Who could’ve known that?

So…a guy who had sex with a thirteen year old girl won’t be going to jail.  Why?  Because he didn’t know it was against the law.  Seriously.

A muslim who raped a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he  was taught that women are worthless.

Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law.

Yesterday Judge Michael Stokes handed Rashid a suspended sentence, saying: ‘Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.’

Strange.  Since his religion is undoubtedly the moral foothold for all of humanity, you’d think he could’ve learned that from his faith.  In this case, it seems his faith kept him…wait for it…ignorant.  It’s like his faith made him worse.

But maybe this guy’s just one bad apple.  I mean, it’s not like many Islamic communities support this kind of thing or that Islam doesn’t have a precedent for this kind of behavior.  Right?

Aisha was six or seven years old when betrothed to Muhammad. Traditional sources state that she stayed in her parents’ home until the age of nine when the marriage was consummated with Muhammad, then 53, in Medina, with the single exception of al-Tabari, who records that she was ten.

Oh.  Well, at least Muslims don’t try, often as a matter of culture, to emulate their prophet…right?

This is why we can see stories like that of Nujood Ali, an eight year-old forced to marry a man more than three times her age (who, under Sharia law, received compensation from Nujood’s family in the divorce).

The eight year-old’s parents said they could not protect her because now she belonged to her husband.  Look at me and tell me that they would’ve done this without the influence of Islam.

Once more: religion does not make people better.  At best, it can sometimes get people to do good things for bad reasons.  The “religion makes people better crowd” seem to ignore the fact that people also do bad things for bad reasons.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    Fuck. I got nothing snarky. I can’t. I’m actually too outraged. This… is disgusting. It hits a little too close to home as a parent, and just as a human being with a modicum of human decency.

  • McFidget

    I’ve seen a few people get very outraged about this but I urge people to consider the source. The Daily Mail has a well deserved reputation for xenophobia, if they see a story about how Islamic immigrants are destroying Britain they will likely jump on it with little to no fact checking. A quick google on this story turns up only a few tabloids and many racist hate blogs. There may be some truth to it but I have seen no verification from reliable sources. Please check the facts before jumping on the reactionary bandwagon.

    • Glodson

      My gut reaction to the first story left me blind to the fact it was the Daily Mail. God, I hate the Daily Mail. So I do hope that it isn’t true, as that would be a horrible crime allowed for a horrible reason. I know that ignorance of the law is not a defense here in the States. I thought it wouldn’t work anywhere, but I couldn’t be sure.

  • Frank Person

    Religion does not cause people to do bad things, anymore than a lack of faith causes someone to be bad. I don’t believe in any kind of god or higher power, and I believe myself to be an extremely moral, upstanding person with an amazing family. I respect people’s views and beliefs, just as I expect them to have the same for me. To identify this young man as a Muslim, was irresponsible writing, and should have no bearing to the case. If the man had been Catholic or Luthan, would that detail have been included in this story? Doubtful. The man made the decision to do what he did, and there’s nothing else that should be a mitigating factor, unless he was mentally impaired or otherwise under some other external influence as outlined by the law. Ignorance of the law has CLEARLY been defined as NOT being an allowable defense. The judge was clearly in error here and this decision should be overturned.

    • Loqi

      “If the man had been Catholic or Luthan, would that detail have been included in this story? Doubtful.”

      You muat be new.

      • Frank Person

        I’m saying it reeks of poor journalism, and writing like that doesn’t do the atheist cause any favors. JT rants on how this and that happen, and why religion is so bad, and largely I agree with the concepts he espouses, but the vitriol is poorly executed, and makes him look sort of dumb. In the long run, that does more harm than good, in my opinion.

        • baal

          As the resident wet blanket on vitriol, JT rarely flips my switch on it. He does, however, get essentially the same comment about anytime he makes a post on how a specific part of a religion gives cover for bad behavior.

  • smrnda

    I can understand if this man was raised in a repressive religious environment where he was prevented from learning about the rest of the world, but if he’s out cruising for girls on facebook he’s in touch with the internet, and I can’t imagine he could have truly been ignorant that you can’t have sex with 13 year old girls.

  • Keith Erick Fix

    JT, You’ve left out some key details from the story.

    Addressing Rashid, the judge said: ‘I accept this was a case where the girl was quite willing to have sexual activity with you. But the law is there to protect young girls, even though they are perfectly happy to engage in sexual activity.’

    He’s still guilty, too. His sentence is only suspended. This is his one shot at fixing his life.

  • Andrew Kohler

    This may be somewhat tangential, but speaking of England and religion and the courts:

    I heard a talk by a very nice German professor of religion this summer about Islam in Germany (I’m researching a dissertation in Munich this year). It was part of a language/culture class I did last summer. Among the many things he described (very objectively and professionally, I should add; he was no proselytizer) that outraged me was Britain’s legal system (given as a point of comparison). He said that there are now Jewish courts for Jews (I think he said that, at least), Sharia courts for Muslims, and Christian courts for everyone else. I asked, “What about atheists?” He said that atheists get the Christian courts, since that’s the default, apparently. Someone said it’s like how you place your hand on a Bible to be sworn in in an American court. “I’d never do that,” I rejoined, which seemed to shock the room somewhat. I thought, “Oh dear, that was hostile, wasn’t it?” But, then again, it’s not as hostile as forcing people to participate in religion, and there’s no reason for us to be appeasing of such things.

    I also raised my hand when he said that post-WWII some Germans thought that the problem had been a lack of Christianity: “Hitler did have a concordant with the Vatican, did he not?” Unfortunately, some of the resistance to Hitler used Christian rhetoric. I still admire members of the resistance very greatly, but this rather disappointed me–it also seems distressingly ironic given that such rhetoric is exclusionary of Jews. As to other groups persecuted at that time: gay men have not been treated very well by Christianity, and I can’t imagine the Christian establishments really cared for the Roma and Sinti people too much.

    • McFidget

      This German professor is very much misinformed about the British legal system. We have no courts for separate religions. What he could be referring to when he says “Sharia courts” is the “Muslim Arbitration Tribunal” about which there has been massive amounts of misinformation spread, it has absolutely zero authority when it comes to making binding legal rulings. It merely acts as an alternative form of dispute resolution on matters such as inheritance or nuisance neighbours.

    • Keith Erick Fix

      Andrew, I think one might reasonably argue that organized slaughter of homosexually active men and women, Hebrews, professed “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” Poles, so-called Gypsies (14th century migrants from India, not Egypt), and anybody else the state determined to be “unfit,” was a founded in Christian notions of societal conformity. Post-war, what remained of Germany simply adopted the “moral” standards of its conquerors – as was obvious upon comparison between eastern and western partitions of the country.

      Altogether, I think your remarks to the lecturer were appropriate given his conformance to the standard post-war Nazi narrative.

  • Drew

    I’m sorry but ignorance of the can never be a valid excuse.