Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shaikh Abdul Mohsin Al Abaican issued a fatwa which is not going over well with his faithful or fellow Islamic scholars. It does seem in the upper Islamic ranks, lock step thinking is not part of the brotherhood--unlike in Catholicism.

Sometimes it's good to get another perspective on religious fundamentalism and the solutions that mind set can generate. Keep in mind while reading this, that other Saudi clerics are having apoplexy over this fatwa. It would be really nice if some of our Catholic bishops would have a similar kind of apoplexy over pronouncements from some of their colleagues.

Saudi Clerics Advocate Adult Breast-Feeding
Dana Kennedy - AOLNews - 6/5/2010

Women in Saudi Arabia should give their breast milk to male colleagues and acquaintances in order to avoid breaking strict Islamic law forbidding mixing between the sexes, two powerful Saudi clerics have said. They are at odds, however, over precisely how the milk should be conveyed.

A fatwa issued recently about adult breast-feeding to establish "maternal relations" and preclude the possibility of sexual contact has resulted in a week's worth of newspaper headlines in Saudi Arabia. Some have found the debate so bizarre that they're calling for stricter regulations about how and when fatwas should be issued. Sheikh Al Obeikan, an adviser to the royal court and consultant to the Ministry of Justice, set off a firestorm of controversy recently when he said on TV that women who come into regular contact with men who aren't related to them ought to give them their breast milk so they will be considered relatives.

"The man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman," Al Obeikan said, according to Gulf News. "He should drink it and then becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam's rules about mixing."

Obeikan said the fatwa applied to men who live in the same house or come into contact with women on a regular basis, except for drivers.

Al Obeikan, who made the statement after being asked on TV about a 2007 fatwa issued by an Egyptian scholar about adult breast-feeding, said that the breast milk ought to be pumped out and given to men in a glass. But his remarks were followed by an announcement by another high-profile sheik, Abi Ishaq Al Huwaini, who said that men should suckle the breast milk directly from a woman's breast. (Oh fer sure, why let a cup get in the way of a good thing.)

Shortly after the two sheiks weighed in on the matter, a bus driver in the country's Eastern Region reportedly told one of the female teachers whom he drives regularly that he wanted to suckle milk from her breast. The teacher has threaten to file a lawsuit against him. (The bus driver must not have read the fatwa because it doesn't apply to drivers. I'm sure there will be a clarification.)

The fatwa stems from the tenets of the strict Wahhabi version of Islam that governs modern Saudi Arabia and forbids women from mixing with men who are not relatives. They are also not allowed to vote, drive or even leave the country without the consent of a male "guardian."

Under Islamic law, women are encouraged to breast-feed their children until the age of 2. It is not uncommon for sisters, for example, to breast-feed their nephews so they and their daughters will not have to cover their faces in front of them later in life. The custom is called being a "breast milk sibling."

But under Islamic law, breast milk siblings have to be breastfed before the age of 2 in five "fulfilling" sessions. Islam prohibits sexual relations between a man and any woman who breastfed him in infancy. They are then allowed to be alone together when the man is an adult because he is not considered a potential mate.

"The whole issue just shows how clueless men are," blogger Eman Al Nafjan wrote on her website. "All this back and forth between sheiks and not one bothers to ask a woman if it's logical, let alone possible to breastfeed a grown man five fulfilling breast milk meals." (How does one breast feed if one is not producing milk? Oh well what are these little biological details when it comes to fulfilling God's Will.)

Moreover, the thought of a huge hairy face at a woman's breast does not evoke motherly or even brotherly feelings. It could go from the grotesque to the erotic but definitely not maternal."

Al Nafjan said many in the country were appalled by the fatwa."We have many important issues that need discussing," Al Nafjan told AOL News Friday. "It's ridiculous to spend time talking about adult breast-feeding." (But it's a nice strategy to avoid any discussion about the important things.)

Unlawful mixing between the sexes is taken very seriously in Saudi Arabia. In March 2009, a 75-year-old Syrian widow, Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi, living in the city of Al-Chamil, was given 40 lashes and sentenced to six months in prison after the religious police learned that two men who were not related to her were in her house, delivering bread to her. One of the two men found in her house, Fahd, told the police that Sawadi breast-fed him as a baby so he was considered a son and had a right to be there. But in a later court ruling, a judge said it could not be proved that Fahd was her "breast milk son." Fahd was sentenced to four months in prison and 40 lashes, and the man who accompanied him got six months and 60 lashes. (That proof thing is a problem, but what's the unprovablity of a ritual act when it comes to enforcing God's Will. Guess they'll just have to use instant replay in the future--as long as it's not considered pornography.)

The original adult breast-feeding fatwa was issued three years ago by an Egyptian scholar at Egypt's al-Azhar University, considered Sunni Islam's top university. Ezzat Attiya was expelled from the university after advocating breast-feeding of men as a way to circumnavigate segregation of the sexes in Egypt. A year ago, Attiya was reinstated to his post.


It's good to see Catholicism is not the only religion whose teaching authorities are leading their faithful into some really interesting solutions to theological cul de sacs. Why is it that these solutions never involve the underlying assumptions. Especially if those assumptions are about gender and sex and completely demean women under the guise of 'honoring' them.

The good thing about this is God continues to shine light on some seriously defective theological abuses, propelling lots of people of all religions to move beyond the idiocy of their leadership.

God does seem to be moving all His people to think for themselves, make their own choices about their relationship to Him and others, and leave the power drunk middle men out of the equation. Breast milk indeed.


  1. George Carlin said that wars would end if we were all introduced to each other. "I can't kill him. I KNOW him." (Sorry I can't type it like he said it) My goodness, comedy again based in absurd reality, and if we just follow the rules this all makes sense. Lysistrata was about women withholding sex to end the war, but this is so much friendlier.

    Nice to see your comment at the end. The Spirit is moving people all over the world, I hope.

  2. I read this story the other day and could not believe this type of thing was going on. Women are treated by the "religious" men just as if they were cattle, and the men too are treated like idiots. Got milk? Here, suck on this and then you don't have to cover your face with a veil!!! How absurd, sick, abusive, backward in their thinking and laws. If you don't obey them they will then take you to the whipping post. Abusive religious meet your partner in crime, the State, that would make fundamentalist religious pronouncements the law of the land.

    The RCC does the same with its sick, abusive notions of women, gays, not allowing artificial birth control, pronouncing even masturbation as a sin. Same stuff. Different religion.

    Fundamentalist of all religions share a common notion it seems of a crazy notion of God and what God wants of us. No wonder the world is in the state it is in. A state of absurdity upon absurdity, abuse upon abuse.

    God is waking people up to these abuses and people are learning to develop their own relationship with God. People in all religions are seeing the bizarre in the pronouncements coming from their fundamentalist religious leaders.

    Colleen, yes, thank God... "God continues to shine light on some seriously defective theological abuses, propelling lots of people of all religions to move beyond the idiocy of their leadership."

  3. It probably would have been accurate to write that people are being propelled beyond the idiocies in their theologies. Sometimes even those who are extolling the idiocy. In that respect we are all on the same path whether we like it or not.

  4. Colleen, we need to get propelled beyond the idiocies in our theologies!!!

  5. I am going to be very blunt here:

    There are far more important things to worry about.

    Like the exiled Archbishop Hilarion Capucci of Jerusalem who was on the "Aid Flotilla' to Gaza & part of its leadership.....who has VERY concrete ties to the PLO.

    In 1974 he was convicted by an Israeli court of using his diplomatic status to smuggle arms to the Palestine Liberation Army and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He used his church car service to smuggle explosives, firearms and katyusha rockets into Israel for the PLO. Capucci was among the prisoners whose release was demanded by the Palestinian hijackers of Air France Flight 139 in 1976. He was released a year later due to intervention by the Vatican.

    Now I am neither pro Zionist/Israel, nor am I one of the herd with a pathological fear of Obama. This has nothing to do with these constructs, nor does it have anything to do with legitimate humanitarian aid to the poor ppl of Gaza!

    The Vatican is trying to 'light the fuse' from whatever end works. They do not care for Israel; they merely find them a useful political 'wedge'. Ditto for the Palestinian ppl.

    Please awaken & realize that these men in dresses are intentionally working (with secular cooperators) to literally start WWIII.

    Peace be to you.

    Anon Y. Mouse


    Readers might find the above link to a 2003 John Allen article useful for more information on Archbishop Capucci.

    Capucci claims he was blackmailed into moving the arms into Israel in order to keep his standing in the Church and prevent the release of information about previous conduct unbecoming to a Catholic cleric. One assumes the undescribed conduct was sexual in nature.

    It's certainly plausible and I imagine serving three some years in an Israeli prison didn't endear him to Israel. I also found it interesting that he has lived since then in Rome with no official title. That's a long time to live in Rome with no official reason for living there.
    But then again there are a couple dozen sexual abusers living in Rome on the Vatican tab who also have undescribed duties.

    Mouse I don't know if I agree that forces in the Vatican are all that fired up to start wwIII. I do think they realise they are in a very nice position to play both ends against the middle for monetary gain--all the while castigating the rest of us for relativism. Maybe it's not relativism when you do such things for money and power. Maybe it's just taking advantage of a carefully crafted opportunity.

  7. Here's a link to Fr. Jean-Marie Benjamin's music:

  8. Colleen -

    In re Capucci....I would respond that what John Allen says should be taken with a BIG grain of salt. First, as he is a member of Opus Dei.

    Second, Capucci has maintained a lifelong very friendly relationship with Palestinian radicals & related organizations. He has written of his vehement hatred of Israel.

    The blackmail story is a smokescreen for his ties to known terrorists. Israel threw him out of the country after his Vatican negotiated release from prison. He is NOT welcome there, hence the 'exile'.

    That he has been living in Rome with no title should not surprise you, as he has spent time fraternizing with Palestinian terrorists & their Western funding sources (including those in the US0. You might say he has been quite busy.....

    Let me repeat for emphasis: "Capucci was among the prisoners whose release was demanded by the Palestinian hijackers of Air France Flight 139 in 1976." He is VERY important to them.

    As to the Vatican, they do not need 'monetary gain'. But indeed, they are playing both side off each other. These men are criminally insane & have proven this, corporately, by their deeds over many centuries.

    Their very close ties in & with Saudi Arabia & Turkey were key in funding the Balkan Wars of the 90s. Of course, with secular collaborators.....which included the US, NATO, and Muslims.

    All is not as it seems.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  9. Then there's the problem of lactose intolerance. What next- breast milk lattes? The fatwa makes sense though, and could have spared the old lady 40 lashes when the grocery delivery guy wandered through the front door. If she had pumped a litte out and kept it in the freezer for 40 years or so, she could have doled it out to the mailman, milkman and other delivery guys and saved everyone a lot a trouble. Or maybe she could dry and powder it. You know, in case of a power outage.