indeed, it would be considered rape, exacerbated by the 43-year age difference, which would have cries of ‘dirty old man’ following Mohammed wherever he went, and crowds of angry parents baying for blood, spurred on by the tabloid mentality of rags like The Sun.

By modern standards, Mohammed is indeed a paedophile. But he belonged to another culture and another age. And the practice of childhood betrothal or arranged marriages has existed from time to time in all cultures.

Mary was approximately 14 years old when she became pregnant with Jesus, and some Bible commentaries conjecture that she was as young as 12. And she may have been, and Joseph would doubtless have been older. It is therefore likely that they would have been betrothed when Mary was between 7-9 years old, and it would not have been uncommon for Joseph to have been in his 20s or 30s.

Yet Joseph has never been called a paedophile or child molester, and the Holy Spirit who ‘impregnated’ Mary without her consent, has never, to Cranmer’s knowledge, been termed a rapist.

Child brides in some cultures are considered an economic necessity. This does not make it right, but early betrothal is often necessitated by poverty. In many parts of Africa, Asia, and South America, young girls are often engaged by the age of eight, and leave their homes to join their husbands by 12. And in many cases, the younger the girl, the more her family receives in the form of a dowry. The practice is endemic in the most rural and poverty-stricken regions of Ethiopia, for example, and only an economic revolution could begin to change the culture.

And it might also be recalled that until a century ago, the age of consent in many American states was just 10 years old. The important consideration is that few (if any) exhort 19th-century America to be a paragon of moral virtue. The problem for Islam is that Mohammed sets the perfect example, and is to be emulated throughout all ages.


Anonymous Miss Jelly bean said...

I read this story, yesterday infact, whilst sitting in the train to london. I'm intrigued that you mentioned the whole Mary Joseph episode because I was also reading on that a couple of weeks ago. Most Christians I encountered don't like to be as explicit as you are. So thankyou for the acknowledgement. You said "The problem for Islam is that Mohammed sets the perfect example, and is to be emulated throughout all ages". By stating this, you have consequently rendered the contemporary as the ideal. Maybe the problem isn't the perfect example of Muhammad or the impregnation of Mary without her consent. Maybe it's the values and norms we follow in our societies today. If Mary's betrothal to Joseph at an age of 7-9 was wrong, why would God allow it to take place? Is God immoral or is his knowledge so limited that he was unaware of the changing circumstances in future generations, regarding that which is morally permissible. Does God need to be corrected by man? This is not to state that I agree with the marriage of the 3 year old. But is it not true that many Christians in the past, and indeed today, view Mary as the epitome of virtue and good character who should "be emulated throughout all ages"?

She now patiently awaits the citicism.

14 October 2007 at 11:57  
Anonymous Julia in Illinois said...

This is this first I have heard that Mary was impregnated against her will. In Catholic Christianity much is made of her "yes". Even the last chapter of James Joyce's 'Ulyses' is focussed on Mollie Bloom's "yes" as a corallary to Mary's "yes." Joyce was no Catholic lover, but this really indicates what he was taught by the Jebbies.

If you recall, the angel is announcing what God means to do and Mary says let it happen as you say. The angel is not telling her what has already happened.

On the other hand, I have often thought about how young Mary must have been - considering the culture of the times. We mustn't be anachronistic. Young folks did grow up much sooner than our coddled younguns. I was at my 45th high school reunion last week-end and a big part of our conversations was how much freer we were as young people to determine how and with whom we spent our time. And the "pill" was not as widely available as it is now. As a consequence, we took on adult responsibilities much younger than is common now.

I doubt that Mary's parents were concerned that she finish high school so she could get a good secretarial job until she married a few years later like my peers' parents. If God had waited until we think it would be seemly, then Mary would already have had a spouse and several children and probably one on the way.

14 October 2007 at 12:31  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

His Grace did not say Joseph and Mary's betrothal was wrong - it obviously wasn't. He was talking about the repulsive conduct of Mohammed, whom we are not supposed to criticise.

14 October 2007 at 12:43  
Anonymous najistani said...

According to some scholars Aisha was Mohammed's niece:

"The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for 'Aisha's hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said "But I am your brother." The Prophet said, "You are my brother in Allah's religion and His Book, but she (Aisha) is lawful for me to marry." Bukhari 7.62.18

Also, as Aisha grew older, Mohammed's appetite turned to ever younger children, so that in his dotage he ended up lusting after babies:

"Muhammad expressed his desire to marry a crawling baby before death overtook him. This story is reported by Ibn Ishac, the most authentic biographer of Muhammad. Most other biographies are based on this monumental work of Ibn Ishak/Ibn Hisham
(Suhayli, ii.79: In the riwaya of Yunus I.I recorded that the apostle saw her (Ummu’l-Fadl) when she was baby crawling before him and said, ‘If she grows up and I am still alive I will marry her.’ "


Regarding thighing of children too small to take full penetration ( known as Mufa Khathat):

Narrated 'Aisha:
I used to wash the traces of Janaba (semen) from the clothes of the Prophet and he used to go for prayers while traces of water were still on it (water spots were still visible).

Narrated Sulaiman bin Yasar:
I asked 'Aisha about the clothes soiled with semen. She replied, "I used to wash it off the clothes of Allah's Apostle and he would go for the prayer while water spots were still visible. "

Narrated 'Amr bin Maimun:
I heard Sulaiman bin Yasar talking about the clothes soiled with semen. He said that 'Aisha had said, "I used to wash it off the clothes of Allah's Apostle and he would go for the prayers while water spots were still visible on them.

Narrated 'Aisha:
I used to wash the semen off the clothes of the Prophet and even then I used to notice one or more spots on them."

What a nice job for a little girl!


14 October 2007 at 12:43  
Anonymous najistani said...

BTW, Jesus seldom advocated violence, but isn't there a verse in the Bible where he says that vermin like Mohammed should be taken for a cruise, have a millstone tied round their neck and then be chucked overboard?

14 October 2007 at 13:14  
Anonymous Tapani said...

The German visionary Therese Neumann (1898-1962) said that Mary was handed over to the Temple at Jerusalem when she was 13. The "Temple virgins" stayed there for ten years, after which they were free to marry.

(I quite like Therese Neumann. She used to call Hitler "Smoke and fire from Hell". When her brother, a civil servant, enters her house with a Nazi paper hidden in his pocket, she finds it, takes it out and tears it across it folds...

So of course the Gestapo sent out two men to "take care" of her. They came, she went out, set her eyes on them -- and they turned and ran away. And never came back.)

For some reasons, especially lady pastors here are fond of telling their congregations that Mary was very very young. 14, 13, 12... Must be visionaries they too, to know that; the gospels say nothing.

14 October 2007 at 13:44  
Anonymous irene lancaster said...

I think that the allusion to Mary in the New Testament is to the fact that she was of marriageable age, according to Jewish practice in those days.

However, for those who are interested, Jewish law has now been changed to fit in with Israeli secular law and you now have to be in your late teens at least before you are allowed to marry in Israel.

In practice, by the way, Jews in the diaspora follow the law of the land when it comes to the age of marriage.

14 October 2007 at 16:21  
Blogger the doctor said...

What sort of filth would wish to worship such a disgusting creature as Mohammed ? The Koran does not even try to hide the vileness of the " religions " founder .

14 October 2007 at 17:19  
Blogger Steven_L said...

The bit of the Koran that disturbed me the most was the idea of 'paradise' being a place where people look down at 'hell' and watch people being tortured to eternity whilst taunting them.

How can watching people being forced to drink boiling water and tormented with iron hooks be 'paradise'?

14 October 2007 at 21:38  
Anonymous Romney said...

Dear Doctor.

Islam certainly does not ask for the Worship of Mohammed, in the same way that Christianity does not ask for the worship of Saints Matthew, Mark, Like or John. So perhaps the question, to avoid error, should be better phrased as "What sort of filth would wish to follow the example of such a disgusting creature as Mohammed?"

14 October 2007 at 23:43  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

najistani asks:

BTW, Jesus seldom advocated violence, but isn't there a verse in the Bible where he says that vermin like Mohammed should be taken for a cruise, have a millstone tied round their neck and then be chucked overboard?

No, there isn't, on an unstrained reading. Nor is "vermin" a term that should be used of human beings.

the doctor asks:

What sort of filth would wish to worship such a disgusting creature as Mohammed ?

What sort of unreasoning bigot asks a question like that? If you'd been born in a Muslim family, it's entirely possible you would now be "worshipping" the disgusting creature.

The Koran does not even try to hide the vileness of the " religions " founder.

There's lots of vileness in the Bible and lots of Muslims are far less rabid and irrational than you. En masse they're no good for the UK, of course.

14 October 2007 at 23:56  
Anonymous najistani said...

Luke 17

1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! 2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

15 October 2007 at 09:54  
Anonymous mburgess said...

Our Lady’s consent was anticipated, inasmuch as she was conceived without original sin.

15 October 2007 at 14:05  
Blogger James said...

Cranmer: your slandering the Holy Spirit is scandalous. Please take back your allegation that God impregnated Mary without her have influence over some of your readers.

Luke 1:38 And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."

The fact that the angel announced to Mary what would happen does not for a moment negate her freewill: the angel is God's messenger, and God knew what Mary's response would be.

Mary was free to say "no" in the same way that any of us are free to say "no" to the greatest imaginable gift offered to us by the person we love utterly, completely, above all else and with our whole being.

Cranmer, I guess it is your fear of the Catholic Church which pushed you to make this dig. And perhaps your pride will prevent you from retracting it. But you know as well as I do what it means to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. And I hope you realise how unmanly it is to use Mary to make such an unedifying point.

Your attacks on the Church undermine all the good you seek to do.

15 October 2007 at 14:15  
Anonymous nedsherry said...

Najistani -- I'm familiar with the verse and still fail to see a reference to paedophilia or an unambiguous reference to children. The Greek verb behind "should offend" is skandaliséi, meaning "snare, cause to stumble". Christ is talking about faith, not sex.

15 October 2007 at 16:18  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr James,

There was no impugning of either the character or ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Further, His Grace does not fear the Roman Catholic Church, any more than he fears any Christian denomination or antithetical faith, not least because perfect love casts out all fear.

And it is not necessary to impugn His Grace's character with accusations of pride if he merely happens to disagree with your interpretation, hermeneutic, or insistence on a particular course of action. His Grace is delighted by the intellectual calibre and spiritual maturity of his communicants, who are manifestly capable of deciding upon such matters for themselves, without an authoritative declaration from a third party.

15 October 2007 at 16:35  
Blogger the doctor said...

Romney , you are quite correct , Mohammed was a prophet and thus could not be worshipped . I must have had a hard day !
Nedsherry , an unreasoning bigot ; no more than you Sir .

15 October 2007 at 17:00  
Blogger James said...

Cranmer, if you will not retract, then please explain how getting someone pregnant without their consent is an act of love.

Who would do that? How could a God of love act in such a way? The Father did not ask Christ to do anything without His (Christ's) consent. Do you think God treats us any worse than this?

Do you understand how in love Mary was with God, how she yearned to give her all to Him, how she prayed with all her soul, her mind, her heart and her strength? She offered herself completely to God, not ruling anything out (even though she would not have guessed the Incarnation in advance). So when God made His plan known through His angel, Mary readily assented.

This is crucial in illuminating our proper relationship with God. Mary consented to the Crucifixion as she consented to the Incarnation. Always she sought the totality of God's will. She co-operated with Him actively.

Your suggestion that God imposes Himself on Mary without her consent is foul and theologically fruitless. If God would do that to the Mother of His Son, then who could be safe from Him?

But thanks be to God, He is love.

16 October 2007 at 03:19  
Blogger Straight Mike - tells it as it is said...

mburgess said
"Our Lady’s consent was anticipated, inasmuch as she was conceived without original sin."
So Mary was sinless hmmmm - then why did she need a saviour? "My soul rejoices in God my saviour" - strange words for someone who was sinless!! And the bible says "all have sinned" not "all except Mary have sinned". What we have in this statement is the traditions of men being elevated above scripture, which cost men their lives in bygone days, in case some here have forgotten!!

16 October 2007 at 12:25  
Anonymous convinced Anglican said...

Dear Mr James

We Anglicans, blessed by the loving wisdom of His Grace, require merely a little respect from those of the Roman persuasion.

One is not convinced by blustering, blaming, denigrating, absolutism. It is on record that we do not subscribe to the specifically Roman dogma of Immaculate Conception any more than (again specifically Roman) Transubstantiation.

How much better to come to understanding and "perfect love" through the God-given faculty of intelligence than by unthinking obedience to a false concept of human 'infallibility' - Pius IX (if memory serves).

One remains indebted to His Grace for clarity and guidance.

16 October 2007 at 13:25  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr James,

To be tied to words and the meaning(s) of words is part of your problem with what His Grace said. What do you mean by 'love'? You need to familiarise yourself with the Arminian/Calvin free-will and determinism arguments (and His Grace means the theology, not the Wikipedia superficial overview) in order to begin to comprehend the complexities of the issue. If what God foreknows is not what he has fore-ordained, how can it be certain?

Ultimately, Mr Convinced Anglican and Mr Straight Mike make valid points. If you wish to quote Scripture through a literal hermenutic, then so much of Rome's teaching around the character of Mary falls by the wayside. She is, apparently, exempt from so much that is applicable to the rest of humanity, and the only foundation for asserting so is church tradition.

You open a can of worms, or a Diet of Worms...(communicants will please forgive His Grace this appalling pun).

16 October 2007 at 15:49  
Anonymous USpace said...

You explained and elucidated this issue very well...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
marry very young girl...

if it makes you HAPPY man
but wait until she is ten

17 October 2007 at 06:00  
Blogger James said...

Never in all history was it known for God to over ride somebody's freewill.

Moses sought to avoid his calling. Jeremiah was made folorn by his calling. Jonah sought to escape his calling. But in the end they all served by their own choice.

How much more ready and delighted was Mary to serve God in any way He asked of her. This is made clear by her response to the Incarnation: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour" (Lk 1:46-47)

Again, this is important because it illuminates our own proper relationship with God. God desires our active, willing, CONSENTING co-operation in the unfolding of His plan. If we will open ourselves to the fullness of the Holy Spirit, then Christ is conceived in us: "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal 2:20). This life is spiritual; but in the Virgin Mary it was also corporeal.

God never imposes Himself on anyone, especially not in the intense intimacy of begetting a child. Too put it very simplistically, God is too much of a gentleman to force Himself into anyone. He waits to be welcomed: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me." (Rev 3:20)

It is better to say nothing at all than to suggest that God impregnated Mary without her consent.

If what I have written here is not true, please enlighten me.

17 October 2007 at 11:47  
Blogger Cranmer said...

His Grace refers the honorable gentleman to the reply he gave some moments ago.

17 October 2007 at 12:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this stuff is hilarious.this sect and that sect twittering over whose book says what about its characters. it is understandable that when life expectancy was a third of todays that people reproduced earlier.some of the legends of religions written then or after will reflect that difference.
jesus, allah, odin whoever are wonderful inventions to try to get over fear and to make life and death appear more comprehensible.god never said anything because god is made up. the idea of god serves the perhaps useful purpose of providing an incontrovertible authority and a text that can be interpreted til the cows come home. the rule of law, science and economics has largely replaced divine authority as a workable societal model; it too has its failings and myths.

14 March 2008 at 06:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I expect Gary Glitter to form a new religion akin to Islam.

Then he can call himself Mohammed and do what the original vile Mohammed did to Ayisha

What a utter vile religion you Muslims choose, yes choose!

5 October 2008 at 10:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"She (Mary) said: ‘O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man has touched me.' He (God) said: ‘So (it will be) for God creates what He wills. When He has decreed something, He says to it only: ‘Be!'- and it is" (3:47).

17 July 2009 at 10:11  

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