Thursday, October 26, 2006

Al-Hilaly on chastity and fidelity: How can I but blame the victim?

Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly So Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilaly has been a ditz again:1
... In his Ramadan sermon Sheik Hilaly also alluded to the infamous Sydney gang rapes, suggesting the attackers were not entirely to blame.

While not specifically referring to the rapes, brutal attacks on four women for which a group of young Lebanese men received long jail sentences, the sheik said there were women who "sway suggestively" and wore make-up and immodest dress "and then you get a judge without mercy (rahma) and gives you 65 years." [Rapist Bilal Skaf initially got 55 years' jail for leading the 2000 Sydney southwest rapes, but later had the sentence reduced on appeal.]

"But the problem, but the problem all began with who?" he asked.

"If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats' or the uncovered meat?

"The uncovered meat is the problem." (source)
I checked the article on's AdelaideNow section and there a certain Peter Minnie had commented:
Wake up people the Sheik comments were not defending these animals but [pointing out] something that is blatantly obvious of what is always the fear we hold as parents of teenage daughters who are caught up in these new "trashy" dress sense that unfortunately is sweeping the western world. (source)
So much for the widespread criticism of the Sheik's remarks – by both muslims and non-muslims. It looks like his comments got through to some fundamentalist loose in this city! No doubt there are a small minority of AFL footy players who also understand his comments since they too feel that the mere act of a women dressing in skimpy clothing is equivalent to her consenting to have sex with him.

By the way, I imagine if meat covered with a headscarf was put outside the cats would still come, rip off the covering and eat the meat anyway. Animal nature is like that. The ability to rise above that kind of 'basic instinct' behaviour and consider the basic impact on society before we act is what makes us human. Enough stating the obvious though.

Black cat It made me wonder... if you wanted to make a sermon criticising non-conformance to a ultra-modest dress code, how could you do it without making some kind of controversial statement? It must be almost impossible. What is the purpose of covering most of the body in really hot countries apart from keeping out dust and avoiding sunburn? Of course it is related to helping ensure chastity and fidelty – for both men and women. So therefore criticising someone who doesn't cover up properly is always going to seem like you're justifying the actions of someone who rapes or sexually harasses them – again regardless of whether the harasser is male or female but traditionally I imagine the harasser was male.

Take note oh-so-diplomatic henchman Keysar Trad, I think I've just made a much better defence for the Sheik than you did. Perhaps you could also suggest to the Sheik to make up for his blunder by preaching next week about exercising control against basic instincts that are unethical or hurt society, in the same way a well-trained cat won't eat the most delicious meat put in front until he's given permission.

Cat image courtesy of Hot Athens Cat Spot
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Blogger Chai said...

I was going to point out to him that him dressing up in his imam garb is incitement for some people to assault him but somehow, I dont think he'd see my point.

October 27, 2006 10:27 pm  
Blogger Anthony said...

Hey Lisa, I've "tagged" you for that blogger questionnaire thing. You can find the questions at 'anthony js'.

October 30, 2006 6:40 pm  
Blogger Dima said...

The more i read recently in news about a religion-related stuff, the more i start actively disliking religion. Right now there is a big debate in Israel around holding (or not) a gay parade in Jerusalem. And i keep on asking myself, why do religious feelings are more appreciated that any other kind of feelings? Why do we have consider religion above all the other values? Why women (or men) cannot dress (or undress) as they wish? Why can't people criticize through caricatures ideas associated with a mythological character whose name is used for the wrong purposes? And why(!!!) there can't be a gay parade in Jerusalem? If you don't like it, don't look at it, disagree, cross to a different side of the road, make a statement, an argument, have a dialogue. There are so many ways to react and make a point, but why does it usually lead violence, hatred and incitement? Why using these animal images to describe something you disagree about? Will it promote tolerance? Understanding? Any of the "high" values these religions are articulating? I doubt that... (have to think more about this and blog on the subject...)

And as to the modest clothes - the day men will start wearing long pents and long sleeves shirts at +35C, i will consider the argument of modesty in clothing. Until then i would claim that the problem is in male education. Is there no rape in cultures that force their women dressing modestly? There is. Maybe it is less evident in the public discourse, but there definitely is rape, harassment, etc. So the problem is not in "meat" left outside, but in the misbehaving cats.

P.S. this is really nice that google added a spellcheck to comments... i like that :)

November 01, 2006 4:16 pm  
Blogger Lisa said...

Interesting comments there Dima but the bit that stood out to me: The more I read... the more I start actively disliking religion...

It's kind of like the old answer to "I hate religions because they cause wars" which is "religions don't cause wars, people do". Probably fair enough, but, similar to you, the more I think about the apparent effect of religious thinking the more I think the underpinning philosophies of a religion are to blame, rather than the people who follow those philosophies. After all, a religion is a system where a bunch of people are under a lot of pressure to conform to a fairly rigid philosophy.

The problem with this though is that it's kind of against the modern ethic of personal responsibility.

It doesn't mean certain religious philosophies aren't a problem for society, and Al-Hilaly's philosophy is a good example. It is a problem for the application of human rights to women who aren't wearing covering enough clothes and that is a serious issue.

As for your comment that Is there no rape in cultures that force their women dressing modestly?

Because there's been so much press on this last week I can confirm that not only are you right, but apparently this is particularly the case it countries where especially strict laws apply to women's clothing -- Afghanistan was the quoted example, where the percentage of women who've experienced rape or sexual violence is apparently well into double figures. (Sorry, don't have time to follow up the ref but if you need it I will).

November 02, 2006 1:54 pm  
Blogger Lisa said...

And I do plan to pass on the love from the blog meme that Anthony tagged me with soon as I get a chance...

November 02, 2006 1:55 pm  
Anonymous Shaymus said...

Yes we are all agreed the mufti is a prat...I like your cat..It reminds me of a black cat I had once...yes and 3 cheers to the judge who gave that tosser who circumsised his 2 year old daughter 10 years jail...should of been the firing clit removal called circumcision?...It is the absolute idiocy...anyway cheers!

November 03, 2006 4:17 pm  
Blogger Leonid said...

After I first read this story, I realized that I fail to understand the analogy, and I still do. If he suggests that the women are to blame for the whole incident, than the meat should cover itself. Great idea.
On a more serious grounds, he seems to argue that men has no free will. Free will is a cornerstone of any normal religious philosophy -- otherwise, a concept of the punishment for you sins gets tricky.

November 05, 2006 12:20 am  
Anonymous katie said...

Hey check this out, they're making 'Deport Hilaly' t-shirts now! Very amusing...I am tempted to buy one!

January 16, 2007 9:32 am  
Blogger Lisa said...

Deport him? To be blunt, that is absolute bullshit. Prosecute him under racial vilificataion laws and shame him appropriately perhaps...

January 16, 2007 9:48 am  

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