Child Abuse in Islam
13 Jan, 2009
Definition of a child
The transition between childhood and adulthood is a gradual process, associated with both intellectual and sexual maturity. The medical profession, as I am told, considers childhood to extend up to the age of sixteen. However, the demarcation-line between childhood and adulthood remains slightly different in different countries of the world. In most of the Western world, children are considered to have reached their adulthood at the age of eighteen.
In Islam, the separation line between childhood and adulthood is based on sexual maturity. In general, boys are considered to have reached adulthood when they grow pubic hair or show other signs of sexual maturity. In case of girls, the onset of menstruation is considered to signal that they have reached their adulthood. When Prophet Mohammed committed the mass-slaughter of the Jews of Bani Qurayza by killing all the adult males (the rest, women and children were taken as slaves), he used the growth of pubic hair as a mark of adulthood of young boys.
In modern civilized standard, Mohammed’s marriage to Aysha, and
his having sex with her at the age of nine, is a crime, called
pedophilia. However, Muslims call it an ordinary marriage, even a
Sunnah to be emulated by Muslims for all times. They even justify it
on the supposition that girls in hot countries tend to reach sexual
maturity faster than in cold countries of the West. Without any
evidence, Muslims assume that Aysha had a menstruation before her
marriage and conclude that Mohammed had sex with an adult, aged
nine! This justification by Muslims is an indication of what they
understand as maturity; it is simply sexual maturity and has nothing
to do with the mind.
The Islamic definition of maturity means that many children,
particularly girls as young as nine years of age, may be treated as
adults, because their menstrual cycles start early. Reaching
adulthood is an important turning point in the lives of those
children and involves fundamental changes in all aspects of their
lives because it affects their religious duties such as performing
prayers and fasting.
Muslims teach their children about the Satan, hell and paradise from the moment they start to communicate with them. These teachings are used as a means to discipline the children and encourage them to be obedient to parents. One of the first words Arab children learn is ‘haram’ meaning forbidden by Allah; indeed, it is one of the most commonly used words by the Arabs. From my own experience as an Arab, the peril of being burnt in hellfire was a real nightmare; it was used an intimidation tool by my elder relatives round the clock to make me listen to them, eat food, wash hands, do work, stop playing or go to bed.
As a child, I had a troubling feeling of guilt because I appeared to be doing wrong things most of the time. I had to struggle to suppress my worries that, unless I work very hard for the rest of my life, my ‘hasanat’ (good doings) vs. ‘sayaat’ (sins) balance may send me to hell. I was not the only child to have such concerns; other children had similar qualms, which we occasionally discussed with each other! Childhood is about playing and having fun with no worries whatsoever. However, Muslim children, even from the preschool age, have a great deal to worry about this life and the life after this. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to figure out that children do not go to hell anyway in Islam; it was, however, a little too late, because I had already grown up.
One of the most irrational things a Muslim child has to do is to
memorize the Quran by heart. I consider myself to be lucky, because,
in my days, we were only expected to memorize only a few chapters
from the Quran, albeit from the last pages of the Koran that are in
the difficult Meccan-style language. Nowadays, thanks to the
resurgence of Islamic awareness, children are increasingly required
to remember the whole Quran by heart! Memorizing an entire book,
often in a foreign language and without understanding it, affects
the child’s abilities to comprehend anything else. This memorizing
ritual says it all about the Muslims' intellectual reasoning: read
everything but understand nothing.
Ibadat: Prayers and Fasting
In theory, all ibadat, like prayers and fasting, are obligatory only to mature Muslims. However, parents are required, not only to teach, but also to force their children to perform those ibadat. According to Bukhari and Muslim and all other hadith books, Mohammed’s order is crystal clear in this regard: “teach your children how to pray from the age of seven, and beat them (if they don’t do it well) at the age of ten”.
Fortunately for me, my parents were not that keen and they did not beat me at all. However, an increasing number of Muslim parents nowadays do beat their children if they don’t pray. Only a few months ago, I heard of a Muslim professional with high level of education and good social standing, who was applying this Islamic rule on all his children. He was caught only when his eleven-year-old son suffered from serious injuries. The real shock, however, is that he is not alone, all strict Muslims would not hesitate to do it and they get away with it.
Young Muslim children in western schools perform prayers and do fasting, which can harm them. The schools do not only allow the children to suffer because of this practice but they also encourage it by providing the special time and special facilities. Soon, the fasting month of Ramadan will fall in the summer months with its long days, in some countries that means about eighteen hours of starvation! I know a Muslim who performs all five daily prayers in the mosque, which is about twenty minutes drive, he wakes up early in the morning to start his journey to the mosque, accompanied by his 14 years old son!
Do the western child protection organizations have the courage to
protect these children from such suffering?
Muslim children are not allowed to join the others and enjoy the fun of playing with dolls or figures because Islam prohibits images of humans or animals. They are not allowed to watch popular children cartoons like the notorious Micky mouse, against which many fatwas have been issued. In Saudi Arabia, they discourage children from committing the sin of painting human or animal figures unless they draw a line across the neck as a sign that the figure has no life in it!
Hijab and the Islamic outfit
Muslim women suffer because of Hijab although they wouldn’t admit it. It is a religious stigma that tells the others everything about her beliefs without even talking to her and works like a declaration that the bearer has to be treated differently. Hijab and Islamic dress produces an isolated and psychologically traumatized woman because it denies women their own feminine instincts of showing their hair and beauty.
It is common to see young Muslim girls with hijab and full
Islamic outfit even in the primary schools. Those young children
suffer unconsciously because of their Islamic dress. They become
aware of their sexuality from an early age and look at the other
males as sexual predators. In addition to the psychological damage,
the Islamic dress is an unhealthy dress. During the summer months,
hijab and the rest of the Islamic dress are uncomfortable and can
become embarrassingly smelly because of the excessive sweating.
Recently, there have been many reports about the high incidence of
the bone disease (rickets) in Muslim women because of their lack of
exposure to sunlight which is essential to produce vitamin D, the
lack of which causes bone disease.
Violence and Suicide bombing
Muslim children are indoctrinated to believe they are victims of world conspiracy that aims to eliminate them. They are regularly fed on the horrific and disturbing scenes of injuries, blood and death that even adults cannot watch. These children have learned Quranic verse 2:120 that tells them all about this secret world conspiracy: “.. the Jews and the Christians will never be happy about you unless you follow them...”
Having told the Muslims that everyone in the world hates them, the Quran now emphasises in a number of places that Muslims must never trust or befriend the others, like this verse 4:89 “ ....take them and kill them wherever you find them and choose no friends or helpers from them..”
The Quran repeats its orders in a dozen places; the message is important and clear: never trust the unbelievers no matter how nice they may appear to you, even if they were close family members. Verse 9:23 leaves no doubt about the gravity of this message of hate: “...O believers, do not take your fathers or brothers as allies and friends if they prefer to disbelieve...”
Do not be friendly with your father or brothers! So much for the family values in Islam.
Muslim children are often indoctrinated from an early stage to aspire to become martyrs; they have sometimes been used as suicide bombers. Hamas has pioneered the practice of using
young children as frontline soldiers during the Palestinian intifada. The Iranian clerical regime have created child-martyrs brigade. The basic human instinct, the civilized human responsibility, is to protect children during conflicts and wars; but the Islamists have reversed this natural human propensity and responsibility for pushing children to the front lines armed with stones, and sometimes explosive belts, to kill and be killed.
The shia Muslims mourn the death of Al Imam Al Hussain on ashoura
day by going to the streets and start beating their chests. They use
tools such as knives and swords to self inflict injuries and cause
bloodshed, the scenes of blood and sufferings are not for the weak
hearted. Shia children do not only see all this but sometimes they
are also made to participate in it.
Muslims’ marriages to non Muslims are always fragile marriages because they are built on lies. Most of these relations tend to involve North African or Asian Muslims. Of course, it is always a Muslim husband and a non Muslim wife, because it cannot happen the other way round. Also it is almost always a dark skinned Muslim who marries a white woman, because those Muslims consider white skin on a woman as a sign of beauty. Muslim families may love to see one of their sons bringing home a white European woman; this is often seen as a good achievement. In theory, the non Muslim wife can keep her religion but her children must be raised as Muslims. In any case there is usually tremendous pressure on her to convert sooner rather than later. Conversion makes it easier for the family to tame a stranger woman with a different culture. The typical scenario involves projecting Islam as a religion of peace and good family values that is based on the Quran, which is the unchanged words of Allah. The Quran is described to her as a book of amazing miracles and language beauty but it is a misfortune that she doesn’t speak the language to enjoy all those wonderful beauties!
A converted wife is easier to adapt to Muslims’ culture and easier to control using her new religion as a means of discipline. A converted woman soon discovers the lies and the marriage falls apart, which reflects badly on the children because they must be separated from their mother. The Islamic law very strictly ‘protects’ children from being raised by infidels and requires their separation from their mothers. This is a tragedy that is happening everyday all over the world.
The above are only some of the Islamic practices that would normally provoke outrage in the west and described as child abuse. The western countries have already accepted those children in their countries and are under moral obligation to protect them from the practices of Islam. The alternative is to raise children with a jaundiced view of the world who may grow up only to become suicide bombers.
Mumin Salih is a Middle Eastern ex-Muslim.