Muslim abuser who 'didn't know' that sex with a girl of 13 was illegal is spared jail

•    Adil Rashid admitted travelling to Nottingham and having sex with the girl
•    He met the 13-year-old on Facebook and they communicated by texts and phone for two months before they met
•    He was educated in a madrassa and 'had little experience of women'
•    Said he had been taught 'women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground'
•    Added he was reluctant to have sex but that he was 'tempted by [the girl]'

25 January 2013

A Muslim who raped a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he  was taught that women are worthless.

Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law.

Yesterday Judge Michael Stokes handed Rashid a suspended sentence, saying: ‘Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.’

Earlier Nottingham Crown Court heard that such crimes usually result in a four to seven-year prison sentence.

But the judge said that because Rashid was ‘passive’ and ‘lacking assertiveness’, sending him to jail might cause him ‘more damage than good’.

Rashid, from Birmingham, admitted he had sex with the girl, saying he had been ‘tempted by her’ after they met online.

They initially exchanged messages on Facebook before sending texts and chatting on the phone over a two-month period.

They then met up in Nottingham, where Rashid had booked a room at a Premier Inn.

The girl told police they stayed at the hotel for two hours and had sex after Rashid went to the bathroom and emerged wearing a condom.

Rashid then returned home and went straight to a mosque to pray. He was arrested the following week after the girl confessed what had happened to a school friend, who informed one of her teachers.

He told police he knew the girl was 13 but said he was initially reluctant to have sex before relenting after being seduced.

Earlier the court heard how Rashid had ‘little experience of women’ due to his education at an Islamic school in the UK, which cannot be named for legal reasons.

After his arrest, he told a psychologist that he did not know having sex with a 13-year-old was against the law. The court heard he found it was illegal only when he was informed by a family member.

In other interviews with psychologists, Rashid claimed he had been taught in his school that ‘women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground’.

When Judge Stokes said Rashid ‘must have known it was illegal, unless he was going round with his eyes shut’, defence lawyer Laban Leake said reports suggested Rashid had a ‘degree of sexual naivety’.

‘The school he attended, it is not going too far to say, can be described as a closed community and on this occasion this was perpetuated by his home life.

‘It is not too far to say that he may not have known that having sex with a 13-year-old girl was illegal.’ Judge Stokes sentenced Rashid to nine months youth custody, suspended for two years, along with a two-year probation supervision order.

Describing Rashid, the judge said: ‘He’s had an unusual education, certainly in terms of the sexual education provided. Comparing women to lollipops is a very curious way of teaching young men about sex.’

But he said that Rashid knew what he was doing was wrong.

‘It was made clear to you at the school you attended that having sexual relations with a woman before marriage was contrary to the precepts of Islam,’ he said.

Addressing Rashid, the judge said: ‘I accept this was a case where the girl was quite willing to have sexual activity with you. But the law is there to protect young girls, even though they are perfectly happy to engage in sexual activity.’

Egypt’s women urge MPs not to pass early marriage, sex-after-death laws

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has appealed to the Islamist-dominated parliament not to approve two controversial laws on the minimum age of marriage and allowing a husband to have sex with his dead wife within six hours of her death according to a report in an Egyptian newspaper.

The appeal came in a message sent by Dr. Mervat al-Talawi, head of the NCW, to the Egyptian People’s Assembly Speaker, Dr. Saad al-Katatni, addressing the woes of Egyptian women, especially after the popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

She was referring to two laws: one that would legalize the marriage of girls starting from the age of 14 and the other that permits a husband to have sex with his dead wife within the six hours following her death.

According to Egyptian columnist Amro Abdul Samea in al-Ahram, Talawi’s message included an appeal to parliament to avoid the controversial legislations that rid women of their rights of getting education and employment, under alleged religious interpretations.

“Talawi tried to underline in her message that marginalizing and undermining the status of women in future development plans would undoubtedly negatively affect the country’s human development, simply because women represent half the population,” Abdul Samea said in his article.

The controversy about a husband having sex with his dead wife came about after a Moroccan cleric spoke about the issue in May 2011.

Zamzami Abdul Bari said that marriage remains valid even after death adding that a woman also too had the same right to engage in sex with her dead husband.

Two years ago, Zamzami incited further controversy in Morocco when he said it was permissible for pregnant women to drink alcohol.

But it seems his view on partners having sex with their deceased partners has found its way to Egypt one year on.

Egyptian prominent journalist and TV anchor Jaber al-Qarmouty on Tuesday referred to Abdul Samea’s article in his daily show on Egyptian ON TV and criticized the whole notion of “permitting a husband to have sex with his wife after her death under a so-called ‘Farewell Intercourse’ draft law.”

“This is very serious. Could the panel that will draft the Egyptian constitution possibly discuss such issues? Did Abdul Samea see by his own eyes the text of the message sent by Talawi to Katatni? This is unbelievable. It is a catastrophe to give the husband such a right! Has the Islamic trend reached that far? Is there really a draft law in this regard? Are there people thinking in this manner?”

Many members of the newly-elected, and majority Islamist parliament, have been accused of launching attacks against women’s rights in the country.

They wish to cancel many, if not most, of the laws that promote women’s rights, most notably a law that allows a wife to obtain a divorce without obstructions from her partner. The implementation of the Islamic right to divorce law, also known as the Khula, ended years of hardship and legal battles women would have to endure when trying to obtain a divorce.

Egyptian law grants men the right to terminate a marriage, but grants women the opportunity to end an unhappy or abusive marriages without the obstruction of their partner.

Prior to the implementation of the Khula over a decade ago, it could take 10 to 15 years for a woman to be granted a divorce by the courts.

Islamist members of Egyptian parliament, however, accuse these laws of “aiming to destroy families” and have said it was passed to please the former first lady of the fallen regime, Suzanne Mubarak, who devoted much of her attention to the issues of granting the women all her rights.

The parliamentary attacks on women’s rights has drawn great criticism from women’s organizations, who dismissed the calls and accused the MPs of wishing to destroy the little gains Egyptian women attained after long years of organized struggle.

Does sexual frustration fuel Islamic violence?

by Omar Sacirbey
Religion News Service
November 19, 2009

(RNS) Did alleged Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan lose control, at least in part, because he was sexually frustrated?

That's one of the questions being asked in the investigation into the Nov. 5 rampage that left 13 people dead and dozens more injured.

According to reports, Hasan visited a nearby strip club in the weeks before the massacre and was frustrated by his inability to find a pious Muslim wife.

That's sparked a recurring, but still unresolved, debate on whether strict Islamic sexual mores in Muslim communities are contributing to a sense of hopelessness some say drives many young men into religious fanaticism and violence.

"All these men are so sexually deprived so much so that the sperm has gone to their brain, and they implode," wrote Ani Zonneveld, a female Muslim activist, on a Muslim online discussion forum which had taken up the issue.

Others are more skeptical about the claim, and say that if there's a relationship between religious fundamentalism and sexual repression or frustration, it is not unique to Muslims.

"I'm skeptical," said Kecia Ali, a religion professor at Boston University. People have tried to link Islamic extremism and sexual frustration for years, she said, but a causal relationship "was a bit of a stretch."

For many, however, the most perplexing question is why men who see themselves as devout Muslims engage in such un-Islamic behavior. Hasan, 39, is reported have visited the Starz strip club at least three times in weeks leading up to the shooting, spending up to six or seven hours at a time.

"He said he was a medic and that he was being deployed soon, but mostly he wanted to ask us questions," Jennifer Jenner, a stripper who Hasan paid $50 for a lap dance in the private room, told "He was respectful."

Mohamed Atta and several other 9/11 hijackers had also visited strip clubs not long before the 2001 terrorist attacks. In his will, however, Atta demanded that women not come to his funeral and not visit his grave, and that whoever washed his body should wear gloves when washing his genitals. Scholars stress that among mainstream Muslims in America, women regularly participate in funerals, and probably don't consider the minutia that consumed Atta.

In his novel "Murder In Amsterdam," based on the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh, British journalist Ian Buruma suggests that sexual frustration played a part in driving Mohammed Bouyeri, the Dutch-born son of Moroccan immigrants, to murder Van Gogh in broad daylight in 2004.

As a teenager, Bouyeri smoked dope and chased Dutch women, but in his 20s, he faced bleak economic prospects, girl troubles, and his sister got a boyfriend. Bouyeri "felt dishonored, useless, and excluded," Buruma writes, but says Bouyeri found his source of power in radical Islam.

And one of the leading philosophical fathers of radical Islam, Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, was critical of the U.S. as an exchange student between 1948-50, especially of what he called the "animal-like mixing"
of the sexes, even at church dances.

Many suicide bombers from Palestine and Iraq are said to be motivated by Islamic interpretations -- albeit highly disputed -- that 72 virgins await Muslim martyrs when they arrive in paradise.

The frustration that drives Muslim men to violence has at least as much to do with economic and social factors as it does with sexual troubles, observers say. High unemployment rates in many parts of the world complicate job prospects, where a steady income is a prerequisite to getting a wife, and where pre-marital sex can result in social ostracizing, jail, and whipping.

"If you can't get a job," Ali said, "you can't get a girlfriend."

Evidence, however, does not point to a link between sexual frustration and Islamic extremism, says Marc Sageman, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia.

"In fact, three-fourths of al-Qaida terrorists are married, and two-thirds of them have children (and many children at that)," he wrote in his 2004 essay, "Common Myths About al-Qaida Terrorism." "This apparent paradox is explained by the fact that they want many children to pursue jihad, while they sacrifice themselves for their cause and their comrades."

Another perplexing paradox is why men like Hasan and Atta, who see themselves as devout Muslims, go to strip clubs and engage in other un-Islamic behavior. "It's so inconsistent with the portrayals of these guys as pious Muslims," said Pamela Taylor, co-founder of Muslims for Progressive Values. "It doesn't make sense."

"There's a cultural double-standard," said Ali. Many Muslim men view both Western women and Muslim women as mainly sexual objects, but hold different standards for Western culture that they view as lost to vanity and promiscuity. "They don't expect their sisters to act like that."

While Zonneveld said she sees a connection between sexual frustration and violence, she emphasizes it is not unique to Islamic cultures.

"I say the route to violence is through intolerance, and it doesn't matter what religion or perspective you hold," she said. "You see that in the anarchists against capitalism, Jewish settlers against Palestinians, and of course these so-called Muslims."

Frank talk from Muslim sex therapist

Cairo-based Heba Kotb tackles sensitive issues within the framework of Islam.

By Jeffrey Fleishman, Times Staff Writer
July 29, 2007

'Everyone is searching for better sex, but people aren't having the best sex. Sex within Islam is the best. It covers the man's rights and the woman's rights. Islam is the ultimate sexuality.'

CAIRO — In the delicate realm where the Koran meets human desire, Heba Kotb, a Muslim sex therapist in a ruffled gold head scarf, has strong opinions on vibrators, foreplay, premature you-know-what and why more men can't seem to locate the G-spot.

An hour in her clinic, where some women wear black abayas that reveal only their eyes, is a liberating venture into a culture that has traditionally relegated talk of sex to a family whisper. Demure she may appear, but Kotb's voice is strong and unapologetically public. The Koran, she said, forbids sex outside marriage, but within that union carnal satisfaction is a requisite for happiness.

"I deal with pleasure, desire, orgasms, masturbation, sexual frequency and erection problems," said Kotb, whose TV show, "Big Talk," is popular across the Arab world. "Neither the Koran nor the Sunna, however, address masturbation. My advice is that it's OK to masturbate, but only if you need it badly. Masturbation has become more prevalent here because sex is forbidden outside marriage."

In a society in which male clerics issue fatwas, or religious edicts or opinions, addressing all layers of family life, a feminine voice on something as intimate as sex has made Kotb a celebrity and a cultural revolutionary.

Some conservative clerics accuse Kotb of catering to sinners and Western-influenced permissiveness, but, overall, there has been little outcry about her frankness. Kotb's advice on sex is meticulously framed within the context of matrimony, which she says is a gift from God.

"Everyone is searching for better sex, but people aren't having the best sex," she said. "Sex within Islam is the best. It covers the man's rights and the woman's rights. Islam is the ultimate sexuality. It's beyond the stereotypes of Islamic oppression. I'm replacing that template. I'm replacing the stereotypes."

Kotb's interest in the subject arose from conversations with sex offenders while working on her forensic medicine degree at Cairo University. She later studied sexology and philosophy at Maimonides University in Florida; her dissertation was titled Sexuality in Islam. She wrote advice columns for newspapers, including one called "Behind Closed Doors." In 2006, she started her own late-night TV talk show on the private Egyptian satellite channel El Mehwar.

"I thought about the core of sexuality and religion," she said. "How many relationships could I save knowing about this? At first, there was a state of shock over the TV show. Gradually it was accepted, and today people love it. I think, outside of the sex act, people have little idea about their own sexuality. Five years ago, I'd see two or three patients a week. Today, I'm booked three months ahead."

Kotb has a lively face bordered by a hijab. She wears rings and bracelets; her cellphone hums incessantly, and she seems comfortable with her high profile. She blends science and anatomy charts with the Koran and the Sunna, teachings based on the life of the prophet Muhammad, who, Kotb noted, tended dutifully to his wives.

Kotb advises her listeners that every sexual encounter outside marriage leaves an indelible mark, and that the accumulation of those marks can destroy a relationship and push one further from God. But her larger aim is to help Muslims overcome sexual ignorance by showing them that scripture from centuries ago is relevant to today's preferences and inhibitions.

"It's hard for people to confess that they have no idea about sex, especially men — they think they're Valentinos," Kotb said, referring to those unschooled in the intricacies of the multiple orgasm. "Sometimes men believe they know everything, and some are, in fact, lying."

To add religious legitimacy to her show, Kotb invites young preachers to answer questions from viewers. Many are part of a movement that emerged in the 1990s that offers a less conventional interpretation of Islamic theology. On one program, Kotb and Sheik Khaled Abdullah discussed the misconception that sex is forbidden during the holy month of Ramadan.

"There is no correlation between how faithful you are to God and how much you avoid having sex in Ramadan," Kotb said.

Abdullah added: "Whenever you feel you need [to have sex] with your wife or whenever your wife feels the same according to God's rule, you can exercise this right and you will be rewarded for that … as long as you do it between sunset and dawn prayers."

Economics is also a factor in a nation where widespread poverty delays or prevents many couples from marrying. This, along with the increasing Western influence, most notably from risque music videos on satellite TV, is nudging more Egyptians into sex outside marriage.

"The evil things always seem more interesting to us than the good things," Kotb said. "Some people use pornography and sex toys. The problem is they could get pleasure from these toys and drop their partner. But not many Egyptians use them. Really, not many Egyptians know about them."

The prospect of vibrators and lubricants can seem surreal in a society in which a recent government report found that at least 50% of girls between ages 10 and 18 have undergone genital excision, a procedure that some refer to as genital circumcision, in which part or all of the clitoris is removed. Other estimates suggest that 97% of Egyptian women between 15 and 49 have undergone genital excision. The practice, believed to prevent promiscuity by reducing a woman's sex drive, was banned in June by Egyptian health officials after the death of a 12-year-old girl during the procedure.

"I'm totally against female circumcision. There is no religious or scientific reason for it," Kotb said. "But it does not affect sexuality. A woman keeps her nerve endings. I'm opposed to circumcision because it's part of the human body and it's not the right of anyone to cut your body."

The Dilemma of 'Virginity' Restoration

Sunday, Jul. 13, 2008

Once lost, virginity can never be replaced — but modern medicine now offers women a near-perfect physical simulation of their lost innocence. Hymenoplasty, the surgical reconstruction of the hymen broken during a women's first experience of intercourse, or, increasingly, during demanding exercise or as a result of a collision or fall by women who've never had sex, has prompted a growing number of young betrothed women in France to make a last-ditch attempt to avoid the humiliation, repudiation, and possibly violence that could result from husbands and families discovering from blood-free bridal sheets that their wedding night had not been their first sexual experience.

Hymenoplasty has generated renewed attention here in the wake of a court ruling last month in the northern city of Lille, which annulled a marriage on the basis of a husband's complaint that his wife had falsely promised that she was a virgin — a confession he obtained after furiously waving the new couple's spotless bedclothes before still-celebrating wedding guests. Though the decision made no mention of religion, the fact that the couple were Muslim sparked complaints that France's strictly secular state is being undermined by traditional Arab cultural strictures. The court ruling also infuriated feminists, who saw its acceptance of prior sexual experience as grounds for annulment as tantamount to treating marriage as the equivalent of a commercial transaction in which the buyer had discovered a hidden flaw in his purchase. Many Muslim leaders were also outraged, insisting that Islam does not demand virginity as a precondition for marriage, and claimed that the ruling belied the judge's archaic misunderstanding of the faith and its tenets.

Though an appeal by France's Justice Ministry resulted in the Lille ruling being overturned, the storm it provoked has focused media attention on young Muslim women who turn to hymenoplasty to avoid the fate of the repudiated Lille bride. News reports have featured traumatized patients discussing the reaction they'd have faced on their wedding night or following virginity examinations frequently required prior to traditional marriages. Some admit they've paid as much as $5,250 to have their hymens reconstituted in private French clinics; others go to cities in Tunisia, Algeria, or Morocco, where the procedure is even more common, and costs as little as $300. Though the number of Muslim women in the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, and France undergoing the procedure is unknown, there's a consensus among doctors that hymenoplasty is increasingly common. Ironically, as some commentators note, the increase in the procedure reflects the growing emancipation of women from tradition-rooted communities, but also the ongoing male oppression signified by the obsession with female virginity.

"French Muslim women are increasingly defying the restrictions and repression men try to enforce, and leading full, modern lives — including sexually," says Dounia Bouzar, whose recent book Allah, My Boss, and Me explores Islam in the French workplace. "The one time they feel obliged to make a concession to outdated attitudes is with the marital requirement of virginity — a purely macho tradition that has no basis in Islam, and is certainly nothing courts should be respecting. This surgery is unfortunate, though it is a way for women who have insisted on living their own lives to avoid punishment under a backward custom."

Even then, there's plenty of anguish and surrender involved. Doctor Stephane Saint-Leger, head of the Children and Women's Ward at the Robert Ballanger Hospital in the ethnically diverse Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois, agrees the social and sexual differences between young Muslim and non-Muslim women in France are shrinking — including a trend of marrying later in life. That trend has generally reduced the likelihood of women of any faith marrying as virgins. But Saint-Leger says the pressure and intimidation evoked by the Muslim women who come to him for help as their traditional weddings loom frequently threaten their physical and psychological well-being. For that reason, he says, he often agrees to perform hymenoplasties, even though it's the kind of indirectly coerced act he considers ethically objectionable.

"They represent young Muslim women surrendering to unnecessary medical intervention due to unacceptable pressure," Saint-Leger says. "With this, its pressure from the traditional people. But elsewhere, women also surrender to unnecessary medical intervention to change their breasts, noses, lips, or entire face due to unacceptable pressure of the beautiful people."

Though the overturning of the Lille verdict removes the risk non-virgin Muslim brides could find themselves dragged to court on fraud charges by infuriated husbands, the cultural pressures some face remain sufficiently great that many will continue turning to hymenoplasty to restore the semblance of chastity. Many times, however, the ruse may all be for naught: Saint-Leger notes that 30% to 40% of both original and reconstructed hymens fail to produce the virginity — confirming bleeding when ruptured by penetration, anyway.