Monday, December 26, 2016

President Obama Throws Israel to the Wolves

By Joseph Klein

President Obama is ending his presidency the way he began it – throwing Israel to the wolves. On September 23, 2009, he told the United Nations General Assembly, “America does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlements.” On December 23, 2016, Obama broke with the longstanding practice of both Democratic and Republican administrations to protect Israel from one-sided UN resolutions. He let the UN Security Council pass a resolution declaring that the establishment of settlements by Israel has "no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law." The resolution demands that "Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem." The Obama administration abstained, rather than veto this resolution as it had done with regard to a similar resolution back in 2011. All other members of the Security Council, including the United Kingdom and France, voted for the latest outrage against Israel coming out of a UN chamber.

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power shamelessly defended the U.S. abstention as an act to save the so-called “two-state” solution, which Israel’s continued settlements activities were, she said, supposedly jeopardizing. She pathetically reached back to a 1982 statement by then-President Ronald Reagan calling for an end to "the use of any additional land for the purpose of settlements.” In the statement quoted by Ambassador Power, President Reagan said that "the immediate adoption of a settlement freeze by Israel, more than any other action, could create the confidence needed for wider participation in these talks."

Ms. Power quoted Ronald Reagan out of context. In his address, Mr. Reagan was referring to a freeze on settlements during a “period of transition,” which would “begin after free elections for a self-governing Palestinian authority” and could prove that “Palestinian autonomy poses no threat to Israel’s security.” He said that “the United States will not support the establishment of an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza,” but suggested instead “self-government by the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza in association with Jordan.”

Ambassador Power left out of her out-of-context reference to the Reagan quote the repeated failures of the Palestinians to negotiate in good faith for more than three decades since that time. She failed to note Israel’s voluntary freezing of new settlements and restrictions on existing ones for four years, between 1992 and 1996. The number of Israelis killed as a result of Palestinian terrorist attacks during that time increased from 34 in 1992 to 56 in 1996, the fifth largest annual total between 1967 and 1996. There were 65 Israeli fatalities from Palestinian terrorism in 1994, smack in the middle of Israel’s settlement freeze.

Ambassador Power also failed to note Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and dismantling of all settlements there in Gaza in 2005, for which Israel was rewarded with Palestinian terrorists’ firing of thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Finally, she conveniently skipped over Israel’s moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank during Obama's first term in office. During this moratorium, Palestinian terrorists continued to kill Israelis, including a married couple and two other Israelis who were murdered in their vehicle in a Hamas terrorist drive-by shooting attack in the outskirts of Hebron.

In short, all of Israel’s concrete actions to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the conflict and enable a viable two-state solution have foundered because of Palestinian intransigence and terrorism. Yet the Obama administration decided to do the Palestinians’ bidding and let a resolution heaping blame and condemnation on Israel pass the Security Council.

Still pretending to be a friend of Israel, Samantha Power added in her explanatory remarks that abstention rather than veto of the ant-Israel settlements resolution was a difficult vote for the United States "because of where it's taking place: at the United Nations.” She complained “that for as long as Israel has been a member of this institution, Israel has been treated differently from other nations at the United Nations." She said "such unequal treatment not only hurts Israel; it undermines the legitimacy of the United Nations itself." She was correct in those observations. Nevertheless, the Obama administration compounded the "unequal treatment" of Israel by allowing the anti-Israel settlements resolution to pass.

The resolution focuses almost exclusively on Israeli settlements as "a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace." It pays only lip service to Israel's demonstrable security concerns, and contains only a glancing critical reference to acts of terror and incitement to violence by both sides. It specifically calls out Israel for what the resolution claims was its violation of international law. However, the resolution fails to call out Hamas, which governs territory claimed as part of the “State of Palestine,” for incitement to genocide and using civilian facilities such as schools and hospitals to carry out attacks in violation of international humanitarian law. It also fails to cite Palestinian Authority leaders for their incitement to genocide through such channels as official Palestinian Authority websites, Palestinian Authority-sponsored media outlets and in their educational materials. Incitement to genocide, committed by both Hamas and Palestinian Authority officials, violates the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

All that matters to the United Nations and the Obama administration are Israeli settlements. Even there, the resolution mixes apples and oranges. The resolution does not even distinguish between the construction or expansion of arguably illegal outposts east of the Security Barrier, and building within East Jerusalem, which supporters of the resolution presume will automatically be the capital of a new Palestinian state. “By treating all construction as equally problematic, the UN will paradoxically make it harder for future Palestinian, Israeli and American leaders to negotiate,” David Bernstein, President and CEO of The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, said. “It limits their room to maneuver.”

The Security Council anti-Israel settlements resolution, passed with the Obama administration’s consent, is not technically legally binding, because it was not passed under the provisions of Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The resolution is also not formally characterized as a “decision” of the Security Council adopted for the explicitly stated purpose of “the maintenance of international peace and security.”

However, the resolution sets down a clear marker that “the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” With such an unambiguous declaration, now supported or at least unopposed by all five permanent members of the Security Council and most member nations of the UN, the resolution may be deemed as evidence of “customary international law” on the subject of Israeli settlements activities. Palestinians and their supporters would then be better positioned to cause mischief for Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC), which the so-called government of Palestine has joined. A “preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine” is currently underway at the ICC. The Palestinians and their supporters may also seek to exploit the Security Council resolution’s finding that Israel’s settlements are in “flagrant violation under international law” to pressure the UN and member states into boycotting the purchases of any products or services remotely connected to firms doing any business in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. Even before the Security Council resolution was passed, the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein from Jordan, sought to have the UN's procurement division consider launching what would amount to a blacklisting and boycott of Israeli businesses and international companies with ties to the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already stated that “Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the U.N., and will not abide by its terms.” Fortunately, starting on January 20, 2017, Israel will finally have a friend in the White House who recognizes the difference between a democratic ally and a gang of thugs pretending to be a nation state.

"As to the U.N., things will be different after Jan. 20th," tweeted President-elect Donald Trump. One of the first things that he should do upon taking office is to declare that the United States repudiates anything in the Security Council anti-Israel settlements resolution that denies or calls into question the legal validity of Israel’s existing or future settlements activities. He should make clear that any effort by the UN or member states to institute a boycott will result in serious adverse financial consequences to them. And he should announce that the United States will move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the undivided capital of the Jewish state, Jerusalem.

Obama pulls a bait-and-switch on anti-Israel Security Council vote

By Alan M. Dershowitz

The Obama administration pulled a bait and switch in refusing to veto the recent Security Council resolution against Israel. In attempting to justify its abstention – which under Security Council rules has the same effect as a vote in favor – the administration focuses on “new” settlement building, especially in areas deep into the West Bank.

In her speech to the Security Council, Ambassador Samantha Powerexplained the administration’s vote this way:

“Today, the Security Council reaffirmed its established consensus that settlements have no legal validity.... President Obama and Secretary Kerry have repeatedly warned – publically and privately – that the absence of progress toward peace and continued settlement expansion was going to put the two-state solution at risk, and threaten Israel’s stated objective to remain both a Jewish State and a democracy ... This resolution reflects trends that will permanently destroy the hope of a two-state solution if they continue on their current course.”(emphasis added)

Likewise Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, said:

Netanyahu had the opportunity to pursue policies that would have led to a different outcome today.... In the absence of any meaningful peace process, as well as in the accelerated settlement activity, we took the decision that we did today to abstain on the resolution.” (emphasis added)

In a press release, the pro-Obama advocacy group J. Street welcomed America’s abstention, citing a poll showing “that 62 percent of Jewish voters believe the United States should either support or abstain from voting on a United Nations Security Council resolution calling on Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank.”(emphasis added)

And the media – from CNN, to the New York Times, to the Wall Street Journal – also reported that the resolution was only about the expansion of new settlements.

But the text of the resolution itself goes well beyond new building in these controversial areas and applies equally to historically Jewish areas that were unlawfully taken by Jordanian military action during Israel’s War of Independence and liberated by Israel in a war started by Jordan in 1967.

The text of the Security Council Resolution says that “any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem,” have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” This means that Israel’s decision to build a plaza for prayer at the Western Wall – Judaism’s holiest site – constitutes a “flagrant violation of international law.” If it does then why did President Obama pray there and leave a note asking for peace?

Is it really now U.S. policy to condemn Israel for liberating these historically Jewish areas in Jerusalem? Does Obama really believe they should be made judenrein again, as they were between 1949 and 1967?

If so, why didn’t the administration openly acknowledge that it was changing half a century of bipartisan support for Israel’s claims to these sacred areas? If not, why did it not demand changes in the language of the resolution to limit it to new building in disputed areas of the West Bank?

The Obama administration can’t have it both ways. It must now declare where it stands on Israel’s right to allow prayer at the Western Wall, access to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital, and the repair of destroyed synagogues to the Jewish Quarter.

J Street, as well, has an obligation to its members – many of whom pray at the Western Wall and have deep connections to Hebrew University and Hadassah Hospital and the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem – to advise them whether the organization supports Israel's abandoning these Jewish areas until Palestinians agree to a negotiated settlement.

The media, as well, should clarify the impact of the resolution beyond new building in the West Bank, so that all Americans well know what their President supported.

President-elect Donald Trump and Congress can make it clear that it is not U.S. policy that all changes “to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem” are in violation of international law. The new president can immediately recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and begin the process of moving our embassy there.

The justification for keeping it in Tel Aviv was not to change the status quo, but that justification no longer exists because this resolution does precisely that: it declares the status quo – the reality on the ground that acknowledges Israel’s legitimate claims to its most sacred and historical Jewish areas – to be flagrant violations of international law. Congress can legislate no funding to implement the Security Council’s troubling resolution.

If the Obama administration refuses to announce that it supports the language of the resolution that applies to the Jewish areas discussed above, then the entire resolution should be deemed invalid because the U.S. did not cast its abstention – the equivalent of a yes vote – in good faith.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Czech Politician: West Will Have To ‘Crush’ Islam

By James Delingpole

Islam is a “criminal” ideology which deserves to be ranked with “Nazism, fascism and communism”, is “incompatible with the principles of European law” and, like its totalitarian predecessors, must inevitably be defeated.

So argues Czech lawyer, activist and politician Klára Samková in a hard hitting lecture she delivered earlier this week in the Czech Parliament to an audience including (some rather bemused) ambassadors from Muslim countries – including the Turkish ambassador who, with several others, walked out half way through.

Her speech – translated here by

The law is an intrinsic and inseparable part of the Islamic ideology. It constitutes the core of the content of Islam while the rules claimed to be religious or ethical are just secondary and marginal components of the ideology. From the viewpoint of Islam, the concept of religion as a private, intimate matter of an individual is absolutely unacceptable. However, that’s exactly the principle on which today’s Christianity and the civilizations derived from it rely. It’s the private relationship of an individual towards God which is more or less mediated by one of the churches. Even those members of our civilization realm who consider themselves atheists, i.e. those who claim not to believe in God, automatically extract their attitudes to life from the Christian traditions while these traditions take the form of either folklore or cultural automatisms which makes them share the generally accepted spirit of Europe and both Americas. Again, it’s necessary to remind ourselves that this view is not only unacceptable for Islam but it is also denounced and explicitly named as a crime. Islam rejects the individual conception of faith in God and in a totalitarian way, it forbids all doubts about itself.

It is, she goes on, a belief system based on an extremely regressive, joyless view of the world.

Islam doesn’t share the Enlightenment’s idea of the social progress associated with the future. According to Islam, the good times have already taken place – in the era of Prophet Mohammed. The best things that could have been done have already been done, the best thing that could have been written has already been written, namely the Quran.

Rather than working with the world – as Judaism and Christianity, or at least the civilizations that have arisen from them do – Islam is filled with hatred for it.

Judaism, Christianity, and the civilization that arose from them have surpassed this unjustifiable skepticism, this contempt of people for themselves. At the same moment, Islam remained a stillborn infant of gnosis, deformed into a monstrously mutated desire to blend with the Universe again, into a retarded obsessively psychopathic paranoiac vision about the exceptional nature of one’s own path towards the reunification of the essence of one’s devotee with God.

Cruelly, this means that Muslims are not brought closer to but further away from God.

This faulty conception also gives rise to the idea penetrating all of Islam about the identification of matter with evil and the contempt for our civilization which is considered materialistic, and therefore intrinsically evil and clashing with God. It’s a genuine tragedy of the Muslims themselves that they have eternally closed their journey to God by pursuing this dead end.

Its vision of humanity is grim and riddled with self hatred.

Depression, perishing, the absence of faith in the human and his irreplaceable value, skepticism towards the dignity of every human being regardless of his characteristics such as religion, social status, sex, and nationality, that’s what characterizes Islam. Islam has rejected philosophy as we know it, as a possibility of a critical and rational view into the nature of reality.

Which probably explains why Islam isn’t big on either human rights – or scientific progress.

This attitude is also preventing Muslims from thinking about the questions on human freedom, dignity, the role of a person and the state, and – paradoxically – also the questions about God which became, within the Euro-American civilization context, an inherent component of the schemes of thought pursued by top scientists – astrophysicists, mathematicians, biologists, who are touching the very foundations of the Universe and therefore the essence of God by their research. However, Muslims are forever forbidden to gain any direct contact with God which they lost at the moment of Prophet Mohammed’s death. How immensely desperate their life must be when it’s essentially just the waiting for death.

Unfortunately, Islam doesn’t want to be miserable on its own. It wants to take the rest of the world down with it.

Islam doesn’t respect development, progress, and humanity. In its despair, it is attempting to take the rest of the mankind with it because from the Islamic viewpoint, the rest of the world is futile, useless, and unclean.

This doesn’t make for a particularly cosy relationship with Western liberal democracy. But most politicians and lawmakers, not least in the European Union, are in denial about this.

Islam and its Sharia law is incompatible with the principles of the European law, especially with the rights enumerated in the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights (and Freedoms). How is it possible that our law experts don’t see this conflict? How is possible that they remain silent?

Muslims have got very good at exploiting what they perceive as weakness in the West’s liberal values.

Islam likes to hide behind the religious mask [for] its permanent, deliberate, and purposeful abuse of the Euro-American legal system and values that the civilizations built upon the Judeo-Christian foundations have converged to. There’s nothing better or more efficient than to abuse the value system of one’s enemy, especially when I don’t share that system. And that’s exactly how Islam behaves. It wants to be protected according to our tradition which it exploits in this way, while it is not willing to behave reciprocally. It relies on our traditions, it claims that the traditions are important, while behind the scenes, it is laughing at us and our system of values.

In Europe, they justify their demands on the grounds that Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights guarantees them freedom of thinking, conscience, and religious faith. But what they – and many lawyers – don’t appreciate as that this Article is subordinate to the one introduced by Winston Churchill, precisely in order to stop the Convention being refused by totalitarian ideologies.

Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention.

This article was introduced to the Convention by Winston Churchill personally who did it for a special reason, namely as a protection against the totalitarian regimes. He was obviously thinking of the relevant ones of that time, the communist regimes. I have Islam in mind which is equally totalitarian and threatening as the regimes that Winston Churchill was fighting against and which he defeated. The protection by Article 17 correctly applies against any ideology and the fact that the European countries constrained by the Convention decided not to enforce the article so far doesn’t mean that they don’t have the will to do so. These countries are just too kind and benevolent, too aware of the price they have paid while learning about the highest value of the humanity, and too patient.

So far Islam may have made all the running. But it has reckoned without one thing: despite the West’s apparent weakness, the experience of World War II in fact made it tough as nails.

The assumption of the Muslim countries and leaders who have decided to terrorize Europeans by their understanding of the world that the cause of Europe’s inactivity is its weakness, is entirely flawed. Europe has been converging to its opinion and to its world view for the price of tens of millions of human casualties, it has paid by suffering that no Muslim can even imagine.

This will eventually come to a head – and it won’t be pretty.

For some time, Europe will keep on asking this question about the peaceful co-existence. At some moment, the question will undergo a metamorphosis and it will sound very differently. It will no longer be DO YOU WANT TO LIVE WITH US but DO YOU WANT TO LIVE? Do you, the Muslims, want to survive? Because if the devotees of Islam won’t want to live in peace, Europe and America will do what it has done twice when they were threatened by ideologies attacking the essence of the humanity: it will wage a war and crush the enemy.

So it’s in Muslims’ own interests not to go any further down this route.

I am using this gathering and call on all Muslims and all countries that claim that Islam is their religion: Stop it. You are on a wrong track. You are on a track that leads away from God. You are on the road of the murderers. Your death won’t get you to Barbelá, to the land of the non-creator God, but to the land of nothingness and nameless uselessness. Nothing will be left out of you and the name of your alleged religion will only be pronounced when people spit out saliva that was mixed with the dust from the road of the successful, happy, and beloved by God people.

Klára Samková delivered this speech at a conference called “Should we be afraid of Islam” organised by a lawmaker in ANO (the billionaire Babiš’s populist centrist party), Zdenek Soukup. It took place in the Czech parliament and guests included the ambassadors of Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Samková, though an outspoken radical, is definitely not on the far-right. On the contrary, she’s an activist best known for her defence of a a generally unpopular minority group in the Czech Republic – the Roma – and is widely considered to be a Social Justice Warrior. In the past she has also collaborated with the Union of Czech Muslims – though not so much after this speech.

According to Motl:

The speech was generally applauded by almost all Czech commenters at Internet newspapers of all political colors. But she’s not really exceptional, if you get the logic. It’s a speech that she gave, it was tough and sort of nicely constructed. But the underlying ideas are absolutely generically accepted by the Czech society. So she’s been praised to be brave etc. but what she said simply isn’t taboo in our society.

Our government is ambiguous, in between Orban and the EU, but the Czech public is probably generally more hostile towards the Islamic immigration than the publics of other Visegrad (let alone other EU) countries. So she doesn’t become superfamous or a political superstar by such a speech despite the widespread agreement simply because she doesn’t sufficiently differ from other Czechs and she may be considered one-dimensional with these interests.

Perhaps the speech will be received differently elsewhere in the world. But according to Motl, there are reasons why in Czech Republic its stance on Islam will not be considered particularly controversial.

There are various reasons why Czechs are generally more anti-Islamic-immigration than anyone else etc. It’s hard to convey all the correlations and some of them are speculative. But we have the communist experience which made us immune against some cheap propaganda about the social engineering projects and rosy future they will make. Second, in 1938, we were betrayed by the Munich Treaty – this is an indication that the Western capitals sometimes want to decide about our matters without us. So this is similar – instead of the Germans who could spread in all of Europe without limitations in the late 1930s, now it’s the Arabs, and it’s decided in the Western European capitals again.

Then Czechs are atheists and from many perspectives, that places them even further apart from Muslims than Christians are from Muslims, if you get this point. And there are other things. It doesn’t mean that people are irrationally hostile in some way. They’re just reasonable. The country actually has had a long and successful tradition of trade with numerous countries in the Muslim world, tons of weapons trade with Syria – Assad’s father etc., Libya, and so on, and so on, but also tends to be among the most unequivocal allies of Israel. After some Cameron OK, we could sell some 15 airplane fighters to Iraq, L-159, recently, which should be now used against Daesh. So things actually work but it’s a consensus that we shouldn’t let too many of these visitors to come in and reshape the country. Things are OK enough when isolated at different continents.

In the Parliament, KDU-CSL – a Czech “CDU” – is the most German-like party, with opinions perhaps compatible with Merkel’s although surely not so much pro-welcoming. It’s the smallest party in the coalition now. TOP-09, once a part of KDU, is the main party of the opposition that has (weaker) tendencies to support the Brussels policies (but surely not as strongly as Brussels would like). The rest of politics is basically in consensus that the mass immigration shouldn’t be allowed. Some 98% of Czechs say no, over 90% say no even to temporary hosting of genuine refugees from war zones, etc. The atmosphere really is different even than in England.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Top Ten Rules in the Quran that Oppress Women

By James Arlandson

Islam in its purest form honors and elevates women, we are often told. But does it?

All too often, textual reality (the Quran) matches up with the historical reality of seventh—century Arabia. Gender inequality and oppression in the Quran reflect the culture of seventh century desert nomads. If Allah and Muhammad improved on this patriarchy, then they did not go far enough for a religion with a claim to universality.

Here are the top ten rules in the Quran that oppress and insult women.

10. A husband has sex with his wife, as a plow goes into a field.

The Quran in Sura (Chapter) 2:223 says:
Your women are your fields, so go into your fields whichever way you like . . . . (MAS Abdel Haleem, The Qur'an, Oxford UP, 2004)

We should make no mistake about this verse. It includes sexual positions. In a footnote to this verse, Haleem says that Muslims in Medina heard from the Jews that 'a child born from a woman approached from behind would have a squint.'

The hadith are the reports of Muhammad's words and actions outside of the Quran. Two reliable hadith collectors and editors are Bukhari (d. 870), Muslim (d. 875). The hadith come only second in importance and sacredness among the vast majority of Muslims around the world. Since the hadith is explicit, the readers are invited to click here and read for themselves, at their own discretion: Muslim nos. 3363—3365. See these parallel hadith here and here.

We should have no doubt that the husband controlled their sex life. If a woman does not want to have sex, then angels curse her.
. . . 'If a man invites his wife to sleep with him and she refuses to come to him, then the angels send their curses on her till morning.' (Bukhari)

Here is a back—up article, and another is here.

9. Husbands are a degree above their wives.

The Quran in Sura 2:228 says:
. . . Wives have the same rights as the husbands have on them in accordance with the generally known principles. Of course, men are a degree above them in status . . . (Sayyid Abul A'La Maududi, The Meaning of the Qur'an, vol. 1, p. 165)

Gender inequality shows up in a theological context. This hadith shows that the majority of the inhabitants of hell are women.
The Prophet said, 'I looked at Paradise and found poor people forming the majority of its inhabitants; and I looked at Hell and saw that the majority of its inhabitants were women.' (Bukhari, emphasis added; see also these parallel traditions here and here)
This parallel hadith explains that the majority of the inhabitants of hell are women because they are ungrateful and harsh towards their husbands. There is no word about the husbands' ingratitude and harshness. See this article for details on women in Islamic hell.

Muhammad was also superstitious (see here and here for the evidence).This hadith says that women are part of an evil omen.
I heard the Prophet saying. 'Evil omen is in three things: The horse, the woman and the house.' (Bukhari)
More detail can be found here. This article also supports this ninth point.

8. A male gets a double share of the inheritance over that of a female.

The Quran in Sura 4:11 says:
The share of the male shall be twice that of a female . . . . (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 311)
For how this religious law works out in early Islam, see hadith here, here and here.

Malik (d. 795) is a founder of a major school of law. He composed a law book that is also considered a collection of reliable hadith: Al—Muwatta of Imam Malik ibn Anas: The First Formation of Islamic Law (rev. trans. Aisha Bewley, Inverness, Scotland: Madina Press, 1989, 2001). Malik writes:
The generally agreed upon way of doing things among us . . . about fixed shares of inheritance (fara'id) of children from the mother or father when one or the other dies is that if they leave male and female children, the male takes the portion of two females.
This Islamic law is regressive. In the US, for example, inheritance is divided equally among all siblings, regardless of the gender. No religious law prohibits this from happening. So American secular law fits into a modern context better, where women have more economic opportunities and freedom. This online booklet has a short explanation on women's inheritance 'rights.' Click on Chapter 15.

More information can be found here and here.

7. A woman's testimony counts half of a man's testimony.

The Quran in Sura 2:282 says:
And let two men from among you bear witness to all such documents [contracts of loans without interest]. But if two men be not available, there should be one man and two women to bear witness so that if one of the women forgets (anything), the other may remind her. (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 205).
The foundational reason for having two women witnesses is that one of the women may 'forget' something. This verse goes to the nature of womankind, and implies that a woman's mind is weak.

This hadith removes any ambiguity about women's abilities in Sura 2:282:
The Prophet said, 'Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?' The women said, 'Yes.' He said, 'This is because of the deficiency of a woman's mind.' (Bukhari, emphasis added)
More information can be found here and here.

6. A wife may remarry her ex—husband if and only if she marries another man, they have sex, and then this second man divorces her.

The Quran in Sura 2:230 says:
And if the husband divorces his wife (for the third time), she shall not remain his lawful wife after this (absolute) divorce, unless she marries another husband and the second husband divorces her. [In that case] there is no harm if they [the first couple] remarry . . . . (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 165)
The finally and absolutely divorced couple is not permitted to remarry each other unless she marries another man, they have sex, and he divorces her. Sura 2:230 engenders a divorce on the road to a possible reconciliation. Why have the intervening step of a second marriage and divorce before the first couple can work out their differences and get back together?

To see this tragedy in real life, go to this question and answer feature at a traditional Muslim fatwa website. Apparently, a Muslim husband pronounced divorce three times, the divorce is final, and now he regrets his decision made in haste and anger. The cleric or scholar says that they are allowed to reconcile only if she follows the Quranic steps of her marrying someone else, consummating that marriage, and then his divorcing her. As for divorce generally,

This article analyzes the ethics behind Quranic divorce procedures and contrasts them with the New Testament. This very short article at a Muslim website shows concern for the divorce rate in Islam. This short page at a Muslim website explains divorce. This short article at a Muslim website also gives an overview on divorce, under the larger section on women.

This news report says that problems emerge in the modern world during the Islamic divorce proceedings. This news report says that Malaysia permits 'text messaging' divorce. At this Muslim website an Islamic scholar answers the question of a Muslim who wrote in about divorce. Here is a fatwa (legal decree) on divorce from a Muslim website.

These links can yield only one conclusion: Islamic divorce favors the man.

More detail can be found here. This article replies to a Muslim polemicist. It analyzes the differences between Christianity and Islam on divorce.

5. Slave—girls are sexual property for their male owners.

The Quran in Sura 4:24 says:
And forbidden to you are wedded wives of other people except those who have fallen in your hands [as prisoners of war] . . . (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 319).
Sayyid Maududi (d. 1979), a highly respected traditional commentator and scholar, says in his comment on the verse that is it lawful for Muslim holy warriors to marry women prisoners of war even when their husbands are still alive. But what happens if the husbands are captured with their wives? Maududi cites a school of law that says Muslims may not marry them, but two other schools say that the marriage between the captive husbands and wives is broken (note 44). But why would a debate over this cruelty emerge in the first place? No marriage should take place between prisoners of war and their captives, married or not. In fact, no sex should take place between women captives and their Muslim overlords.

Islam allows deep immorality with women who are in their most helpless condition. This crime is reprehensible, but Allah wills it nonetheless—the Quran says so. For more information on this Quran—inspired immorality, see this short article. See also Suras 4:3; 23:5—6; 33:50; 70:22—30, all of which permit male slave—owners to have sex with their slave—girls. Suras 23:5—6 and 70:22—230 allow men to have sex with them in the Meccan period, during times of peace before Muhammad initiated his skirmishes and wars in Medina.

The hadith demonstrate that Muslims jihadists actually have sex with the captured women, whether or not they are married. In the following hadith passage, Khumus is one—fifth of the spoils of war.

Ali, Muhammad's cousin and son—in—law, had just finished a relaxing bath. Why?
The Prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus [of the booty] and . . . Ali had taken a bath [after a sexual act with a slave—girl from the Khumus].
What was Muhammad's response to the person who hated Ali for this sexual act?
Do you hate Ali for this? . . . Don't hate him, for he deserves more that that from [the] Khumus. (Bukhari)
This hadith shows that Muhammad was intimate with his slave—girls.

Moreover, jihadists may not practice coitus interruptus with the women they capture, but not for the reason that the reader may expect. While on a military campaign and away from their wives, Muslim jihadists 'received captives from among the Arab captives and we desired women and celibacy became hard on us and we loved to do coitus interruptus.' They asked the Prophet about this, and it is important to note what he did not say. He did not scold them or prohibit any kind of sex whatsoever. Rather, he invoked the murky, quirky doctrine of fate:
It is better for you not to do so [practice coitus interruptus]. There is no person that is destined to exist, but will come to existence, till the Day of Resurrection. (Bukhari; also go here and here)
That is, these enquiring Muslims should stop doing coitus interruptus, but instead go all the way with the enslaved sex objects. Fate controls who should be born.

It is one thing for some soldiers in any army to strike out on their own and rape women. All armies have criminal soldiers who commit this wrong act. But it is quite another to codify rape in a sacred text.

This article quotes the Quran and many hadith passages on sex with prisoners of war. It also analyzes modern Islamic scholars on the topic. They support this practice. In Appendix One, the author answers a Muslim charge that the Old Testament allows this practice. This article provides further details on Muhammad's encouragement to his soldiers to 'just do it.' In addition to the two previous links, more information can be found here and here.

4. A man may be polygamous with up to four wives.

The Quran in Sura 4:3 says:
And if you be apprehensive that you will not be able to do justice to the orphans, you may marry two or three or four women whom you choose. But if you apprehend that you might not be able to do justice to them, then marry only one wife, or marry those who have fallen in your possession. (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 305)
The clause 'marry those who have fallen in your possession' means slave—girls who were captured after a war. Men may 'marry' them because slaves do not incur very much expense, not as much as free women do. This means that the limit on four wives is artificial. Men could have sex with as many slave—girls as they wanted.

Maududi paraphrases the verse: 'If you need more than one [wife] but are afraid that you might not be able to do justice to your wives from among the free people, you may turn to slave girls because in that case you will be burdened with less responsibilities' (note 6) (See Sura 4:24).
However, Muhammad would not allow polygamy for his son—in—law Ali, because an extra wife would hurt Muhammad's first daughter Fatima, by his first wife Khadija. Fatima was married to Ali.
I heard Allah's Apostle who was on the pulpit, saying, 'Banu Hisham bin Al—Mughira have requested me to allow them to marry their daughter to Ali bin Abu Talib, but I don't give permission, and will not give permission unless 'Ali bin Abi Talib divorces my daughter in order to marry their daughter, because Fatima is a part of my body, and I hate what she hates to see, and what hurts her, hurts me.' (Bukhari)

Muhammad's special marriage privileges

Moreover, it seems that Allah gave Muhammad special permission to marry as many women as he desired or take them as slaves or concubines, just as in the pre—Islamic days of ignorance.

The Quran in Sura 33:50, a lengthy verse, grants Muhammad wide latitude in his marriages:
O Prophet, We have made lawful to you those of your wives, whose dowers you have paid, and those women who come into your possession out of the slave—girls granted by Allah, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and aunts, and of your maternal uncles and aunts, who have migrated with you, and the believing woman who gives herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet may desire her. This privilege is for you only, not for the other believers . . . . (Maududi vol. 4, p. 111, emphasis added).
This verse says that besides those women whose dowery Muhammad paid, he may marry slave—girls—that is, he may have sex with them (see this article and this one for more information on this Quran—inspired immorality). Maududi references three slave—girls taken during raids, and Mary the Copt, a gift from an Egyptian ruler. Muhammad had sex with her, and there does not seem to be a political need for this. Second, Muhammad may marry his first cousins, and Maududi cites a case in which this happened. Third, if a believing woman offers herself to Muhammad, and he desires her, then he may marry her (Maududi vol. 4, note 88).

This hadith shows that Muhammad was intimate with his slave—girls.

But the capstone of these 'special' marriages occurs when Muhammad also marries the ex—wife (Zainab) of his adopted son (Zaid). His son—in—law divorced her with the Prophet standing in the background. In fact, early Islamic sources say that Muhammad catches a glimpse of his daughter—in—law in a state of undress, so he desired her. Once the divorce is final, Allah conveniently reveals to him that this marriage between father—in—law and daughter—in—law is legal and moral in Sura 33:36—44.

This hadith says that Muhammad used to visit nine (or eleven) wives in one night. See the parallel hadith here, here, and here. This article explains why Christians do not accept polygamy. This page in an online index explains polygamy. For a more thorough analysis of polygamy in the Quran, go to this online booklet and click on Chapter 12.

See this article on the number of wives and human sexual property Muhammad allowed himself. Here is yet another article. At the end, it links to more articles on the marriage and divorce of Zainab and Muhammad.

3. A husband may simply get rid of one of his undesirable wives.

The Quran in Sura 4:129 says:
It is not within your power to be perfectly equitable in your treatment with all your wives, even if you wish to be so; therefore, [in order to satisfy the dictates of Divine Law] do not lean towards one wife so as to leave the other in a state of suspense. (Maududi, vol. 1, p. 381)
Maududi provides an interpretation of the verse (vol. 1, pp. 383—84, note 161). He writes:
Allah made it clear that the husband cannot literally keep equality between two or more wives because they themselves cannot be equal in all respects. It is too much to demand from a husband that he should mete out equal treatment to a beautiful wife and to an ugly wife, to a young wife and to an old wife, to a healthy wife and to an invalid wife, and to a good natured wife and to an ill—natured wife. These and like things naturally make a husband more inclined towards one wife than towards the other.
This means that wives are the source of a man's inability to treat all of them equally. One is beautiful, while another is ugly. How can Allah demand from a husband super—human strength under changing circumstances in his wives?

Maududi continues:
In such cases, the Islamic law does not demand equal treatment between them in affection and love. What it does demand is that a wife should not be neglected as to be practically reduced to the position of the woman who has no husband at all. If the husband does not divorce her for any reason or at her own request, she should at least be treated as a wife. It is true that under such circumstances the husband is naturally inclined towards a favorite wife, but he should not, so to say, keep the other in such a state of suspense as if she were not his wife.
Maududi says here that the wife should not be suspended between marriage and divorce. If the husband stays with the no—longer desirable wife, then he should treat her fairly and provide for her.

More detail can be found here. This article (see 'the unpleasant truth behind divorce in Sura 4:130') demonstrates that Muhammad wanted to divorce one of his wives because she was overweight and old. Instead of a divorce, she gave up her turn'in the 'rotation'with the Prophet, who gladly agreed with her proposal. See these three hadith here, here and here

2. Husbands may hit their wives even if the husbands merely fear highhandedness in their wives (quite apart from whether they actually are highhanded).

The Quran in Sura 4:34 says:
4:34 . . . If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great. (Haleem, emphasis added)
The hadith says that Muslim women in the time of Muhammad were suffering from domestic violence in the context of confusing marriage laws:
Rifa'a divorced his wife whereupon 'AbdurRahman bin Az—Zubair Al—Qurazi married her. 'Aisha said that the lady (came), wearing a green veil (and complained to her (Aisha) of her husband and showed her a green spot on her skin caused by beating). It was the habit of ladies to support each other, so when Allah's Apostle came, 'Aisha said, 'I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!' (Bukhari, emphasis added)
This hadith shows Muhammad hitting his girl—bride, Aisha (see rule no. 1, below), daughter of Abu Bakr, his right—hand Companion:
'He [Muhammad] struck me [Aisha] on the chest which caused me pain.' (Muslim no. 2127)
See this article for fuller details on wife—beating. It clarifies many translations of the verse. At the end, it has many links to modern interpretations of Sura 4:34 and to arguments for wife—beating today. This article is a shorter version. This article, though long, offers a clear analysis of wife—beating, examining the hadith and other early source documents, as well as refuting modern Muslim polemics.

This mid—length article answers a Muslim defense. This article is a superb analysis of the subject, giving various translations of Sura 4:34. It cites the hadith and classical commentaries and refutes modern defenses. Finally, this article is thorough in examining the Quran and hadith and Muslim polemics.

1. Mature men are allowed to marry prepubescent girls.

The Quran in Sura 65:1, 4 says:
65:1 O Prophet, when you [and the believers] divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed waiting—period and count the waiting—period accurately . . . 4 And if you are in doubt about those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, (you should know that) their waiting period is three months, and the same applies to those who have not menstruated as yet. As for pregnant women, their period ends when they have delivered their burden. (Maududi, vol. 5, pp. 599 and 617, emphasis added)
Maududi correctly interprets the plain meaning of verse 4, which appears in the context of divorce:
Therefore, making mention of the waiting—period for girls who have not yet menstruated, clearly proves that it is not only permissible to give away the girl at this age but it is permissible for the husband to consummate marriage with her. Now, obviously no Muslim has the right to forbid a thing which the Qur'an has held as permissible. (Maududi, vol. 5, p. 620, note 13, emphasis added)
Divorcing prepubescent girls implies marriage to them. So the fathers of prepubescent girls may give them away, and their new husbands may consummate their marriage with them. If Islam ever spread around the world, no one should be surprised if Quran—believing Muslims lowered the marriage age of girls to nine years old.

This is precisely what happened in Iran after the religious revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini. A girl's marriage age was lowered to nine years.

Why should this surprise us? After all, Muhammad was betrothed to Aisha when she was six, and he consummated their union when she was only nine.

The hadith says:
. . . [T]hen he [Muhammad] wrote the marriage (wedding) contract with Aishah when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed [sic, consummated] that marriage when she was nine years old. (Bukhari ; since this is a serious issue, see the parallel hadith here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here)
This hadith demonstrates that Muhammad pursued Aisha when she was a little girl.
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; see this hadith that shows Muhammad's dream life in regards to his pursuit of little Aisha, and this one and this one)
This hadith recounts the fifty—plus—year—old Muhammad's and the nine—year—old Aisha's first sexual encounter. She was playing on her swing set with her girlfriends when she got the call.
. . . [M]y mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, 'Best wishes and Allah's Blessing and a good luck.' Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah's Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Bukhari; see a parallel hadith here)
This hadith describes Muhammad counseling a Muslim man to marry a young virgin for the extra thrill it gives him to fondle her, and she him.
When I got married, Allah's Apostle said to me, 'What type of lady have you married?' I replied, 'I have married a matron.' He said, 'Why, don't you have a liking for the virgins and for fondling them?' Jabir also said: Allah's Apostle said, 'Why didn't you marry a young girl so that you might play with her and she with you?' (Bukhari) See parallel hadith here and here.
This hadith describes Muhammad's and Aisha's ill—timed sexual encounters:

Narrated 'Aisha:
The Prophet and I used to take a bath from a single pot while we were Junub. During the menses, he used to order me to put on an Izar (dress worn below the waist) and used to fondle me. While in Itikaf, he used to bring his head near me and I would wash it while I used to be in my periods (menses). (Bukhari)
For more evidence on this most outlandish of Muhammad's domestic acts even for seventh—century Arabia, readers should refer to this article. This article responds to Muslim defenses of this indefensible Quranic permission. This summary of a news reports reveals Pakistan lowering the marriage age to twelve for a girl.


The nightmare must end for women in Islamic countries.

But the political and legal hierarchies in the Islamic world do not seem ready to reform on women's rights. Here is a 1998 interview with Shirin Ebadi, one of the first female judges in Iran. She correctly sees abuses in Iranian law, which favors men. However, what has been done about these abuses?

Zohreh Arshadi 'was a practising lawyer in Iran prior to her forced exile to Europe. She is currently an advocate in France and is active in human rights and especially of the rights of women. She has been especially active in defence of the rights of women in Iran.' She reports on the inequities in Iranian law as it pertains to women:
The Islamic punishments have encouraged a culture of violence against women, especially within the family and has spilled into violence against children. This has been commented upon by many within the country . . . The fact that men receive a lighter punishment if they commit a violence against women undoubtedly encourages such violence. We saw how women could be killed with impunity during alleged adultery. Stoning to death for adultery, although technically admissible for both sexes, has also been carried out mainly against women.
Though these two examples come from Iran, they could multiply throughout the Islamic world. However, the legal hierarchies understand the cost of reform: abandoning many verses in the Quran and many passages in the hadith, and this they cannot do.

A sign of hope? The Iraqi Constitution, so far, says that 25% of the seats in the Parliament are specified for women. So maybe reform can be strongly encouraged in a fledgling democracy.

But if Islamic nations, especially those who follow sharia (Islamic law) closely, refuse to reform, then the second best strategy must be played out. Islam must never be allowed to impose its sharia system of 'justice' anywhere in the West and around the world. No sharia courts should be permitted outside of the Islamic world. The Quran—the ultimate source of sharia—oppresses women and people generally.

The Islamic holy book is too patriarchal and culture—bound to be relevant to the new millennium.

James M. Arlandson may be reached at

Supplemental Material

Readers may go to these three sites for other translations of the Quran: this one has multiple translations; this one has three; and this conservative translation is subsidized by the Saudi royal family.

Here is the website for the online hadith.

A good online resource for the historical context of a sura is here, where Maududi provides excellent background material.

If readers would like to see many links to women's issues, they should go to this article and scroll down to the end. It has modern views in the Islamic world on wife—beating. This webpage has a number of links to women's issues, as well. This is a superb overview of the Quran and hadith on women's inferior status in Islam. This online booklet explores the differing ideas in Islam and Christianity on the place of women.

This short article reviews Jesus' attitude towards women. This short chapter has an excellent overview on the differences between Islam and Christianity and women's role in each.
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