News from the small Scandinavian country Finland (yet well known for NOKIA and Mika Hakkinen). It used to be a hidden tolerant island and cultural conflicts sounded like echoes from overseas.
The Lebanese born Imam Chehab Khadr of Helsinki Muslim community
defended in an Aamulehti newspaper interview the notion that girls as young as nine years old could be wed into marriage with parental consent and that what is against the law some countries is permissible in others.
It followed on outcry in the country with unbelievable amount of feedback, blogger comments and phone calls what made him change his position the next day.
Nobody could be fooled; words are cheap and even cheaper by the dozen.
The damage is done and once again the image of Islam was badly tarnished in a place which is known to be very welcoming and tolerant. They have for centuries a small Muslim community originating from the east with no problems whatsoever with human rights or marrying little girls. Today many Muslim immigrants are causing trouble and controversy, mostly through the growing rape rate in bigger cities (mostly by Somalis) and small time criminality like snatching ladies handbags in broad daylight. People do not walk in the streets at night time anymore!
My first reaction was that this man is mega stupid! But he is a regular guest at state banquets, and TV talk shows. This middle aged man probably close to his fifties has been living large part of his life in a Western country with an excellent human and especially women rights record. Finland was the 1st country in Europe to grant women voting rights and women make up almost half of the parliamentarians and they have a woman president in her second term already. I would have wished at least a little more openness of mind and some critical thinking.
From a man in his position one would expect more common sense. How can he advocate Stone Age practices marrying little girls when there are lots and lots of unmarried young women waiting to get married?
A grown up man wishing to marry a six or even a nine year old girl is a man with sick fantasy, a pervert and a pedophile, there is no way around it. This Imam went so far as saying that in Western societies youngsters at that age are involved in sexual acts but in Islam he is accepting it in a marriage. Not to mention that elsewhere hardly any 6 yr. or 9 yr. old girl is sexually active, so he was simply lying.
There is a HUGE difference here: the first one is not acceptable although it happens occasionally (mostly rape by someone close) – the latter one is sanctioned by higher authorities, and what is worse: sanctioned by God itself?!
I went to find facts from Wikipedia.
What I found very shocking that Lebanon which is trying to appear the most modern and advanced Middle Eastern Muslim country has the worst record of women rights! Nine year old girls are children and sexual acts with them is pedophilia, married or not. It makes me sick, this is not Islam.
From the list of some countries with marriageable ages for male/female I pick up Lebanon, the former home country of this Imam:
Lebanon: 18 for males and 17 for females; scope for judicial discretion on basis of physical maturity and wali’s permission from 17 for males and 9 for females; real puberty or 15/9 with judicial permission for Shi’a; 18/17 or 16/15 with judicial permission for Druze.
Nine years minimum age for little-girl-wives and this country is bragging to be a model to the Muslim Middle Easterners. HOW can a 10-year old be a mother to an infant, or perhaps this possibility is not taken into consideration in those male chauvinistic minds?
In a few days I will write, Inshallah, about the Prophept’s young wife Aisha. The Hadith’s suggest, that she was married to him at the age 6 yrs. By Hadith’s of which I am very critical about. They were collected as late 250-300 years after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.H.). From 600 000 stories f.e. Bukhari selected 7,397 based on their truthfulness.
Truthfulness? How can a lengthy recitation transmitted by word of mouth over half a dozen generations be truthful in every single word? Human mind is not a computer, it can err with the best of intentions.
Prophet Mohammad discouraged in his lifetime writing down these stories in fear they would be confused with the Quran itself. Well, yes, it looks like it happened after all.
There are several surviving written document from the lifetime of the Prophet from which we can reconstruct the events and we find that Aisha was in her late teens, probably early twenties when marrying as it happened in Medina after he Hijjra (emigration).
Especially the shia-Muslims (most Iranians, half of the Iraqis, Persian Golf Emirates, part of Saudi Arabia, and Southern Lebanon) still hold on to this practice and what disturbs me most is that the media and especially the internet is full of hate speech regarding this matter and Islam is regularly called a “Pedophile Religion”. Opponents are using a very powerful image, and it is working.
One of my favorite quotes is from the late Dr. Lila Fahlman, founder of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW): “Man-written Hadith’s have ruined have ruined Islam. “
I am trying my very best to shake up and wake up the Muslims themselves into critical thinking ( it is our duty trying to change things we think are wrong) and at the same time trying to build bridges.
There is no other way.