Police in Canada are investigating the distribution of flyers depicting the prophet of Islam, Mohammed, taking the virginity of his nine-year-old wife Aisha as a hate crime, as reported by CIJ News.
The flyer is one of a series of four, which were put in mailboxes in Edmonton, Alberta and could be categorized as an “anti-Islam bias crime.”
The news outlet was told by the government’s prosecutor that the flyer in question met the criteria of a hate crime because of its pornographic content, among other reasons.
Marriage to 9 y/o legitimate
Yet, as CIJ points out, Canadian Muslim scholar Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips, an imam and the chancellor of the Islamic Online University says, “If a Muslim man in his 50s, even today, wanted to marry a young woman who was 9 or 10, she reached puberty, it is legitimate,” he said.
Actually, in Islam girls are considered eligible for marriage at 9 'lunar years' which is about 8 solar years and 9 months.
In a lecture given a few years ago (see video below) Philips explains that unlike European countries that he says set many different ages from 12-18 as legitimate for a girl to marry, Islam holds that the “dividing line” is puberty.
However, a look at the legal age of marriage for girls from the countries he mentions – France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain – shows that every country sets the age of 18, allowing girls between 16-17 to marry only with the consent of a court and, in most cases, both of her parents.
Philips argues when Mohammed married Aisha, a person who lived until 35 was considered to have reached old age. Girls matured earlier and were primed for marriage at young ages.
“So where today you can find a woman in her 20s studying in University, she still does not how to cook, she can’t iron, you know, she’s basically a baby, so going to university, I mean, there is something in those days that is inconceivable,” he concedes.
Still, he argues that once a woman has begun to menstruate, she is a legitimate candidate for marriage.
PhiIips’ views do not differ from those of many contemporary imams steeped in traditional Islam. However, just as Philips points out, that women today live longer and are raised in a different culture -- where they can be educated in subjects not connected to household chores – it should be a given that a young girl should not be married simply because she has reached the age of puberty.
But, as Philips says, “The fact that the world is not doing it, and most places people are not doing it, it doesn’t mean that it no longer is permissible. No. It remains.”
Moreover, Philips makes a point to contrast the Islamic view of marriage with that of pedophilia, saying that because the “couple” is engaged in the institution of marriage, it is not considered child abuse.
Relationship not based on equality
However, what separates marriage from abuse is not the fact of the institution itself but rather the relationship that is entailed in it. That type of mutual relationship between two equal partners building a life together is not possible between a nine-year-old girl and a 50-year-old man.
It has become known that Musleh Khan, newly appointed as a Muslim police chaplain in Toronto defended child marriage under an Islamic system. CIJ news reports that while commenting on Mohammed’s relationship with his wife Aisha, whom he asserts was nine years old at the time of their marriage, Khan spoke in favor of such a marriage.
Aisha was 6 when they got married and 9 when the marriage was consummated, ie became the victim of pedophilia.
Aisha died at the age of 35. This was used as an excuse for men marrying children, because if they waited until the girls are adult, they may not have long to live. This ignores the very distinct possibility the girls died at a young age because of the sexual abuse done to them as they barely reached puberty, and the child-rearing done before they even reached their teens.
In a lecture given to the Muslim Students Association at the University of Saskatchewan in 2014, Khan praised Mohammed’s relationship with Aisha as that of a model husband, saying, “Aisha, she was young. So she didn’t really understand what marriage, what it took for a woman to be in a marriage. She didn’t really understand the maturity or the responsibility of being in a marriage.
“So why is that important? Because what this should indicate -- that one party, so in this case it’s the husband. The husband’s got to be somebody that’s very tolerant , and he’s got to have wisdom. He’s got to have wisdom and how to speak to a person like this. How to build a relationship with an individual like this.”
In a question and answer session in a mosque in Ontario in 2015, Khan responded to a question asking why it was acceptable to marry a nine-year old by saying that different countries set the age of consent differently, and there is no universally accepted age of consent.
“So what is the real age to get married if it’s so different everywhere you go?” he asked rhetorically. “The answer it’s our prophet [Mohammad] peace and blessings be upon [who ruled] at the age of puberty.”
He then went onto say that while child marriage is acceptable under sharia and no one should dispute that, one should not implement it in this generation because times have changed and what is applicable for one time may not be applicable for another.
“Our culture doesn’t allow or know how to accept that practice today. If you try to implement that practice today you’re going to get into a lot of problems,” he said. “However, your belief … is, if the prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, did it, you have to believe that it was permissible. It’s permitted in our sharia, but it has its time and place. That’s what I tell non-Muslims.”
Hmmm. And what is it you tell Muslims?
The Toronto police department has appointed a new chaplain to service its Muslim officers.
As reported by CIJ News, Musleh Khan was born in Medina, Saudi Arabia but raised in Toronto. He obtained a BA in Islamic Law from the Islamic University in Madinah in Saudi Arabia.
The chaplain not only helps Muslim police officers but also serves as a community chaplain. “If they ever are confused about certain behaviors or rhetoric thrown out on behalf of Islam, I’d like for them to have someone authentic, that has studied the religion and can say, ‘Hey, I can explain this to you’,” Khan says.
The police department says Khan’s goal is to provide support and bridge gaps. Yet, there is one gap not being addressed: the gap between men and women inherent in his teachings – and that of “authentic Islam,” as he claims.
In 2013, Khan taught a webinar titled The Heart of the Home: The Rights and Responsibilities of the Wife.
In the webinar, Khan states the wife should be obedient to her husband at all times (since he is her protector and maintainer and supports the family). She should respect him as the ameer (lord) of the house. Moreover, women should not view this obligation as a chore, but rather as a means of gaining eternal reward. (There is no similar obligation of the husband to obey his wife.)
Also in the seminar (see video below), Khan states that a woman must be careful to ask permission from her husband to leave the house. In addition, she should be available for sexual relations whenever he desires unless she has a valid excuse (illness or fasting). But even so, Khan said,
“Even some scholars went as far as saying that even if it doesn’t feel right, or you’re just not in that emotional relationship you know it’s not the right manner, you’re not feeling that at that particular time, still try to make it happen, still try to force yourself even if you have to do that.
“Why? Because this is crucial and even scientists, even doctors, even psychologists, all of them, have proven that this here, this intimacy with your spouse is a crucial, crucial ingredient for a successful marriage."
That a woman should need permission from her husband to leave the house is demeaning and oppressive, putting women under archaic control of her husband.
That she should force herself to have marital relations when she knows it is not coming from the right place due to problems in the couple’s relationship at the time means a woman can be used like an object. (While Khan may be right that intimacy is a crucial ingredient for a successful marriage, marital relations under these circumstances are the antithesis of any real definition of intimacy).
If the Toronto police department desires to create a position to support its Muslim police officers and be a community chaplain, it should not be hiring and promoting an imam that leaves half of the community in a secondary role and teaches its officers that’s the way it is supposed to be.
I wonder, are there any female, Muslim, police officers in the TPD? Silly me, of course not, they are all at home waiting for their husbands.