News flash: Marital age is now in the Kalima

The latest absurd case of takfir.

Disagreeing on the universal applicability of medieval marital practices to modern life is grounds for excommunication?

Top Yemeni clerics oppose ban on child brides –

Some of Yemen's most influential Islamic leaders, including one the U.S. says mentored Osama bin Laden, have declared supporters of a ban on child brides to be apostates.

  • TM Lutas

    Absurd? Not at all. This is warfare and sane muslims are the targets. The US has special issues due to the 1st amendments and the necessary religious truce we impose in this country but that does not mean that we do not see nor that we are unsympathetic. We just wish that we knew how to help other than popping a hellfire missile on these lunatics when they act on their absurd rulings of apostasy and aggress against US citizens.
    A little help in instructing how non-muslims could help would be of assistance. You are not alone.

  • svend

    Thanks, TM.
    I am not following this debate in Yemen, but as ridiculous as I find the idea that supporting a higher marital age for girls should put one out of the pale of Islam, I doubt that this particular controversy rises (sinks?) to that level. It sounds to me like the in-politically-immature-states-typical process of hardline conservatives demonizing reformers for challenging their “way of life”. So it was the theological claim as opposed to the topic or intensity of the controversy that I find surprising.
    Of course, the fact that the Prophet married Aisha at a young age–not that there is anything wrong with it by the standards of its time and region; these moronic pedophilia charges are the mark of historical and anthropological illiteracy, not to mention vicious spite–makes it seem like “Sunna” (i.e., Prophetic behavior to be emulated) that is sacred and not subject to amendment by government in the eyes of simple folk, but simple folk are not who you turn to for crafting public policy. There’s a vulgar, dumbed-down conception of Sunna that’s in wide circulation today that regularly turns discussion of updating antiquated (but in most cases once quite justified) aspects of Islamic into circuses, referenda of all the is holy rather than reasoned debates about balancing tradition with the public good. It’s a paralyzing legacy of modern Islamist political thought, I think. It’s like a pan-Islamic Tea Party.
    It might sound like a cliche, but I think the best thing outsiders can do (in in some respects that includes me–Islamists and the Islamist-influenced in Yemen don’t give a hoot what I think) is to work for peace and dialogue between Muslims and the West, and promoting prosperity, democracy and rule of law.
    So, the solution is simply to return humanity to Eden. Write your Congressman now! ;-)
    As usual when dealing with complex socio-cultural problems that feed off one another, when looking from the outside it’s infinitely easier to come up with a specific way to worsen the situation than solve it.

  • svend

    Imagine Europe had not been in ashes in the late 1950s and it decided that something needed to be done about the barbaric Jim Crow system that was still being practiced in much of America at the time. What specifically could they have done to encourage debate and reform in America? Not much.
    But they could easily have hurt their cause in a host of ways. They could’ve pursued confrontational policies or made public statements that scored points with nationalists or partisan constituencies on the Continent, but which gave Jim Crow’s benighted defenders the upper hand in the debate within America. Worse, assuming Europe had the military might and the political unity to do so–a very fanciful scenario, I know–had it declared war on the US and invaded–or done so via proxy through Canada–you can be sure the Civil Rights movement wouldn’t happened, at least not for another generation. Serious reform, which often requires soul-searching that an enemy could seize on for propaganda purposes, doesn’t happen when societies are locked in conflicts (of if most of its people are struggling feed themselves). Unless it reaches boiling point and you have a revolution, but then all bets are off anyway.
    Conflict, insecurity and fear are the oxygen that keeps reactionaries politically alive. One often cannot directly promote good ideas in other cultures, but you often do have it within your power, I think, reduce the circumstances that reactionaries exploit to block reform and dialogue.

  • svend

    Why is it that I always end up writing a book’s worth of comments on my shortest posts?
    And usually in reaction to your comments, it seems. Your thought-provoking comments are ever a menace to my free time!