What about marrying thirteen year olds?
The girl’s menstrual period is a natural sign that her body qualifies her for fertility, pregnancy, or reproduction. Islam does not contradict the natural aspect of life. Therefore, it does not oppose marriage at a younger age when the girl is naturally ready. However, American civil laws prohibit such marriage but could allow it in some states with parental consent and with the approval of a civil judge after verifying that the girl is qualified to wed.
This is the Islamic feminism that lurks behind the scenes of the placid life of All-American Muslim’s Dearborn, Michigan. When the cameras stop rolling, this is the religious authority that governs the lives of the “All-American Muslims” on the show. A man who praises the Butcher of Tehran and treats marital rape and wife beating as legitimate forms of behavior.
How does TLC feel about promoting a man who preaches such ugly doctrines? We’ll never know until they are actually challenged on it and until the show’s sponsors, which include Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Clinique are actually called upon to explain their relationship with the program.
The presence of Imam Abdul Latif Berry peels back the veil to reveal what is really underneath the smiling faces in their hijabs — a misogynistic religious authority that uses the Koran to demean and subjugate women. And Berry’s presence is a shadow on more than just the episode; it is a shadow on the entire premise of All-American Muslim.
All-American Muslim pretends that we can best learn about Islam, not by looking at a Koran, but at the ordinary lives of Muslims. But devout Muslims are not in charge of their own lives. It is men like Imam Berry who control their lives by controlling their religion.
Americans have grown used to taking decentralized religious authority for granted, but in Islam that is not the case; religious authority is not decentralized. Everything from deciding whether to beat your wife or to divorce her depends on the will and whim of men like Imam Berry.
We cannot understand what Islam in America means without also understanding the role played by Islamic religious authorities who are transforming their mosques into the nucleus of a theocracy. And so by the words of the Koran women are beaten, young girls are married off to older men and Sharia courts reduce women to the status of second-class citizens. All of this happens under the red, white and blue, and all of it is ignored or brushed aside in the name of tolerance.
There are two Islams in America. The ideal Islam and the real Islam. The ideal Islam is the religion of peace that so many Americans wish it could be. But the real Islam is the one that defines rules for beating your wife. And to look away from that Islam is to look away from the honor-killings and the subjugation of women.
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