Did Islam Condone Pedophilia?

Jan 2014
2,337
Westmorland
What constitutes "deliberate provocation"?
A reasonably cursory study of the domestic law of your country would answer these points. I'm not trying to dodge your question, but the Swedish and the English legal systems are different and I could only ever give you the answer as it would be here.

How am I supposed to know what you really intend with saying something? I might be provoked by you right now, and if I was a lot more intellectually dishonest and self-delusional than I think I am then I might tell myself that you were doing so in bad faith, and thus your post here should be banned, according to the same logic?
Subjectively, you might well accidentally or deliberately misinterpret what I am saying. But that wouldn't mean that objectively I was provoking you. You could indeed argue that my post should be banned, but - and this is the whole point - it wouldn't be within your power to ban it. That decision would lie with the moderators who are to this forum what the judiciary is to the State, in that they are empowered to exercise their discretion reasonably with the objective of upholding the rules.
 
Oct 2012
3,294
Des Moines, Iowa
Perhaps though, there is not so much truth as you think there is, especially when looking from a West European context.

The Western European Marriage Pattern
I am well aware of the uniqueness of Western European marriage patterns, and have already written about this years ago on this every forum. However, I am not sure how that is relevant to the topic at hand.

but I think saying that "what Muhammed did to Aisha would not be considered strange" (or something along the lines, which you wrote in an earlier post) in Western eyes before the 20th century does not seem entirely convincing. Less strange than today yes, but I'd wager it'd make more than a few renaissance people quite queasy too.
There is a difference between finding something to be "strange" and finding something to be "immoral." Edward Gibbon, for example, remarks on Aisha's young age in Chapter 50 of his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but nowhere does he castigate Muhammad for it, or deem it immoral. The Western obsession with this subject is purely modern, and I cannot find any source before the 20th century that claims Muhammad was immoral or a "pedophile" for consummating his marriage with Aisha at age 9 or 10.
 
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Isleifson

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
3,693
Lorraine tudesque
Interesting post, and there is no doubt some truth in what you say.

Perhaps though, there is not so much truth as you think there is, especially when looking from a West European context.

The Western European Marriage Pattern

It seems to have been established by the 16th century, and there are some pieces of evidence that point to it going back earlier than that even. (I believe Tacitus mentions in Germania that the Germanic tribes tended to marry late an whatnot). Some scholars have dated it to the middle ages, with there being some kind of pattern that young men, especially in craftsman families would often travel around to work in apprenticeships during their teens and find a woman later. Gratian's decree from 1140 is also interesting, as it seems to establish (at least in spirit, if not in fact) that marriage should be based on mutual consent.

In the early modern era the average age of marriage was in the early-mid 20s in Western Europe, quite a lot higher than 12. An economic historian I read a while back, Jan de Vries touched upon this in his otherwise also pretty good (but a bit dry) book The Industrious Revolution.

Of course the aristocracy differed (but these exceptions seem to have been 12-15 rather than 9), having to take all sorts of dynastic considerations into mind, and the very poor probably differed also - but I think saying that "what Muhammed did to Aisha would not be considered strange" (or something along the lines, which you wrote in an earlier post) in Western eyes before the 20th century does not seem entirely convincing. Less strange than today yes, but I'd wager it'd make more than a few renaissance people quite queasy too.
About the marriage pattern in Europe, try this.

An introduction to Emmanuel Todd (in english) Part one
 
Apr 2018
739
Upland, Sweden
I am well aware of the uniqueness of Western European marriage patterns, and have already written about this years ago on this every forum. However, I am not sure how that is relevant to the topic at hand.
Right! Well, I thought it might have been relevant merely as a pointer in the direction of what Europeans actually thought about what we today would consider paedophilia before the 20th century. But you're right, I probably went into a bit too much detail. It was a conjecture basically, of course leading to [...] ...


There is a difference between finding something to be "strange" and finding something to be "immoral." Edward Gibbon, for example, remarks on Aisha's young age in Chapter 50 of his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, but nowhere does he castigate Muhammad for it, or deem it immoral. The Western obsession with this subject is purely modern, and I cannot find any source before the 20th century that claims Muhammad was immoral or a "pedophile" for consummating his marriage with Aisha at age 9 or 10.
[...]... leading to my being right about pre 20th century westernerns finding Muhammad's behaviour in regard to Aisha immoral. Provided I am right about that.

Intuitively I am not entirely convinced by your counterargument. It's not that I disbelieve you when you say that you can't find a source explicitly mentioning what we today would call Muhammed's pedophilia, I just think it might more be the case that earlier writers emphasize other things. We are talking about a population in Europe that actually believed in Christianity here, perhaps other things simply took precedence.

I looked up the relevant source in Gibbon (although to be fair I only have him in Swedish translation, so I might miss something) and it is true, he what he says is a piquant reply of "the climate in Arabia makes [women] grow up quickly" or something to that effect. I think that perhaps... that is a very detached 18th century English-gentleman way of signalling a slight mixture of humour and "weirdness" as you say... but I'm not sure what it proves. This is the same man who seems to have lamented the introduction of Christianity into the Roman Empire. An enlightenment era intellectual with great sympathy for the Greco-Roman heritage hardly seems representative of the average European view of Muhammed, or necessarily even of European morality for that matter. This seems to be the case with many enlightenment intellectuals, who instinctively wanted to distance themselves from a too-christian view of him. Thomas Carlyle calls Muhammed a "great man", but I think supposing that is some kind of moral indightment is misundertanding what he meant. Many of these earlier writers had a much more realistic view of human nature it seems, and just because they don't explicitly moralize over it is not to say they didn't find it barbaric. Perhaps they merely judged warlords and conquerors like Muhammed according to the standard of warlords and conquerors and found delving into the details unnecessary?

If we go back earlier than Thomas Aquinas seems to have connected Muhammed to "carnal pleasure", which given the roundabout ways the scholastics had of describing empirical phenomena might well be an umbrella term including his marriage to Aisha.



Do you have any sources about European conceptions of what we today call pedophilia before the 20th century? Not related explicitly to the topic, but you made me "curious" in this somewhat macabre topic...
 
Apr 2018
739
Upland, Sweden
A reasonably cursory study of the domestic law of your country would answer these points. I'm not trying to dodge your question, but the Swedish and the English legal systems are different and I could only ever give you the answer as it would be here.
I suppose my point is that it is always a matter of interpretation, and I think conditioning political speech with it "not being deliberately provocative" is not a good way to set the frames for public debate in a society that is supposed to have free speech.

In my country there is no ban against "deliberate provocation". We have the term Hets mot folkgrupp that came into being in 1948 to stop one guy from spreading Anti-Semitic pamphlets, which is a ban against "incitment to persecution", while similar - is not exactly the same, and more narrowly defined term than "deliberate provocation". I think it is important to bear in mind that all of this legislation is fairly recent, has little grounds in any European jurisprudential tradition and is transparently connected to what happened to the Jews of Europe during the war years. While it is understandable that we took such measures given the barbarism of Germany during that time I still disagree with them.

The US has no such limitations on political speech. I'd much prefer if these "hate speech" clauses were removed from European legislation (although if you want to keep them in England that's up to you of course... much of this is however pan-European by EU legislation as well as the European Concention on Human Rights.) , I think these kinds of laws are often misused and also don't fullfill their stated purpose.

Subjectively, you might well accidentally or deliberately misinterpret what I am saying. But that wouldn't mean that objectively I was provoking you. You could indeed argue that my post should be banned, but - and this is the whole point - it wouldn't be within your power to ban it. That decision would lie with the moderators who are to this forum what the judiciary is to the State, in that they are empowered to exercise their discretion reasonably with the objective of upholding the rules.
You are right once again, my point is (once again) that it is always a matter of interpretation - we can in this context say very easily that you were not provoking me, but applied in the context of the judicial level... it is different. The legal system does not deal with shades of grey very well, and the only instrument it has available is "ban/ not ban". I think it is wiser to err on the side of caution here, the very power of this kind of interpretation lends itself easily to misuse. It is a potential threat to a free society, and especially when applied to the context of muslim immigrants who at least in my country have no history at all worthy of mention. They chose to move here, we have certain norms, values and a higher ceiling of public debate (we could be sasid to have a public debate, unlike most muslim countries). What did they expect, that a Europe which has never been Muslim is somehow going to cater to their sensibilities in every turn?

Also, in this case it is objectively true that Muhammed was a paedophile, according to modern European standards. This makes calling this "provocation" quite difficult, especially since there has been numerous such provocations that seem to be rooted in an interpretation of an actual historical truth against Christians in Europe ever since the Englightenment forward - something that was considered natural until five minutes ago. Quid licet jovi non licet bovi it seems...

I find this kind of precedent dangerous, in fact I would go so far as to say that this court decision will go further in spreading animosity and hatred between different ethnic groups than any negative statements about Muhammed will, in the long run. I mean it's not like those Europeans critical of Islam, Muhammed and Islamic migration are suddenly going to become more accepting just because the ECHR shakes its finger and says "Naughty naughty". I think it will also risk encouraging even more bad behaviour among Muslims in Europe, as the more radical Muslims will get some water on their mill and get even more sure in their beliefs that they are going to "take over"...
 
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Jun 2017
507
usa
some hindu members blatantly called muhammad as pedophile, while your hindutva country is on the leading list of child brides why not the Muhammad's country, why?

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But this still does not negate the fact the a 53 year old man had physical relations with a 9 year old child.
This is not some ordinary man but someone who more than a billion people look up to and are supposed to emulate.
What do you not understand about it?
 
Dec 2015
470
Middle East
But this still does not negate the fact the a 53 year old man had physical relations with a 9 year old child.
This is not some ordinary man but someone who more than a billion people look up to and are supposed to emulate.
What do you not understand about it?
Exactly... The influence of Mohammad is confined to 1B+ people while the pedophiles of Hollywood are looked up to by all 7 billion people and growing.
 
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Jan 2014
2,337
Westmorland
In my country there is no ban against "deliberate provocation". We have the term Hets mot folkgrupp that came into being in 1948 to stop one guy from spreading Anti-Semitic pamphlets, which is a ban against "incitment to persecution", while similar - is not exactly the same, and more narrowly defined term than "deliberate provocation".
Nor is there such a ban here. I was simply using lay shorthand, rather than legal terminology. What is banned here is behavior which is intended to, or is likely to, incite violence.

I think it is important to bear in mind that all of this legislation is fairly recent, has little grounds in any European jurisprudential tradition and is transparently connected to what happened to the Jews of Europe during the war years. While it is understandable that we took such measures given the barbarism of Germany during that time I still disagree with them.
I disagree with you. I don't think it does come down to simply weighing in the balance whether the right to utterly untrammeled free speech was worth the human cost of the Holocaust (which appears to be what you are implying, although I don't think it's quite what you mean), but if it did, it'd be a no-brainer.

Although anti-discrimination legislation is relatively new - and far more recent than the 1940s, at least over here - there is nothing about it which is at odds with English jurisprudence. Firstly, there is no tradition in English law of granting totally untrammeled rights. All rights are hedged about with caveats and qualifications and quite right too. The narrative of threads such as this - which is to basically decry any attempt to limit what people can say as a sign of a lack of 'freedom' (a facile concept at the best of times) or of appeasement of The Other - completely fails to engage with the central issue, which is to ask why this one right alone should be entirely unlimited?

Secondly, English jurisprudence has always recognised the rights of the individual. Habeas Corpus, property rights, rights to vote and the abolition of slavery, to name but for of the most important. At a lower level, we have rights to a certain minimum level of pay, to holiday, to a safe system of work et al. All of these pieces of legislation seek to balance the rights of the individual against the needs of the system. Anti-discrimination legislation is just one more manifestation of the same principle.

The legal system does not deal with shades of grey very well, and the only instrument it has available is "ban/ not ban".
You are conflating the outcome with the process. The English legal system is an adversarial one which means that in contentious situations, it is nearly always about shades of grey.

I think it is wiser to err on the side of caution here,
I agree, but I'd argue that caution dictates that we put social inclusion and common courtesy higher than protecting the rights of the nutters and racists to spout their bigoted filth unchallenged.

It is a potential threat to a free society,
It's no more a threat to free society than making people wear seatbelts or banning them from drink driving. And if you think these are silly examples, do a bit of research into what people thought about these things when they were first introduced. Am I less free because I can't get pissed and drive home whenever I feel like it?

What did they expect, that a Europe which has never been Muslim is somehow going to cater to their sensibilities in every turn?
I'm not sure 'they' do expect that. The far right likes us to think that this is what Muslims want (as though a) they actually know anything about Muslims and b) all Muslims want the same thing anyway), but I've never seen much evidence of it.

Also, in this case it is objectively true that Muhammed was a paedophile, according to modern European standards. This makes calling this "provocation" quite difficult,
Does it? Just look at threads on this site about Churchill, in which the Brit-bashers love to characterise him as a racist. And indeed he is by modern standards, but see how it upsets other posters (mainly Brits) who have been brought up to see Churchill as a national hero. Being objectively true doesn't stop something from still being provocative. And this is the point. People don't say "Muhammed was a paedophile by our modern liberal standards which we accept were not the standards that anyone was measured by back in the day." They just say "Muhammed was a paedophile".

Let's have the humility to accept that future generations may judge us for things which we do which to us, are entirely acceptable. Let's imagine that in three hundred years time, the age of consent was increased to 21. Does that mean it would be OK for our distant descendants to piously rule that any of us in the here and now who had sex with (for example) an 18 year old was a paedophile?

I mean it's not like those Europeans critical of Islam, Muhammed and Islamic migration are suddenly going to become more accepting just because the ECHR shakes its finger and says "Naughty naughty"
No indeed. But neither will allowing bigots to freely express their bigotry make them more accepting either. Not everyone who criticises Islam is a bigot, of course, but many of them are and we can't shy away from that.

I think it will also risk encouraging even more bad behaviour among Muslims in Europe, as the more radical Muslims will get some water on their mill and get even more sure in their beliefs that they are going to "take over"...
So do you think that the free expression of white supremacist ideology would or would not have the same effect on the white population?