Amanda Lindhout learns about "those whom your right hand possesses"
I recently read a review, "Journey Into Darkness" (NYT, September 6, 2013), by Eliza Griswold, of a book, A House in the Sky, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett, that I'll likely never read. The review dips into the book to tell of Lindhout's captivity in Somalia, an imprisonment for 460 days! At one point, fearful of being raped by her captors, she expresses interest in converting to Islam, but in reading the Qur'an, she encounters some troubling verses, as noted by Griswold:
Conversion was, at first, a gambit to save their lives. Reading and memorizing the Koran, however, became a form of solace. They studied not as believers, but as prosecutorial lawyers looking for chapters and verses with which to make a case for their safety. As Lindhout puts it: "I read the book in hopes of using their religion to talk my way out." She searched desperately to find words that forbade her captors from violating her. Instead, she discovered verses that suggested the opposite. The first of her rapists arrived.Apparently, she didn't convert (though the review doesn't clarify), or she might have avoided rape. Anyway, here's what Lindhout herself says in her book about what she read in the Qur'an:
The Arabic phrase for captives or slaves was "those whom your right hand possesses." The book [i.e., the Qur'an] was explicit about what possession meant: You were basically owned by your captors. There were verses instructing that captives be treated with kindness and granted freedom if they were well behaved. There were others that made clear that a female captive was fair game sexually. In a couple of verses where the Koran forbade men to have sex outside of marriage, there was a worrisome little clause tacked on at the end: "except with those whom your right hand possesses." (A House in the Sky, page 170)I expected as much, for I'm familiar with the verses. Captive women who are non-Muslims can be used as sex slaves, according to Sharia, a point I've noted before on this blog. Female journalists who are non-Muslims must therefore be especially wary of reporting in unstable Muslim countries where Islamists are fighting for Sharia enforcement . . .