While I’ve been in New York City, I’ve been running around having fun (a post-book treat for me), and yet readers have been sending me pieces about Reza Aslan, who apparently is on a media blitz to whitewash Islam after the sharp criticisms leveled by Bill Maher and Sam Harris. (One unctuous example can be found here.)
I am SO tired of Aslan’s apologetics about the faith, which never stand up to the merest scrutiny, and I’m equally tired of his self-promotion. I’ve said enough about him for the time being, but reader Heather Hastie, who has her own website, decided to write a piece dissecting Aslan’s claim that female genital mutilation (FGM) is “not an Islamic practice.” (I believe Aslan originally touted it as an “African practice”.) And indeed, there are non-Muslim Africans who practice this barbaric mutilation, but it’s been largely coopted by Islam as a religiously-mandated mutilation. (See Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book Infidel for how it was practiced on her.)
But I’ll let you read Heather’s analysis over at her website Heather’s Homilies. Her post, which well repays a read, is called “Reza Aslan: Lying for Islam on FGM.” Please leave comments on Heather’s website rather than here, as it’s her post. One brief excerpt:
In Sunni Islam, there are four schools of jurisprudence that express and opinion on the matter. Two of them, the Hanbali and Shafi’i schools, consider FGM obligatory, while the other two, the Hanafi and Maliki schools, recommend it. In addition, there have been several fatwas issued regarding FGM over the years, the majority of which favour it. (Fatwas are not compulsory, but devout Muslims consider them morally imperative.) For example, Fatwa 60314 includes statements that express the importance of FGM within Islam and dismiss the opinions of doctors.
There’s a copy of Fatwa 60314 to see at her post.