Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sometimes the Islamists get it right...

As is usually the case, even the most unredeeming group of people come with their good points. Such is the case with the Somali Islamists, who are forcing Somalis, willing and unwilling alike, into conformity with their strict and old-school Islamic law (Shari'a). But, as this BBC report shows, there are some good things to the rule, namely that the caste system is being broken down by the universalizing membership of Islam. Also, i'd add to the article that the virtual annihilation of the old warlords has to be considered a huge plus. Here are some highlights from the article which you can read in full here plus a little commentary:

Union of Islamic Courts leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed recently said Somalis
should marry good Muslims, whatever caste they were from, in an effort to break
down centuries of prejudice.
"Islam recommends choosing your partner
according to whether they follow their religion and whether they are of good
character but not because of their social level," he said.

How unenlightened. We sophisticated folk in the West have long understood that you should pick your partner based on a combination of arbitrary feelings, how "nice" the person is, how little they challenge your self-identity, viable employability, and sexual attraction.

While some members of the lower castes, such as the Yahar, Midgan, Eyle,
Boon, say they face constant discrimination, several members have risen to
occupy prominent positions in society.

Many members of the lower castes perform jobs such as metal-working,
hunting with dogs, shoe-making and hairdressing.

Marriage is the area where traditional prejudices remain strongest,
with men who marry lower caste women often ostracised by their families.

It's funny how similar that is here. After all, you're allowed to sow your wild oats with whoever you feel like, but then families tend to get real picky about who their runt marries. We figure it's fine to treat people like whores as long as you make no real committments. That's just "being young".

Sahal knew his family would be upset by the wedding and felt unable to tell
them that he and Zamzam had gone ahead and tied the knot. When he did break the
news, his father immediately told him to divorce his new wife and choose
another, higher caste, woman.

"My parents promised me they would pay a large amount of money for the cost
of my wedding if I married a woman of my caste, but I could not disown my
beloved one," he said.

"She is beautiful, polite, obedient to me, pious and God-fearing, so there
was no reason not to marry her."

Yes! I like this guy. Seriously, I'd like to buy him a (root) beer in admiration. No flighty BS, he just wants a good, solid Muslim girl who has the same likes and priorities he does.

Zamzam says she only knew that she loved Sahal and never thought about
their difference in social background.

She said it was beyond her wildest dreams to see herself sharing a life
with Sahal.

"Love knows no age, no caste, and no creed. There can be no other
explanation why Sahal could have fallen in love with me," she said.

"However, he married me against the wishes of his parents, jeopardising his
relations with his relatives and friends and that of the community he comes
from," she added.

"Finally, he was mine and I was his. Sometimes life is indeed like a
Bollywood movie," she said, smiling.

The comparison to Bollywood is awesome! hah. So sweet. Best of luck to the two of them. Islamists or no, I think they've got this priority straight.


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