Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Islamic Sexual Ethics and the problems of the Kurdish Youth

In the course of discussions regarding the out flux of Kurdish youths attributed to the crises of confidence in Kurdish authority, I thought that there might be some additional reasons. One such could be the sexual repression. The other might be a design by Islamic parties and organisations to colonize Europe, and America if possible, to bring about the Islamic domination of the world, which they hope for. However, the issue I am concerned with here is sex, but lest I raise the wrong expectation, I should make it clear that I mean the less exciting issue, sexual ethics.
No doubt, this is a sensitive issue and it may not be possible to prove beyond doubt that such a phenomenon is occurring. However, there is a more obvious, but not identical, issue originating from the same source. This is what underpins a well rehearsed story told by many young men: that they had romantic or sexual relationships with some women, their cover was blown, and the women in question were killed by their respective relatives and so they had to flee because their lives were also in danger. Of course, one cannot take these stories at face value, although no one can deny that honour killing is happening, what can be doubted though is whether these young men are the ones who were involved, or whether they are just using someone else’s life story. Nevertheless, honour killing is a testimony to the lack of that freedom which is our concern here. Still, it is difficult to prove that there a causal relationship between lack of personal freedom, in regard to sex, and immigration. One might acknowledge the fact that there is no freedom in regard of relationship between the sexes in Kurdistan, but one can still deny that people would leave because of that matter. Some people would point out individuals who had abstained from sex for years and years for the sake of some causes which they assumed to be worthier, like their religion or nationalism, or just be around and take care of one’s loved siblings and parents. Some might point out people, whose acute self-consciousness would cause them to lose self-respect and sense of integrity if they fake a cause, in the name of justice or principle, while aware of their own real motivations, namely, succumbing to sexual urges. Such cases are not impossible and I would not deny that.
However, not everyone is like that. In Kurdistan, like any other country in the world, there is a sex industry and obviously it is not set up for foreigners. Moreover, there are some people who travel abroad to buy cheap sex. Moreover, sexual deprivation leads and has led many to seek sex with the vulnerable, young boys, and even animals. Another fact is that we can see our youths abroad going to discotheques and nightclubs. All these phenomena indicate that sex or just personal liberty might be one of the motivations behind emigration to the West.
Despite all this we cannot prove conclusively that some youths are leaving Kurdistan in search of easy sex or romance. Some people may point out that sex would not have become an issue if these youths were given some cause or collective goal to achieve. Some may rightly point out that there were cases of individuals who fought for decades without bowing to the pressure of sex or any other temptations.  I agree on this and obviously, the Kurdish authorities have to take some blame because corruption and monopoly of power have engendered disillusionment and alienation. It is very likely that when there is no collective goal to hold the group together and create a passion among them, atomisation, and hedonism will step in. For an atomised individual, the search for pleasure and avoidance of pain would very likely be the supreme values and sex would feature very prominently in the equation. 
However, with all these qualifications to take into account, the best we can say is that there is a possibility that some youths may be leaving Kurdistan to escape sexual repression. So my analysis here would be concerned with this conjectured phenomenon. No doubt, discussing this issue will also bring us to the broader issue concerning the reasons that sexual mores are different, and which one is better. The difference in sexual ethics is an undeniable fact and thus the arguments will be about facts and not just conjectures.
Discussing sexual ethics is extremely important. Sexual repression is behind honour killing which is a cause for national disgrace, for some of us at least. More disgracefully, sexual repression is also behind some of the sexual violation against children in our own countries.
As crucially, many young men who come here driven, even if partially, by sexual fantasies do not know sufficiently about the culture in which sexual permissiveness is norm. Obviously, if a young woman in Kurdistan behaves like the young women in the West do, the Kurds before anyone else will regard her as a prostitute. Acquiring such a reputation may lead often to murdering her by her menfolk, sometimes even by her womenfolk. This underlines a risk that women in Europe are looked on with disrespect and as prostitute, and assaulting a prostitute would not be a psychologically impossible mountain to climb for a Kurd and in general all those coming from Islamic background.
Hence it is our obligation to show the Kurdish youths the right way to behave, so that they do not disgrace themselves and their people. However, our greater obligation and concern should be towards their victims and potential victims in their adopted countries.
At the heart of this matter is to find a way to instil respect for women regardless of the impression of their sexual behaviour or even their sexual trade. Doing so has the additional benefit of counteracting the mentality behind the so-called honour killing in our own countries.
It is obvious, that Islam is directly and indirectly responsible for the inferior value accorded to women. ‘Men Have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme’ (The Koran 4:34, p. 83). It is true that Islam does not call for honour killing and the like, but Islam effects the mentality in which the practice occurs.
Islam is ignorant of the need for an institution that can organize power struggles peacefully. This meant that Islam, whether during Mohammed’s reign or his immediate and subsequent Khalifs, relied on violence to curb power struggle whether between the Muslims themselves or between Muslims and non-Muslims. Even today in the age of liberal democracy, Muslims have not yet realized that without adopting liberal democracy, a political entity will be substantially defective, hence their continued warring against each others and against non-Muslims.
Relying on violence needs men of violence and hence all concession to men in Islamic morality. The compromised Islamic morality meant that warriors were allowed to pillage and even take women as spoils of war.[1]
However, criticism of Islam does not imply that we have provided the right sexual moral codes. We need also be courageous enough to express the alternative ethic even if that attracted criticism as well as denunciations.
What is needed is a complete or near complete alternative sexual and marriage ethic.
Expressing opinion about sexual ethics is important for me personally. Many individuals who may easily give up Islam would not do so because they, as many have confided in me, assume Islam is a good excuse to keep their womenfolk, daughters, sisters or wives in the house, insulated from sexual contact with outsiders. Moreover, because this concern of Kurdish men, I usually assure them that the evolutionary liberalism which I advocate promotes morality much better than Islam does, and denying that Islam supports the right morality. That is why it would also be incumbent on me to delineate what kind of sexual ethic I believe to be compatible with evolutionary liberal democracy. For this purpose we will need to consider certain points:
Firstly, the tendency to prevent sexual access to females by an alpha male is displayed across many species and it is not unique to human beings. From the point of view of the theory of the Selfish Gene, it can be predicted that, other things being equal, a gene informing such a behavior is more likely to survive than its allele that does not encode such behavior. In a way sexual jealousy is the way of a selfish gene to ensure its own survival. Now, to explain the biological root of a phenomenon does not entail that it can be discarded as unneeded. However, considering the biological root of sex and other traits associated with sexual reproduction allows us to construct our values more rationally and humanely. The possible implication of this view is that should a man wanted a child of his own he should ask the woman to bear his child without forcing her to abandon her personal liberty just to satisfy his urges for dominance and sexual jealousy. Since forming a pair is necessary for the right upbringing of children they should tend to make a contract to stay together to care for the child. Perhaps, a modern family needs to be clear on all these matters.
Secondly, present marriage institutions can be seen as a relic of a time when ideologies dominated and thus male dominated female. In the past, women were being sold men, and as a woman was regarded as lesser human, she was not given the chance about the details of the contract she would enter to. Her sexual fidelity would not be asked from her because that would entail that she can have a say in the matter. Instead she was used as a property, who should do what expected from a property or else be destroyed and disposed of.[2]
Of course, sexual fidelity would be better option and can ensure greater protection from sexual diseases and perhaps greater confidence as well as love between the partners. However, most of such benefits can only be obtained voluntarily. In any case, it is possible, currently, to verify who is the father of a baby and it is also verifiable matter if the parent stay around to care for a child. But fidelity and complete devotion are not as verifiable, on the part of both sexes. So perhaps a marriage contract should leave these additional benefits out and they should be placed in the care of the partners to be nurtured on daily bases without taking them for granted.
Thirdly, in regard to whether we should respect sexual liberty or not, I would say that sexual liberty is better than sexual deprivation. The reasons for this can be many. Firstly, what is usually prohibited is  heterosexuality and this puts greater pressure towards sexual abuse of boys and children as well as anyone can tell, other animals, specifically donkeys in rural areas. Many male as well as females become traumatized because of this deprivation and gender separation. Many males unfortunately take the role of guard and enforcer of the separation of sexes, a task that turns them violent and callous. Sexual liberty would not be harmful if health concerns and contraceptives are taken in case the partners were not ready for a child.
Fourthly, I should also say that I am not urging the encouragement of sexual contact. This is a private matter and should be left for the discretion of the individuals involved. In any case, from the evolutionary political theory perspective the aim for life which I see as the most sublime is seeking of creativity through knowledge and arts. Although, it is obvious individuals should not be made to suffer because of sexual deprivation.
Finally, I should say that Islamic sexual mores are not something that demands sexual abstinence or sexual fidelity unconditionally. In Islam four free women, and unlimited slave girls, are allowed for the gratification of the sexual urges of the dominant and wealthy males.[3] Women and even little girls who do not have much choice, if any choice at all, are used as vessels for procreation and for the gratification of men without giving that much consideration to their sexual needs. This Islamic sexual morality does not care if either the poor and marginalized males did not find sexual mates for themselves and are left to suffer or seek sexual transgression against boys or animals. (See also Islam on the Couch regarding how Islamic sexual ethics is used to mobilize the youth and prevent their integration within their host countries).

[1] ‘God has promised you rich booty, and has given you this with all promptness. He has stayed your enemies' hands, so that He may make your victory a sign to true believers and guide you along a straight path’ (The Koran, 48:20, p. 512).

[2] This following verse shows that there is a concept of women as property. Although it is obvious that it is concerned with justice. It also shows that the subsequent anger about women choice, which come to characterize the attitude towards women, were not prevalent at the early stages of Islam. This underline my point the honour killing is not a part of Islam but it is engendered by the culture of Islam, which relying on violence for arbitrating political power struggle.

‘And if any of your wives deserts you to the Unbelievers, and ye have an accession (by the coming over of a woman from the other side), then pay to those whose wives have deserted the equivalent of what they had spent (on their dower). And fear Allah, in Whom ye believe (The Koran, 060:011).

[3] ‘O Prophet! surely We have made lawful to you your wives whom you have given their dowries, and those whom your right hand possesses out of those whom Allah has given to you as prisoners of war, and the daughters of your paternal uncles and the daughters of your paternal aunts, and the daughters of your maternal uncles and the daughters of your maternal aunts who fled with you; and a believing woman if she gave herself to the Prophet, if the Prophet desired to marry her-- specially for you, not for the (rest of) believers; We know what We have ordained for them concerning their wives and those whom their right hands possess in order that no blame may attach to you; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful’ (The Koran 033.051, 033.050).

Showan Khurshid is the author of : "Knowledge Processing, Creativity and Politics: A Political Theory based on the Evolutionary Theory" which can be purchased from Amazon.


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