About Mohammed III: Of Pork, Pictures, And Pedophilia

February 8, 2021 Category: Religion

No Ham? 

Debunking myths about Mohammed of Mecca (MoM) often involves Dispelling misconceptions about the Sunna.  Here, let’s look at a couple taboos that are based on specious assertions; then at an item that is ACTUALLY ethically problematic, yet is routinely elided.  This juxtaposition will illustrate a gross contortion of prioritization.  For while decrying things that are ethically copacetic, myrmidons are apt to blithely gloss over–nay, deliberately obfuscate–things that any level-headed person would see as opprobrious.

Let’s start with the notion of “halal” vs. “haraam” with respect to food (that is: regarding dietary restrictions).  We might use as our point of departure a maxim on which all reasonable people concur: All else being equal, it is preferable to eat “halal” meat (insofar as it is ostensibly organic) in lieu of meat that comes from a factory (and thus off of any assembly line), often under dubious conditions–suffused, as it often is, with preservatives and other chemicals.  In this sense, “halal” meat is more natural, and is therefore much healthier than meat that is “processed”.

Moreover, “halal” meat comes from animals that were treated well during life, and then slaughtered ethically (that is: quickly).

This cautionary measure stems from an ancient protocol that–for millennia–made perfect sense: Eat meat only from animals that have very recently been killed; and killed in a sudden manner (e.g. by having their throat slit); as the meat from any other dead animal is suspect.  For most of human history, already-dead animals that one happened upon may have become putrified (that is: somehow despoiled in the intervening time.)

Thus: There are two very good reasons to opt for “halal” meat over much of the meat that is available in the present day.

That said, the notion of “halal” also involves spurious claim; and it is the dogmatic (read: superstitious) aspects of the practice to which we now turn.  The practice of avoiding certain kinds of meat as spiritually impure goes back to the 6th century B.C., with “The Golden Verses” by the Ionian philosopher, Pythagoras of Samos–wherein he stated: “You should abstain from the meats that have been forbidden in the purification and deliverance of the soul.  Make a judicious distinction between them, and thoroughly examine all things.”  Of course, this might simply be read as: Careful what you eat.

So far as the Abrahamic tradition went, it was sheer practicality that prompted the prohibition against eating swine.  It comes as no surprise, then, that it turns up in Islam’s holy book as well (2:173, 5:3, 6:145, and 16:115).  Though pigs are actually some of the most sanitary–and most intelligent–animals in the world (after elephants, dolphins, and primates), in many places around the world, they were considered foul.  This concern–valid in ancient times–accounts for the “kashrut” [dietary prohibitions] found in Judaic “halakha”.  (In Islam, “halal” is primarily a reiteration of “kosher” protocols.)

Why?  One possible motive was that Hebrews associated pork with the derided Philistines, for whom it was an integral part of the diet.  There may well have been an incentive to create a contradistinction between the impure pagans and the god-fearing Hebrews.

But more pressingly: Pigs were known to have sometimes carried disease; and–here’s the key–carried it in ways that were not readily apparent. {1}  Hence the Judaic exhortation to avoid that particular kind of meat altogether. {2}  Shell-fish were avoided for the same reason: when contaminated, it was difficult to identify.  The rationalization for the prohibition, then, was quite simple: “People have been getting sick–and even dying–when they eat this animal; therefore god must not want us to eat this animal.”

While such a concern made a bit of sense in ancient times; it is now obsolete.  In modern times, one is much more likely to get food poisoning (e.g. salmonella) from fish or chicken than from ham.  Meanwhile, E. coli comes primarily from beef.

Like “kosher” foods in Judaic dogma, this dietary proscription is a relic from a bygone era–a time of rampant ignorance and superstition–when people were dealing with consumption issues that no longer attain. {31}

The NEW fiction that pork is (inherently) “bad for you” currently proliferates in both Beth Israel and Dar al-Islam amongst the more dogmatic supplicants.  This is unsurprising, as it is an up-to-date way of rationalizing a long-standing–even if completely outmoded–prohibition.  This myth persists even amongst (otherwise) more scientifically-literate Muslims. {3}

But IS pork unhealthy?  No.  If the concern is with low-density lipids, then it has nothing to do with pork per se.  Pork boasts nutrient value that makes it eminently worth eating.  Notably, it has a much higher myoglobin content than chicken; AND–of all meats–it is the best source of thiamin.  It also contains high amounts of vitamins B6 and B12.

“But bacon is horrible for you,” comes a common reply.  Indeed, a cut of ANY meat comprised predominantly of fat, and ANYTHING that has been fried in oil (read: infused with saturated fat) is unhealthy.  This is an indictment against the consumption of fatty tissue and greasy food (low-density lipids), not of pork per se.  In this respect, meat from swine is just as (un-)nutritious as just about any other meat.  Actually, after the fat has been trimmed, swine meat is LEANER than the meat of virtually any other domesticated animal.

Consequently, the fact that bacon happens to be from this particular animal (rather than any other) is beside the point.  Low-density lipids are low-density lipids.  The danger of esterified fatty acids exists independently of which animal’s muscle tissue one is using as a source of protein.

If cholesterol and saturated fat were the preeminent concern, then marbled sirloin steaks and greasy cheeseburgers would be the gravest sin.  Yet–unlike the Vedic deities–the Abrahamic deity seems to have been decidedly unconcerned with beef.  (Lean pork actually has more mono-un-saturated fat than most other meats–including lean beef.)

A more universal maxim would have made more sense: Ensure the meat you eat is fresh and untainted.  This would have come in extra handy for MoM himself, who–ironically enough–died from eating tainted mutton (as we saw in part 2 of this series).

The Koran’s protagonist may have claimed to have been all-powerful; but he was certainly not a very good nutritionist.  Couple this with the imperative of “sawm” during Ramadan (days of dehydration and nutrient deprivation, book-ended by bouts of gluttony before sunrise and after sunset), and one sees that health was the furthest thing from concern when the Sunnah was being established. {4}

When Filipinos snack on crispy pata with sisig rice, are they contravening divine law?  How about when Chinese snack on tue-huan?  How about when the Siamese snack on tom-sap krueng-nai moo or kuay-jub?  It strains even the most bounding credulity to suppose that one’s Taiwanese grandmother is somehow defying the Creator of the Universe each time she snacks on her lu-lo-fun.

To reiterate: In bygone eras, eating the meat of an animal that had not been properly killed (its neck recently slit) posed significant risks; as the carcass of an already-dead may have been festering in the hot sun for who-knows-how-long; and consequently spoiled.  Even worse, it may have become contaminated / infected.  Hence the (perfectly reasonable) admonition to refrain from eating an animal that had died in a unknown / suspicious manner; or from a carcass that other animals had already started eating (as specified in Koran 5:3).  Thus carrion were also off-limits, as scavengers are prime transmitters of disease.

Regardless, hunters the world over–from the North American plains to the African Serengeti to the Eurasian Steppes–had been doing fine for tens of thousands of years without any disclaimers about carnivorous diets; and the Creator of the Universe never thought to notify THEM of the mandate-in-question.  If it were such a timeless imperative, such a super-being would surely have mentioned it at some point, somewhere, to someone other than a few tribes in the Middle East. {5}

In spite of all this, when one asks even the most liberal Muslim if he eats pork, one is often met with a scoffing, “NO”…as if one had just asked him if he admired pederasts.  The irony is that there is nothing wrong with eating pork, and much wrong with glorifying a pedophile–a point any Muslim should bear in mind the next time he is tempted to extol Islam’s “Prophet” whilst decrying ham sandwiches.

Contrast the doctrinaire Muslim approach to pork with Hindus (at least, those who are not vegan for reasons having to do with “ahimsa”).  When opting for meat, the latter tend to refrain from eating beef; as cows are considered sacred in the Vedic tradition.  However, rarely do such Hindus insist that EVERYONE ELSE is obligated to observe this self-imposed restriction.  Moreover, they almost never harbor resentment when non-Hindus opt for a hamburger.  (“To each his own” is their approach.)  Why the un-ruffled feathers?  Most Hindus understand that one person’s religious beliefs mustn’t impose restrictions on anyone else.

While keeping in mind that, while ham / pork may not be the ideal food, there are far more pressing matters to attend to with regard to both nutrition and animal rights–NEITHER of which the Sunnah addresses (beyond the “halal” practice of killing game quickly).

We are defined not only by what we admire, but also by what we find objectionable.  When a Muslim finds himself scorning people for eating pork-chops, he might want to consider the 8-year-old Aisha bint Abu Bakr being deflowered by a middle-aged man; then reassess his hierarchy of revulsion.

No Graven Images?

Now let’s consider the contrived outrage about pictorial representations of the Final Abrahamic messenger; and juxtapose it to the reverence we see accorded someone who actively encouraged slavery–including the sexual enslavement of pre-pubescent girls.

Fundamentalist Muslims are obsessed with blasphemy when it comes to the notion of “sabb”–a touchpoint that leads to nothing but mass neuroticism.  But the temper tantrums thrown over pictorial representations of MoM are not only belligerent; they are incoherent.  For the original rational for abstaining from such imagery is that it may lead to idolatry (hence the stricture against graven images in the Mosaic decalogue).

Yet this prohibition is not held for Noah or Abraham or Ishmael or Joseph or Moses or David or Solomon or Jesus.  The Koran is clear that we should make no distinction between MoM and the other Abrahamic prophets (2:136/285 and 3:84).  So what gives?

The rational is that if an image is made, it would be tantamount to “shirk” (idolatry).  Presumably, though, this would apply to EVERY prophet.  If Muslims are not throwing fits when Christians portray Jesus of Nazareth, then it is inconsistent for them to have qualms with depictions of MoM–who is, after all, a prophet. {9}  Muslims typically have no qualms with pictorial representations of ANY OTHER Abrahamic prophet.  Why, then, this singular exception?

Simply drawing a picture of a person is not the same as rendering that person an idol.  After all, Muslims have no problem with pictures of, well, PEOPLE IN GENERAL.  Effigies of Mao Tse Tung still abound in China; and of Kim Il Sung in North Korea; and of [insert celebrity heart-throb] on the bedroom walls of countless teens across the globe.  NONE of this is seen as a gateway to idolatry, thereby nullifying this concern.

Ironically, this concern only makes sense insofar as MoM is deified.  In other words, the stricture is a byproduct of the concerns germane to deification–the very thing it is ostensibly instituted to avoid.  The rationalization for this spurious grievance, then, involves a rhetorical mobius strip.

Herein lies a comic irony.  If idolatry is really the concern being addressed, then any picture that seems to MOCK the Last Messenger should be exempt from the rule (as it is clearly not going to foster idolatry).  In other words, if this were taken to its logical conclusion, depictions that put MoM in an unflattering light should be the only kind that are PERMITTED; and only depictions that exalt him should be forbidden; as only the latter are amenable to idolization.

One does not need visual portrayals to engage in idolatry (though, of course, PICTORIAL depiction is the most common form of idolatry).  Idolatry is a MENTALITY.  It can take the form of the written / verbal as well as of the corporeal…but it does not REQUIRE physical objects to exist.

More to the point, this fatuous taboo is based on the (absurd) assumption that if a depiction is made of X, then people will automatically be inclined to idolize X.  When is the last time you saw a picture of a person that–by dint of having seen the picture–motivated you to worship that person?  Short of a tween developing an innocent crush on a cute celebrity, this is usually not an issue.  MoM was not a heart-throb, so such a development should not be a concern.

When we make a documentary film about, say, the Third Reich, showing footage of Adolph Hitler does not cajole sane people into glorifying him.  Why not?  If a person does not want to render X into an idol, seeing a visual depiction of X is hardly going to change his mind.  As it happens, neither Muslims nor non-Muslims are interested in making MoM into an idol.

In any case, the Kaaba proves that a depiction is not necessary for idolatry.  (That is to say, even while banning pictures, the hundreds of millions of Muslims engage in idolatry ANYWAY.)  Indeed, idolatry with non-pictorial objects is commonplace throughout the world.  We see it in Judaism (the Wailing Wall; i.e. a landmark) and in Christianity (the crucifix, i.e. a talisman).  Since time immemorial, cults have worshipped rocks and trees and miscellaneous other non-pictorial objects.  Many people in America today worship the U.S. Constitution, others the American flag, others the logo of their favorite sports team.  None of these involve a graven image or an effigy.  Idolatry requires pictorial representations the way eating food requires a fork.

Preventing the depiction of a person in order to prevent idolatry is like banning calligraphy in order to prevent people from reading (or banning straws so that people won’t drink, or banning queen-size beds so that people won’t have sex).  Banning pictures of MoM, then, is a boneheaded effort to solve a problem that does not exist.  Meanwhile, the most deluded segments of the Ummah will denounce pictures of MoM in one breath while bowing to the Kaaba in the next.

Herein lay another irony. Overt idolatry is an integral part of Islam–most blatantly, with regard to the treatment of the cubic shrine in Mecca.  Meanwhile, the outrageous exaltation of MoM, if not actual deification, is certainly bordering on it.  Alas, in the usual religious taxonomy, idolatry is only considered “idolatry” if it is a kind not sanctioned by the powers that be (just as superstition is only deemed to be “superstition” if it isn’t one of OUR superstition).

This stricture also doesn’t make any sense HISTORICALLY.  During the Middle Ages, Muslim pictorial art was not uncommon.  This included the walls of Kaaba itself.  It is well known that gazelles were depicted in the Meccan cube for most of its existence (and, for all we known, are still there).

Illustrations of MoM have not always been forbidden.  Most famously, Rashid ad-Din Tabib of Hamadan composed the “Jami al-Tawarikh” in the late 13th century, a chronicle in which there were several illustrations of MoM.  There is a picture of the angel, Gabriel presenting a city to MoM in the Sarai albums of Tabriz from the 14th century.  And in the 15th century, Al-Biruni’s texts included depictions of MoM during the “Farewell Pilgrimage”.

In Islamic paraphernalia EVEN TODAY, MoM is sometimes depicted as a (faceless) flaming aureole, or a silhouetted figure equipped with a halo.  This is a long tradition–going back to the “Siyer-i Nebi” by Mustafa ibn Yusuf of Erzurum (composed in the 1380’s).

Nowhere in the Koran is it stated that images of MoM are forbidden.  Be that as it may, there are a few ahadith that seem to prohibit Muslims from making pictorial representations of ANY people (or animals)–most notably: Bukhari’s Hadith (4/54/447-450) and Muslim’s Hadith (vol. 3, no. 5268-5271).

In addition to–and independently of–the contorted logic involved here, there is always recourse to 33:61–pronouncing that anyone who “insults” the religion should be seized and slain.  So any given party’s discomfiture can be used as warrant for reprisal. {8} Of course, “offense” is only taken, not given; so this makes no sense.

Is visual depiction inherently derogatory; and to be taken as some sort of desecration?  Muslims don’t seem to really believe this either.  The Abrahamic deity HIMSELF is regularly portrayed in cartoons throughout the world; and nary a peep is elicited from even the most temperamental quarters of Dar al-Islam. {7}  Why not?  Would this desecration not be a graver transgression than a visual depiction of one of his prophets?

To review: The contention is–purportedly–that permitting visual depictions of MoM would encourage idolatry.  The inconsistent logic here is revealed in that the code implicitly allows for depictions of ALL THE OTHER Abrahamic prophets.  If doing so doesn’t engender idolatry with THEM (each of which is revered in Islam), then–it would seem–there would be no problem with the “last” prophet either.  (The Koran even tells us that we should treat all prophets equally.)

So why all the fuss over pictures of the prophet of Islam?  Nobody can say for sure.  Regardless of any proscription that Muslims might opt to impose upon THEMSELVES (in the name of piety), the matter has nothing to do with what anyone else opts to do. Presumably, that’s what the first verse in Surah 109 means: To each his own creed.

Moreover, in civil society, we recognize the crucial role that even the most biting satirical cartoons play in effecting participatory democracy–as demonstrated by such iconic artists as Patrick Oliphant and Herbert Lawrence Block.  We have also learned that closed societies, in forbidding such modes of expression, are invariably dysfunctional societies–suffering from intellectual bankruptcy. (I explore this topic at length in my essay: “In Defense Of Satire”.)

The prohibition of visual depictions of MoM is anathema to reasonable Muslims.  The Progressively-inclined denizens of Dar al-Islam eschew such archaic strictures because they recognize them to be inimical to a free society.

It bears worth repeating: We are defined not only by what we admire, but also by what we find objectionable.  When a Muslim finds himself scorning people for drawing a picture of the Seal of the Prophets, he might want to consider the 8-year-old Aisha bint Abu Bakr being deflowered by a middle-aged man; then reassess his hierarchy of revulsion.

Eliding Malefaction

Mohammed married the daughter of Abu Bakr, Aisha when she was 6; and consummated the marriage within the next 2 years.  This is attested in the most vaunted Hadith: that of Bukhari (5/58/234-236, 7/62/64-65, and 7/62/88; alt. no. 3896, no. 5133-34, no. 5158, and no. 6130).  The timing of this deed may have actually been worse; as Aisha was said to have been 18 years old when MoM died.  He died in early June of 632, which means she must have been born in late 613 or early 614.  The marriage is said to have occurred shortly after the death of Khadijah in 619. {15}

According to the Sunnah, such conduct was permissible. To ensure there was no mistake about this, the heading for some of the above Hadith passages reads: “Giving one’s children in marriage” (each citing Koran 65:4).  MoM even wondered out loud why men would marry grown women when they could simply wed young girls (so that they may then play with each other), as attested in Buhkari (no. 5080).  In Yusuf Al-Hajj Ahmad’s Book of “Nikah”, MoM encourages his followers to marry young girls, all the better to fondle them.

According to Muslim’s Hadith, MoM’s betrothal to Aisha took place when the latter was 7 years old, then consummated when she was 9 years old (no. 3309-11 and 3480-3482).  Those ages are corroborated in “Sunan” Abu Dawood (no. 2116-21, no. 4195, and no. 4916-19) as well as by Aisha’s own testimony (vol. 9 of Tarikh al-Tabiri).  We are even told that Aisha was still playing with dolls when MoM married her (Bukhari 8/73/151; Muslim no. 1422; and Abu Dawood no. 4931): something that–in traditional Islam–is only permitted for pre-pubescent girls.  All this was further corroborated in Sunan an-Nasa’i (chapt. 78, no. 3380).  Aisha was incontrovertibly pre-pubescent when she was deflowered by the self-proclaimed prophet.

There are various theories about why MoM may have waited two years before bedding his child-bride.  It is quite possible that Aisha may have been physically too small to penetrate at 6 years old.  Another likely explanation is that MoM wed Aisha in Mecca prior to the Hijra, when he would have been ostracized for his pedophilia.  Accordingly, he waited until he’d migrated to Yathrib to engage in sexual intercourse–a place where there would not have been any repurcussions.

When it came to Aisha, MoM’s intentions were clearly salacious.  He even opined that the young girl’s aesthetic superiority to other women was like the superiority of “tharid” [a savory meat] to other meals (ref. Bukhari, no. 3411).  There is nothing estimable in thinking of the pre-pubescent girl as a tasty dish.  (Suffice to say, when a powerful man compares his young wife to a delicious meal, he is not referring to the quality of her character.)  MoM even wondered why men would opt to marry grown women when they could simply wed young girls, who were EASIER TO PLAY WITH (again, see Buhkari, no. 5080).  The self-proclaimed prophet actually encouraged his followers to marry young girls, all-the-better to FONDLE them.  (For that deranged exhortation, see Yusuf Al-Hajj Ahmad’s Book of “Nikah”.)

Lo and behold: The license to copulate with pre-pubescent girls is given EXPLICITLY in the Koran.  65:4 says nothing about noble intentions (e.g. strategic betrothals to forge good relations between different tribes).  The passage pertains to the “idda[h]”: the period that a man needs to wait before having sex with a pre-pubescent girl who was been divorced from (that is: ALREADY MARRIED TO) another man.  We are told that the “idda[h]” is three months in 2:228.  Presumably, this was to ensure that the potential wife–a pre-pubescent girl–was not pregnant from her previous husband (in the event that she had unexpectedly reached menarche in the intervening time). {10}

Obviously, men were copulating with pre-pubescent girls for reasons other than procreation–being as how the girls were, well, PRE-PUBESCENT.  The relevant Koranic passage (65:4) was not an aberration; it was necessitated by this waiting period before marrying a divorced girl…in the case of PRE-PUBESCENT wives (i.e. those who had not yet reached menarche, and so were not yet menstruating).

Amongst Islamic apologists, a common rationalization for MoM’s selection of a child-bride is that the practice was normal at the time.  This claim is not only factually incorrect; the mere suggestion is downright perverse.  Barring some revanchist Hindu communities in India, nowhere in the non-Muslim world–at ANY TIME in history–has it been seen as ethical for a grown man to copulate with a girl who has not yet reached puberty.  Grown men marrying pre-pubescents was NOT normal. {14}  Opprobrium of this heinous act could be found in virtually ALL societies, in ALL eras. {11}

We might also note the moral reality of this behavior–which is based on timeless standards. (This should be uncontroversial lest we resort to relativism of the most wanton kind, and propose that moral principles are merely social constructs.)  It has NEVER been morally defensible for a grown man–especially one who is fifty years old–to be interested in copulating with pre-pubescent girls; let alone with 8-year-olds. Ever.

It should go without saying, but let’s say it anyway: A man does not engage in sexual intercourse with a girl YEARS BEFORE she reaches menarche in order to procreate.  MoM’s marriage to Aisha was entirely a matter of wanting to have sex with a young girl.  That is to say: It was NOT about an attempt to produce offspring.  How can we be sure?  To reiterate: In Islam’s holy book, we read that girls who had not yet menstruated are permissible.  Thus men are allowed to wed–and copulate with–girls who can not yet be impregnated.  What could the rational have possibly been for this, if not for the enjoyment of “those whom your right hand possesses”?

Further evidence of MoM’s pedophilia (as well as his flexible sexuality) can be found in Bukhari’s book on Islamic etiquette, the “Adab al-Mufrad” (no. 1183).  In it, we are told how MoM enjoyed sticking his tongue in the mouths of young boys.  Abu Hurayra relayed that, one day, the prophet “walked around [the market of the Banu Qaynuqa] and searched… He then said, ‘Where is the little one? Call the little one to me.’  Hasan [Ali’s son] came running and jumped into his lap.  He then put his hand in [MoM’s] beard.  The prophet then opened his mouth and put his tongue in [Hasan’s] mouth.”

Elsewhere, the story is told as follows: “Hasan was thirsty.  He asked his grandfather for water.  There was no water.  Afterward, the Prophet put his tongue in Hasan’s mouth; then he became completely satisfied.  Hasan [the young boy] said of this miracle: Thirst never overcomes me after sucking on the Prophet’s tongue.”

Thus homosexual inclinations can be added to MoM’s penchant for pederasty.

That’s not all.  In the “musnad” Hadith of Ahmed ibn Hanbal, we read that MoM enjoyed sucking on the tongues of young boys.  Mu’awiya reported: “I saw the prophet sucking on the tongue or the lips of Hassan, son of Ali” (no. 16245).  This undermines the rationalization that MoM was engaging in the activity in order to aid the young boy; as he too seems to have enjoyed the service (i.e. the tongue of a young boy).  This begs the question of who was performing the miracle on who.  (That is: Who was using whom when the tongue-sucking routinely went BOTH ways?)

It is ALSO recounted that MoM claimed that any boy who’s tongue he sucked on would be immune from hellfire–quite an enticing proposition, coming as it did from the self-proclaimed prophet.

It strains credulity to suppose that such claims would have cropped up in independent sources had there not been something to it.  And it is highly unlikely that such esteemed authors would have recounted such episodes had they been widely seen as “nothing but insidious rumors”, as some apologists now insist.  Clearly, these were widely circulated accounts that passed through the ages.

MoM’s homo-erotic proclivities were not limited to pre-pubescent boys.  At the time, it seems to have been no secret that MoM engaged in sexual activity with other men.  His child-bride, Aisha HERSELF testified in the most vaunted Hadith (that of Bukhari): “I used to wash the semen off the clothes of the prophet; and even then I used to notice several spots on some of his garments.”  (This account is also found in Muslim’s Hadith; as well as in the “sunan” accounts of Ibn Majah, both of which are accorded the highest credibility.)  Note that masturbation was forbidden; so the explanation for a man regularly being covered in semen is not difficult to deduce.

But wait.  It gets even worse.  MoM’s pedophilia did not stop with children; it seems to have extended to infants as well.  His most renowned hagiographer, Ibn Ishaq recounted that MoM once saw the daughter of Umm ul-Fadl (i.e. Umm Habib bint Abbas) when she was “a baby crawling before him.  He said: “When she grows up and if I am still alive, I will marry her.”  (Spoiler alert: He died before she grew up.)  This disturbing anecdote was corroborated in the “Musnad” of Ahmad ibn Hanbal.  As it happened, MoM was murdered before Habib reached the ripe old age of 6, thus sparing the girl his licentious cravings.

It is worth reiterating: Contrary to the special pleading so often heard from Islamic apologists, prior to the advent of Islam, pedophilia was never considered “normal”.  Indeed, THROUGHOUT WORLD HISTORY, there is only one case of a (non-Muslim, non-Hindu) middle-aged potentate marrying a child (and–even then–he had the moral sense to not consummate the marriage).  Prior to Islam, such a thing was unheard-of (that is: outside of some revanchist Hindu communities in India). {13}

The history of arranged marriages between powerful families is well-attested.  In almost every case, at any point, in any country, when a child was married off in a monarchal context, it was to ANOTHER CHILD.  (Needless to say, no sexual relations were involved at that juncture.)  Throughout history, children were paired in contractual agreements between families; but the official betrothal (and, presumably, consummation) did not occur until both parties came of age–as in Mongolian and Chinese cultures. {11}  The initial “promise” was BETWEEN CHILDREN; and was in reference to future arrangements.  It was not done to satiate the cravings of middle-aged men for children; it was done to forge geo-political alliances.  That arrangements were made years before the bride and groom came of age was simply a matter of doing so proactively.

So what about Islamic “fiqh” SINCE MoM’s dalliances with Aisha?  We know that marriages involving pedophilia have been commonplace throughout the Muslim world from statements like the following from “Reliance Of The Traveller”–a 14th-century disquisition on the Sunnah: “A father can arrange the marriage of his virgin daughter without her permission EVEN IF she is beyond the age of puberty.”  Even if?  This indicates that marrying off a pre-pubescent daughter to an older man was the NORM, not the exception.

In the modern era, the instances in which child marriages occur most are–predictably–in Islamic areas of Africa. {16}  In the Far East, marriage involving pre-pubescent girls still occurs in Pakistan, Bangladesh and in some of the Muslim communities of Nepal and India.  This is not a coincidence.  If today, the overwhelming majority of cases of (officially sanctioned) pedophilia occur in Muslim communities, it is clear that the license to do so has something to do with the attendant religious doctrine (in this case: the Sunnah). {6}

And what of the precedent set by MoM of older men engaging in sexual play with young boys?  The practice continues in Deobandi Islam.  It is referred to in Dari (a variant of Farsi) as “bacha bazi”.  From Uzbekistan to Pakistan, young boys in harems are referred to as “bachas”.  It is not uncommon for mullahs to keep such harems behind closed doors.  This is an open secret in both the Hindu Kush and Arabia.

Endorsing sexual intercourse with children can be juxtaposed against the proscription against pork: the former is an odious act whereas the latter is an antiquated culinary relic.

And what of the repercussions of this precedent? The statistics on child-brides is worth noting: They are less likely to stay in school (or be educated AT ALL), they are more likely to be abused (physically AND emotionally), and more likely to end up in poverty (in cases where the husband is not a Saudi prince).  Plus: Most such marriages eventually end up in a divorce–which is often highly problematic for the girl, to put it mildly.  So even if we disregard the basic moral imperative for adults to not have sexual intercourse with pre-pubescents, there are still many reasons this antiquated practice is highly objectionable–none of which are broached in Islamic scripture. {6}


In assessing the merit of the Sunnah, we are expected to ignore the fact that the most doctrinal adherents would rather idolize a pederast than have a croque monsieur for lunch.  Needless to say, the Koran would have been significantly improved if it had simply declared that eating pork was fine…yet pedophilia (and, for that matter, striking or raping a woman) was unacceptable.  When we juxtapose pedophilia with having a ham sandwich for lunch or making a sketch of MoM, we find that a major recalibration of outrage is in order.  All taboos are not equal.

Alas.  One thing that sacred doctrines consistently do is skew the priorities of True Believers.  So we must inquire: Is snacking on some “pad-see-ew moo” a graver moral transgression than, say, forcing women to cover their faces in public?  Is there any way to rationalize pedophilia whilst denouncing secularism?  The position, “It’s fine to idolize a pedophile; but–whatever you do–you better not eat bacon!” reflects a profound moral confusion.

In sum: The atavistic notion of “halal” (permissible) food is a vestigial meme.  That is to say: The stricture is the dogmatic residue of a dietary precaution that may have been prudent long ago; but is now obsolete.  The category of “haram” (forbidden) food reflects concerns that no longer attain.  If he exists, the Creator Of The Universe surely has nothing against pork-chops…any more than he becomes incensed when someone sips a Margarita.

And the Creator Of The Universe would certainly not have any qualms with cartoons…of ANY kind.  Such a concern would be stultifyingly petty. Imagine fixating on such frivolous matters while millions of innocent people suffer and die from avoidable causes each year.

Meanwhile, if an even remotely benevolent super-being really exists, he is probably not a big fan of adults raping children.

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