[ by Charles Cameron -- Islamic rulings, women, delta blues ]
By my count, this is my 250th post on Zenpundit, and I wanted to honor the occasion with a post that would be unusually scholarly and to the point — something that would increase our understanding of the nuances of jihadist thinking, or something of the kind. But you know, somehow I got sandbagged along the way.
I’m recovering from the shingles, which is a painful business and leaves a trail of neuralgia that can apparently last for months, I’m taking the kind of anti-pain medication where you’re not allowed to control heavy machinery, and frankly I’m just a bit woozy. So I do have several serious posts in preparation, but I can’t seem to think straight enough to post them as yet.
So let’s get to the bananas: this is the best I can do for you right now.
It seems an Islamic cleric has gotten himself in the news by proclaiming that Muslim women should refrain from proximity to bananas and, well, cucumbers:
An Islamic cleric residing in Europe said that women should not be close to bananas or cucumbers, in order to avoid any “sexual thoughts.”
The unnamed sheikh, who was featured in an article on el-Senousa news, was quoted saying that if women wish to eat these food items, a third party, preferably a male related to them such as their a father or husband, should cut the items into small pieces and serve.
He said that these fruits and vegetables “resemble the male penis” and hence could arouse women or “make them think of sex.”
Carrots, too, apparently. But that’s beside the point.
What interests me is that a fair number of people seem to be ridiculing this ruling. Amrutha Gayathri, for instance, calls it “a ridiculously repressive and absurd proposal” and writes:
Unsurprisingly, the sheikh’s comment has become a target of online mockery, with a flurry of comments denouncing the Islamic repression of women. Many of the commentators are Muslims themselves, who have expressed their anger against the cleric for making Islamic religious practices appear unreasonable.
Islamic clerics of Saudi Arabia have been in the headlines recently when they spoke out against lifting the driving ban on women. The argument in that case suggested that “all women will lose their virginity” by indulging in pre-marital sex due to the mixing of genders (which, it is feared, will occur if women were allowed to drive).
The “scholarly” report by the clerics of Majlis al-Ifta al-Aala, the country’s highest Islamic council, warned there would be “no more virgins” in the country within 10 years of lifting the ban because driving will lead to a “surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce.”
I don’t know about all that, and I was thinking the ruling about bananas was frankly bananas too, until I was skipping around the internet today under the influence of my medications and ran across this gem from the Delta bluesman, Bo Carter — Let me put my banana in your fruitbasket. The lyrics are terrific and, I’d say, very much to the point:
On second thoughts — maybe our Islamic cleric just knows his blues.
I hope to post more here shortly, once I’ve got my wind back.