02/02/2018, 16.30
FRANCE – ISLAM

Daesh is not alone in justifying sexual slavery, there is al Azhar too (II)

by Hocine Drouiche

The “intellectual” leaders of the Islamic State continue to justify the enslavement of non-Muslim women as part of the "spoils of war". In doing so, they go along with many of today’s Muslim scholars. Conservative circles have put up a resistance to an historical and contextual re-examination of Islam’s sacred texts. This is the second part (out of three) of an analysis by Imam Hocine Drouiche. The first part was published yesterday.

Nimes (AsiaNews) – We publish the second part (out of three) of the analysis by Imam Hocine Drouiche on the urgency of reform in Islamic law, especially on the issue of rape and enslavement of non-Muslims. The first part is available here.

Scrapping religious opinions about sexual slavery has been the struggle of many Muslim thinkers, people like Abdelouhaeb Maadeb, Mohamed Arkoune, Mohammed Chahrour and Nasr Hamed Abu Zeyd. They and others have not stopped calling for the historicisation and contextualisation of the interpretations of these texts, to free Islam and Muslims from the weight of the "sacred past" that is holding back the evolution of the Muslim world.

Because of this heavy legacy, the Muslim world is in conflict with the whole world, in the West, in China, in India and in several African countries. It is this hateful and bloody legacy that has pitted Sunnis against Shias, Salafists against Sufis, etc. . . .

What has made reform more complicated is the refusal by conservatives of any contextualisation or historicisation of the texts, which end up authorising all sorts of violence. In general, all interpretations are linked to the so-called "reasons of revelation” (Asbaab ennuzul), and the repeal of these opinions does not yet seem feasible in the face of the great resistance by conservative and Salafi schools. In their view, any reform represents a modification of God’s law, a fundamental questioning of the bases of Islam, and a capitulation before its enemies!

In the opaque legal climate that reigns in the great ship of Islam, which is not led by any unitary clergy, terrorist organisations like Daesh are not an exception. They continue to apply to the letter Sharia, which is still recognised and taught in various Muslim organisations throughout the world, in institutes, as well as in many official universities in the Muslim world.

Al Monjid, one of the Salafist references in contemporary Islam, answered clearly a question regarding the spoils of war, including women, on his website: "To have sexual slaves represents [follows] the example of the prophet, his companions and all our Muslim predecessors. Nobody can forbid it. Those who forbid it commit a great sin because it goes against the consensus of the scholars of Islam."

The issue of the permanent jihad within Islam complicates the idea that Muslim law and contemporary international humanitarian law share the same fundamental values with respect to the protection of civilian populations in armed conflicts.

Suad Salih (pictured), director of Higher Studies at al Azhar University, should officially apologise to all non-Muslim women (Yazidis and others) for her inhuman statements on the treatment to be meted out to non-Muslim women, irrespective of whether they are seen or not as "spoils of war" in armed conflicts.

By continuing to disseminate these religious opinions in Muslim communities authorising the enslavement of the "spoils of war" and the legalisation of sexual slavery, Muslim authorities and universities, both public and private, could be probed and judged on this point, as well as on their role and direct and indirect responsibility in legalising such crimes against humanity.

Islamic law contains a number of Muslim legal rules that protect civilians, including women, in the event of armed conflict, but many Muslims view jihad as a sword in a perpetual duel against the infidels, the unbelievers and the enemies of Allah.

Muslims who defend this binary vision of the world do nothing but stigmatise the religion they purport to defend by giving it a false image. One can legitimately ask how jihad can Islamise people since in religious terms no one has a binding authority over others. How can jihad be invoked in order to place the whole universe under Islam’s jurisdiction when, in Quranic terms, God created the various peoples and nations so that that they may know each other. It is clear that Jihad is the most manipulated concept in the whole of Muslim history. Such manipulation has led the concept to become, at certain moment, synonymous with savagery and aggression.

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