Saturday, November 03, 2007

Young Marriage as Proof of Evil

I was scanning through a post over at Treppenwitz. I was perturbed by Bogner's calling all Muslims out for what a nonelected (but still unfortunately influential and respected) nutjob says, but I was more interested in one of the comments:

As for your opinion of Islam, you missed a very important point. Not only is it a false religion, a religion of war and conquest, a religion of lies, but it's founder was a pedophile.

That's right folks, Mohammad had sex with a little girl.

Her name was Aisha, he married her and consummated that marriage when she was nine.

Religion of Peace and all dat.

I've heard this critique of Mohammed pop up over and over again, and seem to recall some of it also being tossed in Warren Jeff's direction. While I'm hardly a fan of coerced underage marriage, I have to be honest, I feel a little conflicted about judging ancient practices by modern standards (Jeffs being an obvious example of a guy who doesn't really have a leg to stand on, given what century it is).

The truth is that I have a personal reason for this. It's sort of like how I could never quite make fun of the Southern stereotype about kissing cousins after I found that my own family tree had three or four "loops" between branches.

See, my mother's grandmother was Hungarian. And I have these old records. And a calculator. And it turns out that, if the records be true, my g.g.g.aunt Esther had her first child when SHE was nine. And, if we're going to use chronology as an excuse, my own relatives have much less of one, given that this was the 1860s, not the 600s. Does this make my family a bunch of heartless pedophiles? Or, assuming the data is correct, is there something more complex- including all sorts of social and religious pressures that we may not even be able to approach from where we are now- going on? Or somewhere between the two?

The reality is I'm torn. Sometimes you can't judge everybody by the same standard. Through a 21st century post-modern, feminist, multicultural lens, there really aren't that many good guys in existence prior to say, now.

That doesn't exonerate Mohammed or Islam from any of the crap on their plate, but saying that alleged early marriages should automatically consign Mohammed- or even Warren Jeffs- to one side of the moral equation may be missing something.

Or maybe I'm being too lenient and my g.g.g.father was a jerk. Either/or.


Anonymous said...

she had a baby at 9!!??
that's not biologically possible.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

That's basically what I said, which is why her age officially remains a question mark in my notes. I'm guessing some clerk screwed something up.

Still, it's great fun to tease relatives with.