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“Burkas For Babies,” One Cleric’s Fatwa
One of the justifications for expecting Saudi Arabian women to wear a burka — a full body veil — is that this discourages rape: out of sight out of mind. Following the thread of that logic, a Saudi cleric issued a fatwa last year that baby girls should also wear burkas to avoid being molested.
Sheikh Adbullah Daoud made this case in a television interview on Islamic al-Majd TV, citing unnamed medical sources to justify the preventative measures. Though this interview aired a year ago, it only now has gone viral, with widespread condemnation of the fatwa within and outside Islam.
Sheikh Mohammad al-Jzlana, for instance, a former judge at the Saudi Board of Grievances, regards the ruling as denigrating to Islam and Shariah, and urged people to ignore unregulated fatwas. He says he feels sad when he sees children in burkas. Islamic law mandates that a girl should begin wearing a burka when she enters puberty.
Considering that sexual molestation normally is committed by somebody who knows the child, a public burka seems a poor hindrance to potential criminals; further, young boys are also prey to sexual molestation, so why not fit them out with burkas too? Muhammad al-Jzlana is right to call this an injustice to children, because it turns them into a sexual object from the moment they are born, robbing them of their years to play free and without the adulterated weights of their parents and the community.