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Should we always excuse abuse if it falls under "religion"?

This story is so disturbing, because it assumes that women are always to blame for men's inability to control their behaviors.  A cleric in Saudi Arabia has issued a fatwa demanding that even infant girls wear burkas so that they aren't victims of sexual molestation. 

Get that? 

Babies. 

It's bad enough that they demand that girls wear burkas once they reach puberty.  It's bad enough that women are considered minors in that extreme version of Islam.  But to suggest that baby girls must be covered from head to toe so that Muslim men aren't tempted to rape them?  That's a sign that there's something terribly wrong with the men in that culture, and I'd suggest that it's their religion that corrupts them.

Here's the article.

My question is, then, in line with similar ones I've asked before.  How much do we excuse in the name of religion?  Isn't it clear that women and girls are not given any choice in these situations?  Is that acceptable because it's what their religion decrees?

Answer Question
 
jsbenkert

Asked by jsbenkert at 12:06 PM on Feb. 4, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 37 (89,220 Credits)
Answers (28)
  • I think that is very extreme. But what could be done about it?
    snookyfritz

    Answer by snookyfritz at 12:08 PM on Feb. 4, 2013

  • I believe the problem does lie within the culture itself. Remember that it's the culture that invents the religion & then uses it as an excuse for their own drives & behaviors.

    Of course it's not acceptable but, so many things they already do are not acceptable. Other than a complete revolution, I don't see how it will change. Just like there can never be world peace as long as competing religions exist.
    3libras

    Answer by 3libras at 12:15 PM on Feb. 4, 2013

  • I think we start by not excusing human abuses just because it falls under "religion".  Women should not be considered second-class (or in the case of Saudi Arabia, more like slave-class) just because people interpret their religion in that way.  Sure, it can become a slippery slope, but  there is no way any human with a conscience can excuse girls being sold into marriage, or being denied freedoms just because some dusty old book says that men should rule over them.  It simply can't be excused, and we have to start by simply saying so.


     

    jsbenkert

    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 12:21 PM on Feb. 4, 2013

  • We should never allow religion to excuse abuse.
    SWasson

    Answer by SWasson at 12:24 PM on Feb. 4, 2013

  • I think, if those men have that little self-control, then it's time to start punishing them for it. The idea that someone would find a baby sexually attractive and act on it is just disgusting. And the idea that someone would, instead of saying "That's disgusting, and you're one sick bastard for feeling that way", but decide that the innocent baby should be covered up because she's so obviously tempting him is disgusting as well.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 12:34 PM on Feb. 4, 2013

  • I think we start by not excusing human abuses just because it falls under "religion". Women should not be considered second-class (or in the case of Saudi Arabia, more like slave-class) just because people interpret their religion in that way. Sure, it can become a slippery slope, but there is no way any human with a conscience can excuse girls being sold into marriage, or being denied freedoms just because some dusty old book says that men should rule over them. It simply can't be excused, and we have to start by simply saying so.


    I agree but, that's how OUR culture view them. They do not view themselves in that way. So, if we "the west" or the US specifically, try to impose our beliefs on them, it will be viewed as an act of war. Don't get me wrong, a part of me, would simply like to blow the entire middle east off the map but, I know that can't be done. Again, until that religion is no longer dominant (con)
    3libras

    Answer by 3libras at 12:38 PM on Feb. 4, 2013

  • ....there is nothing we can do. We can not be the one's to force that change. The only way it will happen is if the youth eventually revolts.
    3libras

    Answer by 3libras at 12:39 PM on Feb. 4, 2013

  • See, I think there's a point when we have to say that something is not tolerable, whether sanctioned by religion or "culture".  Human rights violations are human rights violations.  Killing gays, subjecting women to what amounts to slavery, imprisoning people because they don't believe in the "right" god . . . none of that should be tolerated.  It's not a Western view.  It's a Humanistic view.  Treating other humans as less than human is not a matter that should be excused or tolerated because it's part of a different culture.  Maybe we can't force a change, but we don't have to shrug our shoulders and say, "well, it's not our business how you treat your women and children" and look the other way.  We need to start  saying out loud, "This is not okay."  We need to stop excusing it as "cultural differences".

    jsbenkert

    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 12:48 PM on Feb. 4, 2013

  • I see nothing exceptionally wrong in requiring the mothers to traditionally dress the babies. I do agree that the reason is something that THEY should be looking into and seeing as a problem.

    It is not my country and I do not control everyone else. Am I excusing it. No. Do I think it is my job to do something about it, no.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 12:57 PM on Feb. 4, 2013

  • I think we've allowed too many abuses in the world by saying that it's not our business.  We are all a part of the human race.  Nation borders don't change that.  I think we have a responsibility for each other, and while I recognize that I can't force a backwards culture to give up its misogynistic ways, I certainly can say that I think it's wrong.  It took us a while to involve ourselves in WWII, but eventually we did.  Maybe the reasons were political, but they were also humanistic.  We didn't like what Germany was doing to its own citizens, and we set out to free them and shut down the concentration camps.  How is this different?  Except that we're not going to invade a country for its mistreatment of girls and women . . . that doesn't mean that we can't voice our disapproval.

    jsbenkert

    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 1:03 PM on Feb. 4, 2013

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