Thursday, January 22, 2009

Knobhead of the week: Samir Abu Hamza

Sometimes I think the greatest enemies of a harmonious multi-ethnic society are not the xenophobes who reject multiculturalism, but the buffoons give the rest of the world the worst possible advertisement for their culture.

Case in point, Samir Abu Hamza from the Islamic Information and Services Network in Coburg has gathered worldwide attention by placing his 2003 sermon up on the net, laughably entitled "The Keys to a Successful Marriage". The wisdom he dispenses includes the correct way in which to beat one's wife, and how Australian law is wrong to outlaw rape within marriage. You can see bits of the sermon here.

The wife-beating comments, to be fair to him, are straight out of the Qur'an and are in the context of advising men to avoid beating unless as a last resort. I'm not condoning this at all, by the way. The comments about forcing a wife to have sex, however, are quite amazing in this day and age from a supposed man of learning.

"If the husband was to ask her for a sexual relationship and she is preparing the bread on the stove she must leave it and come and respond to her husband, she must respond.

"In this country if the husband wants to sleep with his wife and she does not want to and she hasn't got a sickness or whatever, there is nothing wrong with her she just does not feel like it, and he ends up sleeping with her by force . . . it is known to be as rape. Amazing, how can a person rape his wife?"

Wow. Maybe if Abu Hamza was willing to help his wife in the kitchen, she might be more likely to feel like having sex. Although clearly that doesn't matter, since she doesn't have the right to say no to her owner-cum-husband.

I don't think for a moment that the majority of Muslim men think it is okay to beat their wives or force them to have sex. And indeed, there has been widespread condemnation of the comments from Australian Muslims. And we shouldn't pretend that Muslim men have some monopoly on mistreatment of their partners. Lest we forget that it was less than 20 years ago that Australian laws acknowledged that marriage was not a guarantee of consent.

Australians will no doubt be reminded of the comments several years ago from another Islamic figure of great intelligence, Sheikh El-Hilaly, who described women dressed in revealing clothing as akin to leaving uncovered meat out in the street - and who could blame a cat for eating the meat, as it is in the cat's nature? El-Hilaly and Abu Hamza should form a partnership to think of more ways to make Muslims look bad.

Most fascinating is the view held by these two men and others, that male sexuality is somehow an unstoppable, untamed animal force. El-Hilaly implies that it is somehow in a man's instinct to force himself on a woman if she tempts him. Abu Hamza seems to regard the satisfaction of male needs as a matter of urgent and extreme importance, so much so that a wife cannot even finish making bread. Reminds me of an Islamic version of the old "blue balls" excuse used by teenage boys to coax girls into putting out.

For all the sheer contempt for women inherent in these men's comments, they are also contemptuous of men, reducing us to mere beasts ruled by our uncontrollable need for sexual gratification. Now I can't speak for anyone else, but I must say that I never get so sexually aroused that I feel the need to rape a passing scantily-clad floozy, or that I become unable to accept my partner "not feeling like it". Is that so unusual?

Oh, and by the way, when the media latched on to Abu Hamza's sermon and caused an uproar that even the Prime Minister got involved in, who do you think he blamed for his troubles?

If you answered "zionists", give yourself 10 points. Ah, those pesky zionists, at it again.

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