When Health and Religion Meet
By Dr Emil Shehadeh
What does medicine have to do with religion? Well, this week, after 15 years of trying to draw attention to their plight, 1400 sexually abused people in Rotherham had their suffering aired in the British media. Justice at last? Perhaps just the beginning of justice. It was announced that the vast majority of perpetrators were of Pakistani Muslim background. More importantly, it was announced that the repeated desperate attempts of the victims to seek justice had been for many years frustrated by various agencies in the name of political correctness, specifically the fear of being accused of Islamophobia. The report on the Rotherham scandal is a landmark in British sociology and health.
Why do I put sociology and health at par? Because what we believe determines our social values and our behaviour, which in turn affects our health. If we believe that alcohol excess is evil, we are less likely to fall fowl of its evil impact on health. In Victorian England, the Church was much more vociferous against alcohol excess and promiscuity. Now the church has been emasculated and seems to bow too much to political correctness. Therefore alcohol excess and sexual promiscuity continue to exert a significant negative impact on our health and our NHS.
Back to the Rotherham sexual abuse scandal. Minorities in the UK, especially the Muslim minority, are very outspoken, and certainly no pushovers. They are quick to defend their corner at the slightest hint of unfairness or inequality. They want to be treated equally. So here goes. Just as the Catholic Church, in a free Christian Britain, has had to accept criticism for its sexual abuse endemic, so must the Muslims of the UK. The culture of secrecy, collusion and cover up in the Catholic Church may be attributed to it power structure. The Muslim community shares the same handicap. Men in Islam have too much power. Islam often appears to be Phallocentric.
The Muslim religion brags about Muhammad’s virility. He was apparently so virile that he could sleep with a thousand women in one night. One questions the value of such attributes in a religious leader. Further, Muhammad had sixteen wives (numbers vary). Worse still he took sex slaves when he fought against Jewish tribes in particular. He took his adopted son’s wife whom he fancied. His favourite wife was six years of age when he married her. Muslims defend this behaviour by proudly pointing out that Muhammad only slept with his wife when she turned nine years of age. In today’s world, this would be called child sexual abuse or rape. Islam encourages sexual permissiveness by inventing all sorts of marriages. One such marriage is known as a marriage of enjoyment which could last to varying lengths, depending on a contract authorised by an Imam (Muslim Priest), for a fee. It is simply legalised prostitution. These values have no place in a modern Christian country. The fact that not all Muslims subscribe to such Islamic teaching, is no valid defence against the doctrines of the Muslim faith.
Jack Straw had the courage to point out to the Muslim community in this country that they have problems they ought to address. He was criticised. I would add that there is another element which is never mentioned, because of the fear of being labelled Islamophobic. Islam, is based on a theology of supremacy. All Kuffar (an Arabic word meaning infidels, referring to all non-Muslims) must either convert to Islam, die or pay Jizyah (protection money). Some British Muslim leaders openly teach that where Muslims are in the minority, state benefits are the alternative to Jizyah. This theology of supremacy is the mother of many evils committed in the name of Islam, the apparently peaceful religion. If one looks at the Middle East and especially what ISIS is doing, one can see the fulfilment of this theology of supremacy. Christians are dispossessed, killed, raped, or forced to convert, because Christians are inherently inferior, whilst Muslims are the inherently superior masters. This is not just what extremists believe. It is the official teaching of Islam. That mentality makes sexual abuse of “Christians” by Muslim men more feasible.
The sad truth is that the banner of Islamophobia is waved too often and too readily by Muslims, that the tolerant people of this country have come to cower regardless of the rights and wrongs of a case. The banner of Islamophobia has been so deftly utilised to silence criticism of evil committed by Muslims in the name of their faith. Who has really criticised the massacre of Christians in Iraq and Syria in the name of Islam?! Which Muslim leader has had the integrity to say that such evils as committed by ISIS are to be repudiated?! No one seems to have the courage to say the right thing. The health impact of what ISIS has done to the Christian and other minorities in Iraq and Syria is incalculable.
I have seen too much evil committed against innocent people in the name of Islam to worry about being labelled Islamophobic. I would even venture to say that if criticising the Muslim theology of phallocentricity and supremacy is Islamophopic, then I would wear that label proudly. For I would rather side with the truth and the victims of evil and wear a negative label, than live a life of cowardly appeasement. The Rotherham report has represented a breaking of that cursed mould of cowardly silence in the name of that sordid amoral political correctness. The victims of this horrid and evil chapter in the history of Rotherham, and the authors of the brave and candid report, are to be saluted.
Where is the link between faith and health? These victims of phallocentric and supremacy theology will be scarred for life. They will need counselling, medication and life-long support. Only a miracle can help such victims to completely overcome the mental, physical, and social impact. I say victims, not just of sexual predation and mistaken theology, but of cowardice. If you are a Muslim who is offended by this blog, let me say that before you rush to lift the banner of Islamophobia, remember there is a time for everything under the sun. Now is the time to blush and feel shame. It is not time for knee-jerk defence of Muslims. Perhaps reflection is a more appropriate response, or else your community stands the risk of self-destruction.