“If a woman does not fulfil her responsibilities in marriage first you advise her, if that doesn’t work, then you consult her relatives. If that doesn’t work then you desert her in bed. If all of this doesn’t work, then light beating is allowed.” The definition of marital responsibilities if she refuses to dress up for her husband; turns down demands of intercourse without any religious excuse or does not take a bath after intercourse or menstrual periods.
When asked to be precise at what light beating means he said it was with a handkerchief or hat, but not on her face.
The reason the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) in Pakistan came up with this shocking idea is because the Pakistan government just passed a law to allow women legal protection from domestic, psychological and sexual violence. Large amounts of the Pakistan population are now in uproar of the idea that women need a light beating to get them back into line. Social media has been using the hashtag trybeatingtmelightly:
The Qur’an doesn’t mention homosexuality at all, and when it does mention “men who are not in need of women” it doesn’t condemn them. All of this might be surprising when you consider the impression most of the media has given about Omar Mateen’s killing of nearly 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The Independent reports how the recent rise of political Islam and jihadism by extremist groups, had lead to more homophobic talk by not only Muslim extremists but also the general Muslim population. A study in the UK over the last 12 months showed that 50% of Muslims thought homosexuality should be made illegal. I wonder what the Christian population of Britain would say? Would they have a similar opinion?
Whereas homosexuality is not explicitly condemned in Islam sacred writing, in the Bible it is clear: homosexuality is a sin.
Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”
Leviticus 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.”
1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
However we know from studying Christianity that different denominations of Christianity follow these Bible teaching to different extents. That some Christians would rather follow the Golden Rule or try to follow Jesus’ teachings of always doing the most loving thing and remembering to forgive.
Year 8 have given themselves a really good grounding in RE this year with the two units: What does it mean to be a Christian, and, What does it mean to be a Muslim. These two updated units were specifically designed to drip some of the new GCSE Religious Studies into Key Stage 3 so when students get to Year 10 and 11, they’ll understand a lot already!
We also have the Caring for Others, Genesis (creation and environment) and Suffering and Evil units to revise for the summer exam.
Here are some things to watch from BBC Bitesize Learning to get you started:
A 3 minute video of a man explaining his belief that God created the world on the BBC
Year 9 have enjoyed some updated units this year, helping them to prepare for the new AQA Religious Studies GCSE which we’ll start after the May half-term. So what will they have to revise for their summer exam?
A TV programme on Wednesday evening on Channel 4 might be worthwhile watching for our GCSE RS students. Channel 4 commissioned face-to-face, at-home interviews with a representative sample of 1,000 Muslims across the UK between 25 April and 31 May 2015 so they would be able to report on what British Muslims really think. Obviously a thousand is no where near the actual number of Muslims living in Britain (2, 706, 066), but as a survey it is found to be enough to be representative. The Guardian has reported in quite some depth about the TV programme’s findings but I still think watching it would be worthwhile.
A few interesting facts were unearthed by the survey:
The research suggests that 86% of British Muslims feel a strong sense of belonging in Britain, which is higher than the national average of 83%.
A large majority (91%) of the British Muslims who took part in the survey said they felt a strong sense of belonging in their local area, which is higher than the national average of 76%.
However, when asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed that homosexuality should be legal in Britain, 18% said they agreed and 52% said they disagreed, compared with 5% among the public at large who disagreed.
39% of the Muslims surveyed agreed that “wives should always obey their husbands”, compared with 5% of the country as a whole.
A Muslim woman out shopping in London was faced with Batman jokes, the Batman theme tune being sung and then ‘My kids can’t even see your face, who the f*** are you? Are you a man or a woman?’ being shouted at her. All for wearing the Niqab which is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear. It is worn with an accompanying headscarf.
The Qur’an, Islam’s holy book and treated as the word of God (Allah), tells Muslims – men and women – to dress modestly. Male modesty has been interpreted to be covering the area from the navel to the knee – and for women it is generally seen as covering everything except their face, hands and feet when in the presence of men they are not related or married to. How much of the body needs to be covered is open to interpretation by different Muslims and Muslim communities. Some French practise for you!
What is a transplant? It’s a surgical operation to introduce organ or tissue from one person (the donor) to another (the recipient). It may also refer to the transfer of tissues from one part of a person’s body to another part of the same person’s body.
Way back in 1908 Alexis Carrel came up with a way of transplanting organs but most of the organs he transplanted from one animal to another failed, as organs were eventually rejected. From the 1950s onwards organ transplants gradually became more successful with the development of drugs (e.g. cortisone) to help organs be accepted in the recipient’s body. The first successful heart transplant happened in 1967. For 18 days the patient Louis lived with the heart of a 25 year old woman beating inside him. Nowadays this would be seen as a failure, but back then this was a huge breakthrough. By 1984 heart transplants had become common place around the world and even children were having heart transplants.
In the second half of the 1900s development has continued with the options for transplant surgery growing. Artificial hearts have been with us since the 1950s. Since the late 1970s it has been possible to offer some deaf people the chance to hear with the aid of cochlear implants. In 1981 the first successful heart-lung transplant was performed in Stanford.
Despite this, replacement surgery remains a highly technical and very specialised profession. Its success also depends on the availability of suitable organ donations, and in many places in the world there are not enough to meet the demand. The NHS website explains which organs people can donate as well as what the main faiths teach about organ donation.
This can raise serious ethical questions and, some fear, lead to the body being treated as a commodity.
There is much debate within Islam on whether organ donation is halal or haram.
This has lead to a shortage of organs for Muslims with them having to wait on average an extra year for an organ compared to non-Muslims. The reason for this is that of the three million Muslims in Britain most have a South Asian ethnic background: so if less Muslims of this ethnic background donate organs there’ll be less organs which match people of that ethnic background who need them. Hospitals have had to urge Muslims to donate because the shortage of organs is so severe.
This was the question left unanswered by the class on Monday when we studied the different arguments for Jerusalem being Israeli or Palestinian.
So let’s try to answer it! Using an excellent BBC webpage about the History of Israel and Palestine we learn that in 1250 BC the Israelites began to conquer and settle the land of Canaan on the eastern Mediterranean coast. There was then the reign of King Solomon (961-922 BC) and the construction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon’s reign was followed by the division of the land into two kingdoms. In 586 BC the southern kingdom, Judah, was conquered by the Babylonians, who drove its people, the Jews, into exile and destroyed Solomon’s Temple. After 70 years the Jews began to return and Jerusalem and the temple were gradually rebuilt.
It was then in 638 AD that there was the conquest by Arab Muslims and the second caliph of Islam, Omar, built a mosque at the site of what is now the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem in the early years of the 8th Century. Apart from the age of the Crusaders (1099-1187), the region remained under Muslim rule until the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the 20th Century.
So do we need to think about who got there first or who was there the longest?
In fact maybe we need to look at more recent history to consider whether territory is more Israeli or Palestinian. It was in the 1920s and 1930s that a Zionist movement saw hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrating to what was then a Palestine run and managed by the British (British Mandate Palestine). In 1922 11% of the population in Palestine were Jewish.
Then in 1947 the British handed over the ‘problem’ to the UN who consequently decided to partition the territory into Israeli and Palestinian land. The map below shows what happened and in other moves since:
This is such a complicated conflict and one we’re likely to hear about over many years to come. Just take care when searching for information online that you check the source as there is a lot of bias information in favour of the different sides.