Advocates for human rights are troubled with the Nigerian government's plan to go ahead with the whipping of a 17 year-old unmarried mother. She's to receive 80 lashes for engaging in premarital sex and another 100 for claiming the father of her child was one of three local men and being unable to provide proof. Sharia, the strict enforcement of early Islamic law, was also in the news this past week as Iranian women were whipped for attending New Year's Eve parties, and two Nigerian men got caned for being caught drinking alcohol in public. I don't understand early Islamic law with its beating of chicks and drunks. Just like those Boston College basketball players a few hours after upsetting 10th-ranked University of Connecticut Wednesday night--it's just unnecessary violence.
Nigeria has recently begun to implement Sharia and has already whipped and caned several various offenders, as well as amputating the hand of an alleged thief. Sharia is regarded as those rules of conduct not mentioned in Muslim scripture (The Koran), but deemed current during the period of its composition and the following two centuries. Apparently women plucking their eyebrows is a "great sin" according to Sharia. It remains to be seen if Boston College approves of one of its oversized basketball players pushing a woman in the head over an empty barstool. This case may drag on for a while.
The Nigerian unmarried mother who's scheduled to be whipped, Bariya Ibrahim Magazu, is undoubtedly a Muslim, though apparently takes issue with following certain dictates of her faith, such as no premarital sex. According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. at least 50 percent of Nigerian women have undergone a clitoridectomy or female genital mutilation, sometimes euphemistically referred to as female circumcision. I don't know for sure if Magazu was subjected to mutilation as a young girl, but chances are she was. Men like to control women. Sometimes with a blade, a rock, or with their hands.
In the West female circumcision is a medical procedure performed when a woman's labia interferes with orgasm. The operation reduces the folds and exposes the clitoris, which encourages stimulation. Just the opposite is practiced in many Muslim countries (though to be fair, some non-Muslim ones as well). A woman's sexual pleasure is feared and at a young age her clitoris is hacked off or gouged out with a rock. If the culture is especially cruel, other genital mutilations follow. Raphael Patai (Sex and Family in the Bible and the Middle East, New York: Doubleday, 1959, p. 204) writes: "In societies where female circumcision is practiced, it is regarded as shameful for a woman to remain uncircumcised. A favorite curse in Oman is, 'Oh, you misbegotten of an uncircumcised mother!'" The men of Oman (and elsewhere) wish to believe their mothers engaged in sex only for procreation and not for pleasure. [Note: Though tempted, I'm not going to make the stretch to Boston College chicks with this one.]
That infection resulting from rancid smegma initially inspired male genital mutilation seems certain. The men of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam continue to follow Abraham's example and offer the foreskins of their sons as a covenant. Female genital mutilation is not mentioned in anyone's scripture and seems a gruesome, secular tradition of controlling a woman's sexuality. Patai comments (p. 201, see above): [From Ex 4:26] "Zipporah's expression, 'hatan damin' (bridegroom of blood), re-echoes in the Arabic term for circumcision, Khatn or khitan, derived from the same Semitic root verb which in its Hebrew form means to perform marriage, while in its Arabic form it denotes to perform circumcision." Marriage and mutilation? With the modern concept of hygiene male circumcision is becoming increasingly difficult to justify. Female genital mutilation has been and remains a sick act. It's not violence against women per se, such as demonstrated by a Boston College basketball player, but violence against little girls. Anyone who doesn't scream out over this obscenity is either a coward or worse.
The large fines and/or flogging inflicted on the recent partying women in Iran is viewed as progress. Iran is attempting to modernize, but retain Islamic faithfulness. The women could have been tortured and killed. In this light some see 20 lashes as a step forward. Consensual spanking is currently being considered by feminists as potentially non-degrading to women. The newsgroup, soc.sexuality.spanking, seems a friendly enough place and would probably welcome Iranian women. [Note: AOL-users are not allowed to subscribe to this newsgroup, though they can read and contribute to alt.personals.spanking.]
The Islamic proscription against alcohol is small beer and little different from Mormons against hot beverages and the U.S. government disallowing the medical usage of marijuana. Though the Nigerians beating a Christian for drunkenness could portend worse things down the path.
One needn't reflect long to name recent examples involving sports, sex, and violence. The egos involved continue to disturb most of us (O.J. and Tyson have their supporters). Whatever the degree of the crime involved it all comes down to violence against women. Nonconsensual violence.
Though I regard the Boston College basketball player who pushed a young woman's head as a punk in the first row, the three Nigerian men who allegedly had sex with Magazu (apparently when she was 15-16 years old) and now sit back quietly while she gets an extra 100 lashes for not being able to prove which of them is the father, are all punks at the head of the class. Justice? Often it's anything but A Wonderful Life.
Much of Islamic Sharia is described as against basic human rights by the United Nations. Someday, when enough insist, it will end. The Boston College basketball players? Suspension? Kicked from the team? And the next rude, drunk jock who pushes a woman's head (or worse)? Tomorrow's outrage, perhaps.