Sexual Perversion in Patriarchy
by Mirna Yacob
Sheikh Mohammad Al- Arefe, a recent visitor to Britain, once gave a fatwa on his television show declaring that young girls should not dress immodestly in front of their fathers.
In fact, they should not be alone in their father’s company, citing the fact that fathers are men too, with sexual drives and needs, which places them as victims in the realm of their daughters’ beauty. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HUdLtIJ4YnA
Um Sara mentioned that someone is sexually harassing her daughter and there's no doubt that this is a type of sexual perversion, we seek refuge in God, and it's a type of obscenity. But the girl is also obliged not to wear scandalous cllothes in front of their dads. Oh, people, some girls are youthful and have beautiful figures, and decide to wear tight clothing, or tight trousers, and short tops and wear them in front of their fathers. She needs to realise that her father is also a youth! He may feel sexually attracted to his daughter, we seek refuge in God, and when he shakes her hand or kisses her or hugs her, the devil might push him to act upon his desires. So I urge this girl and other girls, if they are young, not to wear bad clothes in front of her father, or reveal her chest or anything like that, just because he's her father, fact is that father is still a man. So she should not wear tight clothes. The other issue is, she should not be alone with her father. They should not sit alone in a room. She must make sure her mother is present or her siblings are present, until God makes things easier for her and she gets married.
Al Arefe has articulated an apologia for incestuous paedophilia, and victim blamed a girl as being culpable for being raped by her father. He has pronounced that there are many men who are weak when it comes to the flesh of their own daughters or granddaughters. The ‘reasoning’ of Al Arefe is that men are not permitted physical proximity to any females other than their wives, and so these men are victims of either intentional or unintentional seduction by their daughters.
Sheikh Abdulla Daoud, another prominent Islamic cleric, recently declared a fatwa urging mothers to veil the faces of their newborn girls to protect them from sexual molestation. He was later chastised for his claims by the Saudi authorities for making such denigrating comments in the name of Islam. As denigrating as they may be, they reveal a deep seated perversion that cannot be tamed by Islamic chastity. What distinguishes these cases from the phenomenon of Catholic paedophile priests is that in Islamic dogma, these men are seen as the victims. A girl is a sexual creature. Hence it is her responsibility to spare men around her the agony of desire for if she does not, she will ultimately be responsible for her own molestation. The daughter is a sexual temptress in front of her father. The rapist is the victim of her wiles.
Sheikh Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a renowned Islamic scholar and television preacher in Saudi Arabia killed his 5 year old daughter earlier this year after a series of systematic torture and rape. He claims his fear that she had lost her virginity combined with her inability to recite full verses from the Quran drove him to his brutal actions. The Saudi authorities released him with a $50,000 fine.
To be clear, I am not claiming that Islam is the only patriarchy that inflicts its flock with these perversions, however, coming from an Islamic background I can only speak of what I know.
Nor am I saying that it does not exist in other religions.
However, what these religions do have in common is the patriarchal structure of their dogma. It is also wrong to assume that patriarchy does not exist outside religion.
The patriarchal father figure is not a symptom of religion, rather, he is the precursor.
In 2008, we all heard of Josef Fritzl, the man who imprisoned his daughter in a dungeon beneath his home for 24 years and fathered her seven children. He later revealed that he was driven to imprisoning her because she was a rebellious teenager and he feared she’d become sexually active. As the patriarchal father figure, he felt obliged to protect her from the dangerous world and her growing independence.
Her mother, living in the residence above the dungeon, had no idea what was happening beneath her feet. Her own subjugation did not allow her to question him as he was building the many extensions to the home.
One can only imagine the patriarchal beast that was Fritzl. Reports paint a portrait of a strict man, set in his ways, who did not think twice about using corporal punishment. A brutal, domineering father who drove his wife and his children to total submission.
Male homosexuality in Islam is forbidden explicitly in the Quran and Hadeeth whereas lesbianism has not had such mention. Indeed, in patriarchal societies men, too, are victims. In religious contexts, sex is a method of reproduction and the notions of love and intimacy are irrelevant. Sex is a tool for overpowering women.
If a Muslim woman rejects the sexual advances of her husband ‘the angels curse her until dawn’ (narrated by Abu Huraira, Sahih Muslim). A Muslim man is permitted to beat his wife if she refuses to sleep with him. When sex is seen in such aggressive terms, it is easy to understand why male homosexual behaviour is a threat to a patriarchal structure. A gay man jeopardises the iron structures that have been cultivated by patriarchy by allowing himself to be overpowered by a tool used strictly to tame the female: sex. Hence why lesbianism, though deemed illegal in Islam, has not been the subject of systemised witch hunts and condemnations.
It is of no surprise that very few studies that show the link between personality disorders in patriarchal societies and sexual perversions come to light.
To claim a system is a disease makes all of those living under it sick people.
Patriarchal families are strong believers in keeping household matters private. It is better to quietly suffer than bring shame upon the family. And often the victims believe that the repercussions of speaking out are just not worth the trouble.
However, the great silence that the structure of religious patriarchy rests on is gradually being broken.
Voices are trickling out every day and patriarchy’s God-given right to sexual perversion is finally being questioned. Though Islamic patriarchy acknowledges these perverted acts, they assert that the only way to tackle it is by hiding the female. Today they want newborn girls to veil their faces and young girls to cover up in the presence of their fathers.
It seems that a girl’s mere existence is a threat to patriarchy. And that in this universe of divine patriarchy, a female is defined by her eternal guilt, a shameful criminal responsible for her own violation and victimhood.
Exposing and opposing the injustice of this guilt and blame will bring down the house of Islamic patriarchy. The voice of a woman in the face of the male proxies of a misogynistic god is the most powerful sound there can be.