Thursday, April 26, 2012

Distinct Cultural Differences Between Islamist Perspectives and Ours

There are some ideas so shocking that if you made them up, they would be legitimately a hate crime.  From the April 26, 2012 Daily Mail:

Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives - for up to six hours after their death.
The controversial new law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament.
It will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 and the ridding of women's rights of getting education and employment.

Read more:
Not all cultures are equally valid.  Sorry, that pretty well blows ever being employed by a prestige institution of higher learn, but it's true.

So hard to believe, I looked for other news sources to confirm it.  From April 26, 2012 Hurriet Daily News (Turkey):
Egyptian Parliament is preparing to discuss a draft law that would let husbands have sex with their “dead wives” within six hours of their death, an Egyptian columnist from daily Al-Ahram has said.
The draft law, which will reportedly legalize necrophilia, has caused an uprorar in the country.
Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has appealed to the Islamist-dominated Parliament not to approve controversial law, according to Al-Arabiya’s report.
Parliament was also said to be discussing another legal resolution that would allow women to marry at the age of 14. 
According to Al-Ahram’s Amro Abdul Samea, NCW appealed to Parliament to avoid passing controversial pieces of legislation that would rid women of their rights to obtain an education and employment on alleged religious grounds.
UPDATE: From the comments at Small Dead Animals about this story:

Can only imagine the "rape awareness" posters at Egyptian universitities:
"No means I'm still alive"
And many others so shocking that I laugh, but will not quote.

And here's the coverage from April 25, 2012 Al-Arabiya (English language version):
Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has appealed to the Islamist-dominated parliament not to approve two controversial laws on the minimum age of marriage and allowing a husband to have sex with his dead wife within six hours of her death according to a report in an Egyptian newspaper. 
The appeal came in a message sent by Dr. Mervat al-Talawi, head of the NCW, to the Egyptian People’s Assembly Speaker, Dr. Saad al-Katatni, addressing the woes of Egyptian women, especially after the popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
She was referring to two laws: one that would legalize the marriage of girls starting from the age of 14 and the other that permits a husband to have sex with his dead wife within the six hours following her death.
UPDATE 2: The April 26, 2012 Christian Science Monitor calls the story "Utter hooey."
The chances of any such piece of legislation being considered by the Egyptian parliament for a vote is zero. And the chance of it ever passing is less than that. In fact, color me highly skeptical that anyone is even trying to advance a piece of legislation like this through Egypt's parliament. I'm willing to be proven wrong. It's possible that there's one or two lawmakers completely out of step with the rest of parliament. Maybe.
 The rest of the article basically says that this unbelievable, and at best might represent a couple of weirdo kooks.  If the only place this article appeared was in the Daily Mail, or some Christian websites, I might be inclined to be skeptical.  But Al-Arabiya isn't exactly looking to make Muslims look crazy or stupid.  Who should I believe?  Reporters who read Arabic, and have an incentive to not make Muslims look crazy?  Or a reporter with an American newspaper which has an incentive to assume that crazy sounding stuff from the Muslim world just can't be true?

UPDATE 3: The April 26, 2012 Daily Mail quotes the Egyptian embassy in London as claiming that this is utter nonsense--that nothing of the sort was introduced in their Parliament.  I'm glad to hear that.  It is rather interesting that Arab news media were prepared to believe it.


  1. Celebrate diversity!!

  2. I'm pretty sure that women in Egypt are stoned to death if they make noise, move, or breathe during sex also, so it could be difficult to tell whether or not they're dead while making the Allah Approved version of sweet, sweet love to them.

  3. I don't know why you would be skeptical that the story is bottom-line bogus. You see it all the time in this country, where some state or even federal legislator proposes some weird law that the press then falls all over itself covering. It is not at all unusual at all to see such stories breathlessly covering all the details of the law and the implications if it should take effect, while somehow never getting around to discussing that the legislation has no support beyond the attention seeking media whore who proposed it.

  4. This was part of a larger package that does enjoy significant support among Islamists: lowering the marriage age to 14, and reducing opportunities for education and employment for women.

  5. Let me also point out that when an Arabic language, Muslim-oriented service like al-Arabiya treats this seriously, it is foolish to assume that this is "bottom-line bogus."

  6. ... because the Saudi monarchy - the wonderful people who brought you 9-11 - would never lie, especially about a democratic movement they desperately hope doesn't spread to their own country.

    Clayton, you got taken in by a hoax because you wanted to believe that Arabs are disgusting. And when it proved not to be true, instead of retracting, you put in a "third update" instead of reflecting how you'd been taken in, and helped spread one more bit of bigotry.

  7. 1. The Saudi monarchy did not bring us 9/11. There were a number of Saudi citizens involved, because bin Laden was trying to create hostility towards the Saudi government by the U.S.

    2. A number of Muslim news organizations carried reports about this. And even now, the Egyptian government's denial is actually pretty carefully worded. It sounds like there were supporters of this proposal.

    3. You will notice that I used the phrase "Islamists" not "Arabs" or "Egyptians" or "Muslims." The Islamists are one particular segment of Muslim society that supports putting women back into second class status.

    4. I could have just pulled this back. But I think it is more honest to show people a correction, rather than making it like it never even happened.

    5. The Saudis are terrified of Arab democracy, very true. But Arab democracy is likely to be something Islamist, not liberal democracy. In this country, we have groups like the ACLU who fight against democracy, because they are terrified that the majority might get its way, and prohibit homosexuality, abortion, pornography, and all the rest of the left's agenda.

  8. I have to say Clayton, you handled it well and honestly, especially with the update. What is Kleiman going on about? And who in the world believes the Saudi Monarchy brought us 9-11?

    In Kleiman's own blog, he is keeping track of the number of liberal and conservative blogs that have published retractions of this story. He claims that no conservative blog has done so. Perhaps he is trying to further that narrative?

  9. Kleiman is a liberal, and admitting that bin Laden (and not the Saudi monarchy) was behind 9/11 seems a bit hard for him. First he wanted me to make it completely disappear (even though at best there is now serious question about the story), then he is upset about a lack of retractions? I'm not sure that you can make some people happy.