Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Sheikh of Beirut Speaks his Piece

July 18, 2013

A women's rights activist; Malak Jaafar, BBC anchor; and a Sheikh of Beirut

This nice sheikh was part of a discussion about how Lebanon needs better laws to protect women from domestic violence. The sheikh’s main observation was that any law also needs to also protect men from their wives, cause their wives are so much stronger and more threatening. To which the woman guest to the left laughed and said, look, we all know what guys are like in Arab societies, we all know what guys are like in Lebanese society …

Then the Sheikh said, yes, men can hit their wives because the Quran says it’s okay. He is so excited about the idea that he has that particular verse memorized. He said, that is the book I believe in, and that is the Prophet I believe in, and that’s that. He’s just like the politicians in the US who get so excited when they talk about rape. They’re trying to be sad, but you can tell they’re really smacking their lips and rubbing their hands together. 

The woman to the left told him: Lebanon and every country has to be a place for everyone, not just one particular religion. There's all sorts of people living in Lebanon. You need to have laws that protect all of their human rights.

After that, there was a lot of yelling. Too bad you did not hear the Sheikh, he was speaking like a classic Arab man. "Give me a second! Don't interrupt me!" Well, okay, the female guest did interrupt him, which must be annoying, but just the way he responded. When an Arab man wants to be really Arab, and they tell you to shut up, they do in a tone of voice that implies you are the stupidest person on the face of the earth, and that until you bow down to him, you are never going to be in any sort of favor, grace, or love. I guess that is how you speak when you believe you own the entire earth, and all the women servants on it, to boot. I personally prefer religious leaders to be gentle, kind, and humble. 

The anchor, in the middle of the screen, was Malaak Jaafar. I like her. She was the one that asked the Sheikh, should women and men have the same rights? He said, "no! I believe women should get more rights in some areas, and men should get more rights in other [many more] areas." I think Malaak knew that was to be his answer. I think she asked just the way some people pick at a scab, or will bit down on a sore lip, just to feel the pain!

And then she asked him, so is it okay for a husband to hit his wife? And the Sheikh said, yes, cause it says so in the Quran.

Here’s the thing. There’s so many Muslim women who tell you that Islam is the way to their liberation, and after you’ve finished talking to them, you feel like Islam is the best thing for women, ever. But then, you listen to a sheikh like this, and it’s like, really? Other people will tell you that other verses in the Quran say different things, but how am I supposed to feel when there's sheikhs like this, with I'm guessing lots of followers that they preach to, running amok?

Watch this video:

Then watch this video:

Obviously, I think the second video gave a better argument, and I've never believed that Islam is a violent religion in terms of going around and killing people left and right. But notice that for all his other rebuttals, the guy in the second video did not even touch on the last point the lady had raised in her speech, which was basically repeating the same verse that the Sheikh of Beirut was quoting so lovingly. In this one point, I would agree that a lot of people do dance around this particular verse when they try to soften it. 

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