Monday, April 19, 2010

Mazen al-Sarsawi: "[B]eat her on the spot with the rod . . ."

Mazen al-Sarsawi
(Image from Memri)

Newsweek's Rana Foroohar tells us in "Hear Them Roar" that "Female dissidents are rewriting the rules in countries where they can't even show their faces" (April 9, 2010), and that includes Egypt:
Women in the developing world are far more prepared to take up the struggle than previous generations did. In many developing economies, there are now as many girls as boys in primary and secondary school, with particular gains in countries such as Iran, India, Egypt, and China.
If so, these girls have their work cut out for them in the land of the pyramids, for Memri brings us the antediluvian views of the Egyptian cleric Mazen al-Sarsawi, who praises 'real' men like the seventh-century contemporary of the Caliph Abu Bakr, a man named Zubeir (or Zubayr). The man's complete name is Zubeir bin 'Awam and I assume that he is the same al-Zubeir Ibn al-Awam who assisted in the construction of the A'mr Mosque in Fustat, Egypt. At any rate, al-Sarsawi tells us approvingly about this Zubeir's manner of dealing with women:
He had two wives, and whenever he would get mad at them, he would tie them together by the hair and would give them a harsh beating, in order to straighten them out. The wife who shared Zubeir with Asmaa [the daughter of the Caliph Abu Bakr] was savvy, and during the beating, she would move right and left, so all the blows would rain down on Asmaa.

Asmaa would turn to her father, all upset. Abu Bakr would say to her: "Go back to your husband." She would say: "But he beat me black and blue, even though I didn't do a thing. He had no reason, I didn't say a word. It was the other wife. You know me -- I didn't do a thing, but I was the one who got all the beatings." But Abu Bakr would say to her: "Go back to Zubeir. He is a good man, and he may become your husband in Paradise."
Great husband, this Zubeir, who might generously provide an eternity of beatings in Paradise. Wonderful father, too -- it seems -- this early Caliph, Abu Bakr. And, of course, Mazen al-Sarsawi is a fine example of a sensitive, understanding man, citing such traditions. Not that he is against love:
True, there are homes where there is love, and Islam decrees this . . . .
That will solve everything, of course. Just decree the necessity of love . . . very tough love. If that doesn't work, according to al-Sarsawi, who claims to be citing early Muslim traditions:
[U]se the rod on her. If she doesn't behave beat her on the spot . . . restrain her . . . . If she bothers you -- if something annoys you, or if you suspect anything -- beat her on the spot with the rod. Break her head.
Obvious to any fair-minded observer is the fact that al-Sarsawi hates women and cites as justification early Muslim traditions of other men who hated women.

Ms. Foroohar may be right about the liberatory role of women "in countries where they can't even show their faces," but I'd suggest that those women still have a long way to go if the likes of Mazen al-Sarsawi can teach on such television stations as Al-Nas TV (January 7, 2010). Many Islamist clerics attempt to soften Sura 4:34 of the Qur'an, arguing that its advocacy of wife-beating means little more than a light tap with the finger or with a twig no bigger than a toothbrush, but with al-Sarsawi, the 'nice' mask slips entirely off.

I admit that my sarcasm about al-Sarsawi is rather heavy, unlike the light irony that I generally prefer, but the man is a cruel misogynist who not merely defends but actively advocates -- and even urges -- brutality against women.

I wonder how he'd like being tied by his beard to another Islamist and beaten black and blue by the likes of Zubeir.

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