WND and Joel Richardson Mislead on Child Bride Data

From Joel Richardson, last week at WND:

An article featured last week on CNN’s website by Samuel Burke highlighted the epidemic of child brides throughout the Islamic world. Burke’s article begins by discussing the marriage of Faiz, an 11-year-old girl, and Ghulam, a 40-year-old man, in Afghanistan.

…According to Burke, there are approximately 51 million such child brides in the world today.

…The report continues to show that while Muslim men are supposed to wait until their child brides reach puberty before consummating the marriage, the private testimony of many women is that few Muslim men, once married, actually wait.

The implication is that from Morocco to Malaysia, “51 million” prepubescent children are being raped by Muslim men, under the sanction of either law or custom.

Burke’s article refers to the work of Stephanie Sinclair, a photographer who has documented child brides. Here’s what he actually says, in context:

Before their wedding ceremony begins in rural Afghanistan, a 40-year-old man sits to be photographed with his 11-year-old bride… She is one of the 51 million child brides around the world today. And it’s not just Muslims; it happens across many cultures and regions.

Sinclair says while many Afghans told her the men would wait until puberty, women pulled her aside to tell her that indeed the men do have sex with the prepubescent brides. 

…In a Christian community in Ethiopia, she captured the image of a 14 year-old girl named Leyualem in a scene that looks like an abduction…

As regards Muslims, Burke’s anecdotes are drawn exclusively from Afghanistan and Yemen – two particularly underdeveloped parts of the Muslim world. Burke does not claim that there is an “epidemic… across the Muslim world”, and the “51 million” figure does not refer just to Muslims.

Further, it should be noted (and is this a point that Burke also fails to make clear) that the “51 million” actually refers to older adolescent girls rather than to younger children; the relevant source is a report from the International Center for Research on Women, entitled Too Young to Wed: The Lives, Rights, and Health of Young Married Girls:

Worldwide, there are more than 51 million adolescent girls aged 15–19 who are married and bearing the burden of domestic responsibility and the risks associated with early sexual activity, including pregnancy… Rates of early marriage are highest in West Africa, South Asia, and East and Central Africa, where approximately 30 percent or more of girls aged 15–19 are already married. Rates are also relatively high, but more moderate, in Central America and the Caribbean, where 20 percent of girls aged 15–19 are married, compared to 2–4 percent in North America, East Asia, and Western Europe.

A footnote explains that “figures provided on early marriage and related trends are from national Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in the corresponding country”. Also:

…It is difficult to obtain data on marital status or age at marriage among adolescents aged 10–14 because of the legal norms surrounding marriage and the fact that official statistics do not document illegal behavior; in some societies, the proportions of girls who are married when they are younger than 15 may not be insignificant.

The report considers the various causes of early marriage. The authors cite gender roles and a lack of alternatives; the value of virginity and fears about premarital sexual activity; marriage alliances and transactions; and the role of poverty. Richardson, however, sees no need to take any serious research on the subject into account; it is enough to assert that Muslims are simply emulating the behaviour of Muhammad in his marriage to Aisha:

…Why is the left so enraged when anyone mentions the truth with regard to Muhammad, who is so clearly the primary source of the child-rape-as-marriage practiced throughout many quarters of the world?

When given the option of offending Muhammad’s followers or standing with the most innocent little lambs this world knows, there is no option. People of moral courage simply cannot be silent any longer.

Of course, Richardson makes no mention of age of consent laws in Muslim countries, as that might dilute the disgust anger we should feel against “Muhammad’s followers”; George Readings drew attention to these laws in 2009:

…Marriage to a pre-pubescant child with whom consummation occurs upon reaching puberty is not a model most people would be happy with in the modern world (although Bolivia sets the age of consent at puberty).

Which is probably why nearly all Muslim countries have reformed these rules beyond recognition. The age of consent in Algeria and Malaysia is 16, in Indonesia it is 19 for males and 16 for females. In Egypt it’s 18 for both and Tunisia 20. Reform has not, however, come to Saudi Arabia. Back in April the world followed the case of a mother trying to obtain a divorce for her eight-year-old daughter who had been married off by her father to a friend he owed a debt. In the end she succeeded and now there is even talk of Saudi Arabia preventing marriage before the age of 18.

What a shame that Richardson appears to put less energy into providing truthful witness than he does into trying to discern signs of the coming Muslim Anti-Christ.

As an aside, it should also be remembered that a central story of the New Testament concerns a young teenage girl (in fact, perhaps as young as 12) who is allowed no control over her own fertility, and who is then married off to a man traditionally thought to be somewhat older than her. Is that something Christians should emulate?

UPDATE: As pingbacks indicate, the above post has caught the attention of the well-known Australian troll Werner Reimann (“Sheikh Yer’Mami”). Writing on his Winds of Jihad website, he claims that pointing out the above means that “Obviously, Richard (or is it ‘Dick’) supports pedophilia”, and that I might very soon end up “in a cell”. He also posts a photo of a Muslim girl which has been used previously as evidence of a mass child-wedding in Gaza; that story has been so thoroughly debunked that even WorldNetDaily made a minimal effort at damage control.

33 Responses

  1. […] WND and Joel Richardson Mislead on Child Bride Data Posted on August 25, 2012 by Richard Bartholomew […]

  2. […]  the pedophile supportin’ Bunglawussi sycophant Richard Bartholomew says that there are age of consent laws in Muslim countries that override the sharia we better believe this great scholar of morality. Who needs evidence to the […]

  3. Bartholomew tries to infer that my article was purposefully misleading statistically by virtue of not correcting the CNN article (which he admits was misleading), as well as not making mention that the article also references Christian child brides. His article had no substance.

    First, on the issue of the Ethiopian child-bride reference, of course any CNN article would have to infer that this is a widespread issue that crosses religious lines. But this is merely a smokescreen so as to not sound like they are bashing Islam. This is no different than any similar discussion of religious violence. Do some Christians become violent in the name of Christianity? Of course, but religious violence is now glaringly, overwhelmingly, committed by Muslims globally. To mention the fraction of Christians who also do violence in the name of their religion, as I said is nothing more than the smoke screen of a politically correct, and determined religious pluralist. The same is true, although perhaps far more so with the practice of marrying child-brides. Of course, the only way to prove my point would be to travel the world and document it. But the abundant anecdotal evidence that we already have for now should be enough to cause Bartholomew not to ignore it. His concern however, is not with victimized children, but with me and others like me. To Richard, I am the real danger in the earth.

    The elephant in the room, and the main point of my article, was simply that the widespread practice of marrying child brides throughout the Islamic world, can be directly tied to Muhammad. Yet no one will acknowledge this. Muhammad married a six year old girl when he was in his fifties. He is the supreme example for all Muslims. Simply because there are laws on the books in some countries, in no way means that they are followed. And they are not. As one mere anecdote, I have a close friend who just last week met a young girl aged 14, who is “married” to an older Muslim man here in the Midwest of the US. Of course, they are not legally married. Again, none in the western media would have the courage to make any reference to Muhammad in an article such as CNN’s. Yet this would have been an obvious point to make in any such discussion. My point is entirely valid, and Bartholomew’s article is a perfect example of the white-washing and deliberate blind eye that only allows this disgusting practice to continue in many quarters of the world.

    If Barth was so upset by “misleading” statistics, then he should have complained about the source, CNN. But again, this wouldn’t serve his true underlying agenda.

    • I thought you were better than this. Your data was inaccurate: pointing that out does not mean I wish to “white-wash” the practice of child marriage, or consider your errors to be “worse” than engaging in child marriage. You’re just throwing mud – and whipping up hatemongers like Reimann.

  4. As I said, if your primary contention is with the data, then your criticism should have been of CNN, and not myself. It is clear however, that this would not benefit your agenda, or the agenda of this blog. Your failure to at knowledge the legitimacy of my primary point, which is that in all of the earth, the history, the example, that Mohammed left behind for his followers, is the primary source of religiously sanctioned pedophilia. This is an extremely important issue. To ignore this, while nitpicking data, in my opinion is revealing, Richard.

    • Right, so you admit the data was flawed, but that doesn’t matter because the data ought to be correct based on what you perceive Muslims ought to believe. Even if they don’t.

      Incidentally, I don’t rule out the possibility that Muslims who seek to justify child marriage might refer to the example of Muhammad (just as Mormon polygamy was justified by the example of the Patriarchs). But the evidence suggests that in the majority of cases, the other causes highlighted by the International Center for Research on Women are the determining factors – hence why the problem is worst in Afghanistan and Yemen.

  5. The substantive difference between Richardson and Bartholomew is one that should not be that hard to resolve empirically. The question is, to what extent, quantitatively, is “child” marriage a problem in Islamic nations, including those nations that have a reasonable age of consent on the law books? And to what extent is child marriage a problem elsewhere?

    Nothing in Bartholomew’s article precludes the possibility that, say, 90% of marriage to prepubescent girls (whether legal or not) takes place in the Islamic world. But it might also be, say, 30%, or some other number. Actual numbers would make a huge difference in the discussion, and while one would not be able to achieve absolute precision, one should be able to determine fairly accurate numbers by collecting a sufficiently large number of news reports.

    As the debate between the two men now stands (I am judging only by Bartholomew’s article above, and Richardson’s comment above in response), I think both men have reasonable positions and sincerely believe in their positions.

    If one really wants to stop marriage to prepubescent or very young girls, then it would help to have more specific empirical information, because then we would not get into un-resolvable debates that lead nowhere but to meaningless polemical acrimony that pleases only the dark side of our natures.

  6. Addendum to my 8:00 pm comment above — I referred to Richardson’s “comment.” I now see he has left two comments. I was referring to Richardson’s 10:54am comment.

  7. Here’s a start with some numbers:

    “An Iranian NGO, the Society For Protecting The Rights of The Child, said 43,459 girls aged under 15 had married in 2009, compared with 33,383 three years previously. In 2010, 716 girls younger than 10 had wed, up from 449 the previous year, according to the organisation.”

    The above of course refers to Iran. It’s from this article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9500484/Alarm-as-hundreds-of-children-under-age-of-10-married-in-Iran.html

  8. Personally, it is largely irrelevant to my primary point if it is 51 million or 1 million. Either way, its a problem, that any two vaguely morally inclined people could agree on. Which is why your article is so worrying and why SheikYermami has a somewhat valid point. I never stated a number. I only relayed what CNN stated. Again, your contention is not with me, but with CNN. My contention is with what you choose to emphasize and what you choose to overlook.

  9. traeh: The question is, to what extent, quantitatively, is “child” marriage a problem in Islamic nations, including those nations that have a reasonable age of consent on the law books? And to what extent is child marriage a problem elsewhere?

    Even if most of the child marriages take place in “Islamic” nations, that doesn’t necessarily mean these unions take place BECAUSE of Islam. To insist that Islam is the only reason why girls are married off at an early age is to commit a post hoc fallacy. As such, Joel Richardson’s argument is fallacious, not to mention Islamophobic.

    Many Muslim nations are underdeveloped. As it happens, numerous studies have shown a relationship between underdevelopment and child marriages. For instance, child marriages are also significant in Nepal, a Hindu nation. Is Hindusim the cause for child marriages in Nepal? “Household poverty during childhood is associated with a higher likelihood that girls will marry early or join the workforce as adolescents rather than remain in school.” (Poverty, Marriage Timing, and Transitions to Adulthood in Nepal: A Longitudinal Analysis Using the Nepal Living Standards Survey).

    The study also references the findings of a UNICEF study which reveals that “that child marriage is
    most common among the poorest 20 percent of the population in a majority of developing
    countries” (p.7)

    The bottom line is, child marriages have more to do with underdevelopment than they have to with religion. As such, Richardson’s conclusions are not so much grounded in scientific evidence as they are in Islamophobia.

  10. I suppose Saudi Arabia would be one of those poorest countries.

  11. Joel Richardson, false prophet: I suppose Saudi Arabia would be one of those poorest countries.

    Let’s assume child marriages are solely due to religion in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Islam is the reason behind child marriages in the rest of the Muslim (and non-Muslim) world? Yeah right.

  12. The question should be put as such: Suppose we consider two groups of Muslim households. One of these is wealthy (middle income and above) the other impoverished (below the poverty line). Let’s assume that both groups are equally religious. Having controlled for religiosity, which group is more likely to have their daughters married off in the range of [9, 18) years?

  13. Wrong question. Suppose we have two men. One is wealthy and deeply devout. The other is a non-Muslim and poor. Which man is more likely to marry a child for his own sick pleasure while defending such in the name of his religion? It is Muhammad who is the false prophet. He doesn’t need your defense. It is the millions of little girls who people of genuine conscience should be defending.

  14. IbnAbuTalib, obviously there are other causes for child marriage. But it is also obvious that one significant cause for marriages of men to prepubescent girls is the example of Muhammad. Core Islamic texts say repeatedly that Muhammad, in his 50s, consummated the marriage with Aisha when she was 9 years old. That is why it happens in Saudi Arabia, in Iran, and is a major contributing factor in other Islamic countries where it happens.

  15. IbnAbuTalib, another point. The Arab Spring, which is leading to the rise of Islamic rule in those areas, will no doubt bring changes in official marriage laws in those nations, which will lower the legal age of marriage in response to the demands of Islamic clerics. I guess this is already starting to happen. And the lower the official legal age, the more will the authorities choose not to notice marriages with girls who are even younger than the legal age, and perhaps only 9, as Aisha was with Muhammad. Muhammad’s example, because it has been sacralized, can make it difficult for Islamic authorities to take action against such marriages — especially since Islamic clerics can mobilize the use of force and violence, since Muhammad sacralized those violence as well (as in jihad, or “holy war”).

  16. Joel Richardson: Wrong question. Suppose we have two men. One is wealthy and deeply devout. The other is a non-Muslim and poor. Which man is more likely to marry a child for his own sick pleasure while defending such in the name of his religion?

    Which type of devout Muslim: Sunni, Shia, Quran-only or Ahmadiya? If Sunni, what type of Sunni; Salafi or traditional or those who have the same methodology as Javed Ahmed Ghamidi? In terms of Aqeedah, would a Maturidi, Ashari, Mutazilite or Hanbali be more likely to support child marriage? If Shia, what type of Shia: twelver, Ismaili, Dawoodi Bohra, Nizari, etc.? If Quran-only, again, which type? Ahmadiya, which type?

    Now you tell me: Aren’t Catholic priests devout? How come most of such holy men molest boys? Protestants are not innocent either. Remember Ted Haggard? Or Jimmy Swaggart? As Jesus said, take the log out of your own eye first, you hypocritical, delusional, false prophet.

    traeh: IbnAbuTalib, obviously there are other causes for child marriage. But it is also obvious that one significant cause for marriages of men to prepubescent girls is the example of Muhammad.

    What is the evidence that the primary reason why child marriages take place in the Muslim world is PRIMARILY due to the example of Muhammad? Anecdotal evidence about how you know a person who knows a person who knows a Muslim man who married a young girl doesn’t count. I want scientific evidence-regression analyses that consider the influence of religion when estimating the incidence of child marriage.

    Please answer this question, considering the evidence I presented earlier. Suppose we consider two groups of Muslim households. One of these is wealthy (middle income and above) the other impoverished (below the poverty line). Let’s assume that both groups are equally religious. Having controlled for religiosity, which group is more likely to have their daughters married off in the range of [9, 18) years?

    traeh: IbnAbuTalib, another point. The Arab Spring, which is leading to the rise of Islamic rule in those areas, WILL NO DOUBT bring changes in official marriage laws in those nations

    WILL NO DOUBT? See that’s an example of circular reasoning. You have certain prejudices about Islam, and on the basis of those predictions, not only are you discounting the evidence for child marriage, insisting instead that child marriage is primarily due to religion when the evidence shows otherwise, but you are also using your biased view of Muslims to make grim predictions about the Muslim world. Get back to me when you have a real argument.

    • IbnAbuTalib,
      You said,
      “Which type of devout Muslim: Sunni, Shia, Quran-only or Ahmadiya? If Sunni, what type of Sunni; Salafi or traditional or those who have the same methodology as Javed Ahmed Ghamidi? In terms of Aqeedah, would a Maturidi, Ashari, Mutazilite or Hanbali be more likely to support child marriage? If Shia, what type of Shia: twelver, Ismaili, Dawoodi Bohra, Nizari, etc.? If Quran-only, again, which type? Ahmadiya, which type?”

      The implication of your question is that Islam is all diversity, no unity. You imply that in all the Islamic diversity of groups, one cannot point to any significant unity of belief or practice.

      But the mere fact that you can point to diversity does not show that there are no common patterns informing all that diversity. Indeed, there are many commonalities to some extent present within all that diversity. You choose to ignore that.

      For example, the four main Sunni schools of Islamic law prevalent in varying degrees in different parts of the world do not differ that much among each other. A proof of this is that a Muslim student of Islamic jurisprudence can switch from one of the four schools to another without being called an apostate.

      Another example of unity in Islamic diversity:

      Check out these bar charts from the international human rights organization Freedom House. The bar chart for the Middle East/North Africa — the core Islamic region — shows it to be by far the most unfree area in the world. And even if one looks outside the core region, to, say, Indonesia, which is sometime touted as an example of how Islam and freedom can go together, one finds in Indonesia that one must have a religious identity card, that one can go to jail for proselytizing religion (though Islam gets a free pass on this), and that Sharia law is making strong inroads into one of the important provinces of Indonesia.

      Now, admittedly, the horrible state of human rights in the core Islamic region of the world merely establishes a correlation between Islam and an atrocious state of human rights — correlation does not prove that Islam is the cause. But in addition to the strong correlation, I think there is ample evidence to show that Islam is indeed the causal factor.

      For example, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (formerly the Organization of the Islamic Conference) — a 56 nation group of states most of which are majority-Muslim, some of which merely have substantial Muslim populations — in large part rejected the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, and promulgated in its stead the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights, which says that Sharia law has final authority in determining what shall be considered a human right. Under Sharia, freedom of speech is severely limited (direct public criticism of Muhammad is punishable by death); freedom of conscience is hobbled (public leaving of Islam is punishable by death); and so on.

      So pointing to the diversity of different names or regions for Islamic groups proves nothing. There can be and often are various kinds of unity within diversity. That really is so obvious it’s pathetic that it needs to be stated. But when someone has an agenda, he will adopt the first half-baked argument that comes to hand, no matter how superficial it is upon even cursory examination.

  17. […] End-Times Prophet Confirms Facts “Irrelevant” When Discussing IslamIbnAbuTalib on WND and Joel Richardson Mislead on Child Bride DataAdrian Morgan on Marko Attila Hoare on Douglas Murray and the Henry Jackson SocietyRichard […]

  18. IbnAbuTalib,
    You said,

    “Now you tell me: Aren’t Catholic priests devout? How come most of such holy men molest boys? Protestants are not innocent either. Remember Ted Haggard? Or Jimmy Swaggart? As Jesus said, take the log out of your own eye first, you hypocritical, delusional, false prophet.”

    You overlook the key point. There is nothing in Jesus’ teachings or behavior that in any way supports the criminal behavior of certain Christian priests who have secretly molested children. Those priests were not following any of Christ’s teachings — when found out, they go to jail. But core Islamic texts say Muhammad himself, (in his fifties) consummated his marriage to Aisha when she was nine (lunar) years old.

    Thus Islam’s chief exemplar, Muhammad, to some extent sacralized marriage of old men to 9 year old girls. Thus large numbers of Muslims around the globe, while they would not marry a 9 year old themeselves, do not consider Muslim men who marry 9 year olds by any means to be criminals. Christian priests must hide it when they molest children, and go to jail when found out. But in Iran and Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, marrying a 9 year old is not a criminal act. You choose to ignore these absolutely essential distinctions between the two religions.

  19. IbnAbuTalib,

    You said,

    “What is the evidence that the primary reason why child marriages take place in the Muslim world is PRIMARILY due to the example of Muhammad?”

    Show me where in any comment I said that was the “primary” reason. If you read my comments, you will see I said it was “a significant” reason. It may or may not be the “primary” reason. But I’ll tell you this. In places like Iran and Saudi Arabia, Muhammad’s example certainly is the primary reason. Those are not poor Sub-Saharan countries, and Iran was, at least until recently, a rather educated country. So one cannot attribute marriage of old men to 9 year old girls to poverty or educational backwardness in those cases. And in other parts of the Islamic world, insofar as marriage to 9 year old girls persists, Muhammad’s example is a significant reason, even if not the primary one.

    “An Iranian NGO, the Society For Protecting The Rights of The Child, said 43,459 girls aged under 15 had married in 2009, compared with 33,383 three years previously. In 2010, 716 girls younger than 10 had wed, up from 449 the previous year, according to the organisation.”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9500484/Alarm-as-hundreds-of-children-under-age-of-10-married-in-Iran.html

    It should be noted that when reform-minded parts of Middle-Eastern Muslim societies try to raise the legal age of marriage, Islamic clerics are often the ones to declare that the legal age must not be raised and that to do so is not Islamic. In Egypt, not long ago, Islamic clerics demanded that the legal age of marriage be lowered from 18 to 14. And that having happened, it will be all the easier for authorities to wink at marriages to 9 year old girls.

  20. IbnAbuTalib,

    You said,
    “Please answer this question, considering the evidence I presented earlier. Suppose we consider two groups of Muslim households. One of these is wealthy (middle income and above) the other impoverished (below the poverty line). Let’s assume that both groups are equally religious. Having controlled for religiosity, which group is more likely to have their daughters married off in the range of [9, 18) years?”

    All this question points to is that poverty and backwardness are a factor in marriages to very young girls. It does not show that Muhammad’s example is not also a significant reason for the practice of marrying 9 year old girls. Besides, Iran and Saudi Arabia are not poor nations. Iran is relatively educated. In those countries, Muhammad’s example is not merely a significant reason for men marrying 9-year old girls. The primary reason for marriages of adult men to 9 year old girls in those countries is Muhammad’s example of marrying Aisha when she was 9 and he was in his 50s.

  21. IbnAbuTalib,

    You quoted me saying “The Arab Spring, which is leading to the rise of Islamic rule in those areas, will no doubt bring changes in official marriage laws in those nations, which will lower the legal age of marriage in response to the demands of Islamic clerics.”

    You then say,

    “WILL NO DOUBT? See that’s an example of circular reasoning. ”

    Well, you can disagree with the statement. But to call it circular reasoning is an error. In my statement there was no “if x, therefore x”. The statement was not presented as a logical sequence, much less a tautology. The statement was merely a prediction. You can disagree with the prediction, but to call it circular reasoning is incorrect.

    You said,

    “You have certain prejudices about Islam, and on the basis of those predictions, not only are you discounting the evidence for child marriage, insisting instead that child marriage is primarily due to religion…”

    When you wrote the immediately above sentence, all I had ever written was that Muhammad’s consummation of marriage with a 9-year old girl was “a significant” reason for the continuation of that practice in parts of a number of Islamic countries. I had not said anything about “primary.” In fact, only after you started accusing me of calling it “primary” did I qualify my statement and say that in Iran and Saudi Arabia, Muhammad’s example is the primary reason for marriage to 9 year old girls. Those places are not poor, and Iran is pretty well-educated. So other factors cannot be blamed. Muhammad can.

  22. IbnAbuTalib,

    You said,

    “You have certain prejudices about Islam…”

    First, let me say that I love Muslims and know they are lovable peoples. I love them enough to want them to come to some other religion, either to Christ or to any other of the great religions — or even to atheism or agnosticism.

    I may have some inaccurate prejudices against Islam and Muhammad. If so, I hope time and further study will reveal them. But what I do know is that in the Islamic core texts, Muhammad’s behavior and words are often portrayed in ways that are horrifying, and surely are evil. I know there are some good things in Islam — but mostly the good in it is not Muhammad or Islam itself, but the Muslims as human beings.

    When I refer to evil in the Islamic core texts, I am referring to those texts collected and referenced here, for example:

    http://www.quotingislam.blogspot.com

    If one reads with an open mind through all of those texts listed in the right hand column of that website, I think one should be horrified at what they contain. I think they show that Islam is not like any of the other great religions, all of which have flaws, but none such dark flaws as those in Islam. Further, the state of human rights in the Islamic world only confirms the malign influence of the core Islamic texts. And polls of Muslims’ views around the world further confirm the malign influence of Islam on the way many Muslims view the world. I hope love will bring Muslims out of Islam to Christ or to other religions or even to atheism. I know that Muslims are wonderful people, worthy of much love. I know that growing up as a Muslim can have some wonderful aspects. But on the whole, Islam as a teaching is false, destructive, and enslaving of the human being. So I lovingly tell you that I pray you will join the rest of humanity and leave Islam. I’m not asking anyone to abandon his beloved Muslim friends or family — I’m asking people to leave Islam as a religion.

  23. traeh, your first response can be summarized as: Islam may be diverse but there are common elements such as, among other things, that most Muslim nations rank low on human rights on the basis of which you assert a correlation between Islam and diminished human rights. You then go on to say that the correlation is actually a causation because OIC rejected the UN human rights declaration in favor of Sharia Law. Since you have presupposed Shariah Law to be inherently anti-human rights, and as Sharia Law is a subset of Islam, therefore Islam must be the cause of low human rights in Muslim countries!

    Nevermind that most Muslim nations belong to the Third World, and human rights are generally low where underdevelopment reigns. Just because these nations happen to be Muslim, Islam is responsible. Talk about post hoc fallacy! Is Islam also responsible for the lack of human rights in China, Russia and Cuba, among others? Why is Islam responsible for the lack of human rights in Muslim nations whereas socio/economic/government factors explain the sad state of affairs in the aforementioned countries?

    Evidently, your reasoning is circular. “Muslim nations suck because of Islam. Islam is bad because Muslim nations suck”.

    Even after all this, my response to Joel remains unanswered. Which type of Muslim is more likely to support and encourage child marriage?

  24. traeh: You overlook the key point. There is nothing in Jesus’ teachings or behavior that in any way supports the criminal behavior of certain Christian priests who have secretly molested children.

    I will digress from the topic of child marriage to address the claim that there is nothing in Jesus’ teaching that would accommodate child molestation. False. In Matthew 5:39, Jesus orders Christians to not resist the advances of evil people. If the advances of evil people are not to be resisted, and priests who molest are evil, then Christian boys who are approached by horny priests should, as good Christians, not resist such evil people and, consequently, allow themselves to be molested, sadly. Now let’s get back to the topic.

    traeh: Islam’s chief exemplar, Muhammad, to some extent sacralized marriage of old men to 9 year old girls. Thus large numbers of Muslims around the globe, while they would not marry a 9 year old themeselves, do not consider Muslim men who marry 9 year olds by any means to be criminals.

    The claim that Muhammad married a nine year old is only supported by Sunni sources, and many Sunnis doubt the authenticity of the reports about Aisha’s age when she was betrothed to the Prophet. In any case, are we to believe that Sunnis are more likely to be accommodating of child marriages than non-Sunnis? If so, which kind of Sunnis? Also, if there are Muslims who reject that idea that Islam approves of child marriages, then to what extent is Islam as a whole responsible?

    traeh: “An Iranian NGO, the Society For Protecting The Rights of The Child, said 43,459 girls aged under 15 had married in 2009, compared with 33,383 three years previously. In 2010, 716 girls younger than 10 had wed, up from 449 the previous year, according to the organisation.”

    The same article also says, “Financial poverty of the families leads to children’s marriages. However, cultural poverty and ignorance is also an element,” Mr Yazdani told the semi-official Mehr news agency.” Barth has already blogged on this issue here http://barthsnotes.com/2012/08/30/glenn-becks-end-times-prophet-confirms-facts-irrelevant-when-discussing-islam/

    Another thing about Iran, they are predominantly Shiites. Shiites are not fond of Aisha…at all. To say that in Iran marriages to nine year olds are “approved” because of Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha is extremely misleading.

    In response to my inquiry about the impact of wealth (and a lack thereof) on child marriage when religion is held constant, your reply was”All this question points to is that poverty and backwardness are a factor in marriages to very young girls. It does not show that Muhammad’s example is not also a significant reason for the practice of marrying 9 year old girls.”

    Hardly. The statistical evidence has established a causation between poverty and child marriages, something that is true of both Muslim and non-Muslim nations. On the basis of this, the assertion that Muhammad, rather than poverty, is responsible for girls getting married so young is hardly believable to the rational man.

    Now Saudi is not a poor nation. Nevertheless, in light of the empirical evidence, it is worth knowing whether child marriages are more characteristic of impoverished Saudis than of the opulent ones.

  25. traeh: First, let me say that I love Muslims and know they are lovable peoples. I love them enough to want them to come to some other religion, either to Christ or to any other of the great religions — or even to atheism or agnosticism.

    Yeah right. A Muslim’s identity is rooted in Islam. You hate Islam. If you hate Islam, then how can you love someone who embodies (to whatever extent) Islam ? Now you may respond by saying that you love Muslims as fellow human beings but not specifically as human beings who identify with Islam. If so, then you don’t really love Muslims!

    Regarding your passion for Muslims to convert to some other religion, I am reminded of the Quranic verse, “Never will the Jews or Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion”. How true!

    traeh: But what I do know is that in the Islamic core texts, Muhammad’s behavior and words are often portrayed in ways that are horrifying, and surely are evil. I know there are some good things in Islam — but mostly the good in it is not Muhammad or Islam itself, but the Muslims as human beings.

    See what I mean? The good that Muslims do don’t have anything to do with Islam; they are just being good human beings. But you are quick to pin the blame on Islam for the bad that Muslims do. You also make the contradictory statement that there are good things in Islam but they are not due to Muhammad or Islam itself!

    traeh: When I refer to evil in the Islamic core texts, I am referring to those texts collected and referenced here, for example

    By core Islam texts, you only mean Sunni texts? Even as you read these texts, you bypass the 1400 years (and continuing) of rich and diverse scholarship that has sought to understand these texts. It is as if all one needs to do in order to be an expert on Islam is simply read the Quran or some hadith books!

    traeh: If one reads with an open mind through all of those texts listed in the right hand column of that website, I think one should be horrified at what they contain. I think they show that Islam is not like any of the other great religions, all of which have flaws, but none such dark flaws as those in Islam.

    Are the findings as horrifying as what one would find in the Old Testament, or more?

    traeh: Further, the state of human rights in the Islamic world only confirms the malign influence of the core Islamic texts.

    Oh please! You have already admitted that Islam has no influence on the good that Muslims do, only the bad. Based on this vacuous presupposition, you attribute the wrongs in the Muslim world to Islam. That’s circular reasoning at its best.

    traeh: And polls of Muslims’ views around the world further confirm the malign influence of Islam on the way many Muslims view the world.

    Actually, polls show that Christian-Americans and Israeli Jews are more likely to support killing of civilians than Muslims. See here http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/08/surveys-show-muslims-in-every-country-less-likely-to-justify-killing-civilians-than-americans-and-israelis/

    traeh: So I lovingly tell you that I pray you will join the rest of humanity and leave Islam. I’m not asking anyone to abandon his beloved Muslim friends or family — I’m asking people to leave Islam as a religion.

    You’re an idiot. As simple as that. Please, please, I am lovingly telling you to get back to me when you have a decent response to my arguments.

  26. IbnAbuTalib,

    I said, I know there are some good things in Islam — but mostly the good in it is not Muhammad or Islam itself, but the Muslims as human beings.
    You respond and say my statement means:
    The good that Muslims do don’t have anything to do with Islam;

    I use the word “mostly.” You turn that into “don’t have anything to do with.”

    You are either not reading carefully, or you are being intentionally deceptive.

    You say:
    You also make the contradictory statement that there are good things in Islam but they are not due to Muhammad or Islam itself!

    Again, I said “mostly” not due to Muhammad and Islam, so there is no contradiction.

    You said,
    Are the findings as horrifying as what one would find in the Old Testament, or more?

    Islam’s core texts contain open-ended commands for Muslims to make war on unbelievers and subjugate the whole world under Islamic law. The Old Testament contains no such commands.

    But let’s suppose for the sake of argument that the Old Testament is exactly as violent and totalitarian as the core texts of Islam, or even more violent. Today there are only about 15 million Jews in the world, whereas there are about 100 times as many Muslims. Thus even if Jews wanted to, they could not impose a totalitarian system on the whole world. Muslims, while they can’t succeed at such a goal either, can certainly accomplish a lot in that direction. In fact, even in societies where Muslims are a minority, they have already done a great deal to silence freedom of speech by means of violent intimidation of major public institutions and public figures. This link goes to a long list of links to many, many news stories in which public figures and institutions admit to self-censorship in response to death threats and violence from Muslims.

    You are not arguing in good faith, but simply trying to win at all costs, a tiresome game I don’t wish to play. So I will simply quote your own core texts, which speak for themselves:

    In a core Islamic text, Muhammad says there is to be no punishment for murdering someone who insults him

    From Sunan Abu-Dawud, a canonical hadith collection:
    Book 38, Number 4348:

    Narrated Abdullah Ibn Abbas:

    A blind man had a slave-mother [a slave who bore children for him] who used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. He [the blind man] forbade her but she did not stop. He rebuked her but she did not give up her habit. One night she began to slander the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and abuse him. So he [the blind man] took a dagger, placed it on her belly, pressed it, and killed her. A child who came between her legs was smeared with the blood that was there. When the morning came, the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) was informed about it.

    He assembled the people and said: I adjure by Allah the man who has done this action and I adjure him by my right to him that he should stand up. Jumping over the necks of the people and trembling the man stood up.

    He sat before the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and said: Apostle of Allah! I am her master; she used to abuse you and disparage you. I forbade her, but she did not stop, and I rebuked her, but she did not abandon her habit. I have two sons like pearls from her, and she was my companion. Last night she began to abuse and disparage you. So I took a dagger, put it on her belly and pressed it till I killed her.

    Thereupon the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Oh be witness, no retaliation is payable for her blood.

    Another canonical hadith:

    Sunan Abu-Dawud, Book 38, Number 4349:

    Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib:

    A Jewess used to abuse the Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) and disparage him. A man strangled her till she died. The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) declared that no recompense was payable for her blood.

  27. IbnAbuTalib,

    You said,

    “Nevermind that most Muslim nations belong to the Third World, and human rights are generally low where underdevelopment reigns. Just because these nations happen to be Muslim, Islam is responsible. Talk about post hoc fallacy! Is Islam also responsible for the lack of human rights in China, Russia and Cuba, among others? Why is Islam responsible for the lack of human rights in Muslim nations whereas socio/economic/government factors explain the sad state of affairs in the aforementioned countries?”

    You assume that if there is one cause for poor human rights protection, there cannot be other causes, too. But that is obviously false. Since it is obvious, it seems you are arguing in bad faith, deliberately choosing not to see the obvious, so you can win, regardless of the truth.

    The main cause that China, Russia, and Cuba are underdeveloped is that they have all long been subject to dictatorial ideologies — communism (in the case of Russia, still subject to the aftereffects of 2 or 3 generations of communism).

    You also do not notice that underdevelopment, which you yourself admit the Islamic world and the communist world have in common, has causes, in particular, adherence to dictatorial ideologies, like Islam and communism:

    Islam closes minds

    From p.82 of the United Nations Arab Human Development Report, 2003:

    “[In the Arab world] The aggregate total of translated books from the Al-Ma’moon era [over 1000 years ago] to the present day amounts to 10,000 books – equivalent to what Spain translates in a single year.

  28. traeh: I use the word “mostly.” You turn that into “don’t have anything to do with.”

    So tell me, what good things have you seen Muslims do that you believe reflects the teachings of Muhammad?

    traeh: Islam’s core texts contain open-ended commands for Muslims to make war on unbelievers and subjugate the whole world under Islamic law. The Old Testament contains no such commands.

    What are the core texts of Islam? Is it the Quran alone, or the Quran, hadith, Sirah and the writings of jurists? If hadith, which collection, the Sunni, Shia, the Ibadi, etc.? As for the argument that Islam declares a perennial war on unbelievers, as if Islam is a person that is capable of talking!, read the following http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/05/the-but-thats-just-the-old-testament-cop-out/

    traeh: But let’s suppose for the sake of argument that the Old Testament is exactly as violent and totalitarian as the core texts of Islam, or even more violent. Today there are only about 15 million Jews in the world, whereas there are about 100 times as many Muslims. Thus even if Jews wanted to, they could not impose a totalitarian system on the whole world.

    Are you unaware about the plethora of nuclear weapons Israel has? How many Muslim nations come close to what Israel, or for that matter majority Christian nations such as the USA, UK, etc. possess? Which nations have a greater likelihood of subjugating others, ones with nuclear weapons or ones without? Think traeh, think!

    traeh: You are not arguing in good faith, but simply trying to win at all costs, a tiresome game I don’t wish to play

    That’s coming from somebody who is desperate for Muslims to leave Islam. And I am being accused of bad faith! Take the log out of your eye first!

    traeh: In a core Islamic text, Muhammad says there is to be no punishment for murdering someone who insults him

    In the Old Testament, there’s a story about a group of boys who were mauled by a bear simply because they made fun of Elisha’s baldness. The essence of this story is, God’s prophets are not to be made fun of, dire consequences await those who make fun of them. Now if Muhammad was God’s prophet, and assuming the hadith is true, would such a punishment be theologically considered out of line?

    traeh: You also do not notice that underdevelopment, which you yourself admit the Islamic world and the communist world have in common, has causes, in particular, adherence to dictatorial ideologies, like Islam and communism:

    Why is Islam responsible for underdevelopment say, in Yemen, but not in Malaysia, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, etc.?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *