I’ve noticed lately certain similarities in the ways paedophiles and Moslems are perceived in the popular imagination and portrayed in the media.

I’ve become particularly sensitive to this after having once or twice recently, when discussing the issue with non-paedophile friends, found myself acting in a manner resembling the stereotypical fanatic Moslem – troubling, if not actually ‘scaring’, my friends by the intensity of my convictions.

What I am about to write will be a ‘compare and contrast’ of certain media tropes concerning both groups and as such will be primarily concerned with ‘narrative’ rather than ‘facts’ or ‘truth’. I take what I know about the condition of paedophiles, relate it to how we are perceived, and compare this with what I perceive about the condition of Moslems.

There is an epistemological imbalance here – a lop-sided triangle of knowledge: I can correlate society’s narratives around paedophiles with my objective knowledge of being one, but I can’t do the same for Moslems – I can’t ‘square the triangle’. I am aware of how I perceive moslems (and am also aware of just how subjective and contingent my perceptions are), but I have little idea as to what really goes on in the minds of moslems.

Moreover any impressions I have are problematic because the word ‘moslem’ covers such a huge diversity of attitudes, cultures and beliefs and, because so much of the narrative about Moslems turns around notions of ‘deceit’ and ‘deception’ (as does, of course, the narrative around paedophiles).

I have had personal encounters and acquaintances with Moslems that have made an impression and given me pause to reflect on the nature of their religion and its relationship to my society. But nearly all of what I perceive about the more extreme aspects of being a Moslem (aspects which have become increasingly present in the public consciousness since the Rushdie Affair, 9/11 and the emergence of Daesh) comes from the media and is therefore, at best, second-hand.

Nor is my intention to criticise Islam or its believers, though the reader will have no difficulty in discerning my feelings: I find something profoundly alien in someone who believes that a woman is somehow worth less than a man; or who thinks homosexuality, adultery, listening to music, or drinking alcohol are more immoral than throwing innocent people off tall buildings for being homosexual, stoning women for having been raped, or abducting children and making sex slaves of them.

Granted, I have just characterised the Moslem mind using those traits popularly associated with it which are most extreme and which I find most puzzling and distressing.

I make no apology for this: whilst a geneticist might define a hyena by its DNA, a morphologist by the female’s outsized clitoris, and an ethologist by their complex social system – to its prey the only characteristics that matter are their sharp teeth, the strength of their jaws and the degree of their hunger.

The Inventory

Both have a sense of victimhood, whilst being perceived by the general population as victimizers.

In an era when the victim is king and people actively seek the power and status victimhood gives, it really sticks in my craw to identify myself (and, by extension, other paedophiles) as a ‘victim’. But if one defines a victim as someone subject to ‘systematic unfair treatment’ a glance at any news story dealing with average paedophiles (i.e. not genuine child rapists, traffickers &c) will confirm that, like it or not, we are ‘victims’.

Moslems’ bid for victimhood can best be seen in the concept of blasphemy (which makes a victim of their ‘god’), and the use of the term ‘islamophobia’ to automatically convert any criticism or ridicule of their ideology into something that feels like an attack on a person or community for some trait that they neither chose nor can change – something akin to ‘racism’.

Despite an incipient awareness of some of the injustice committed against paedophiles (see International Megan’s Law faces challenge, Free Range Kids), and some success on the part of Virtuous Pedophiles to redefine themselves as victims, the popular narrative still remorselessly characterises paedophiles as ‘victimizers’.

Likewise the actions of al-Qaeda, Daesh, Boko Haram et al against both the West and fellow Moslems, occidentophobia, antisemitism, the subjugation of women, and Islam’s imperialist agenda makes Moslems seem less victims and more victimizers.

Both feel they are wrongly represented in the media

Both paedophiles and moslems are most visible in the media through crimes and negative actions and both would claim that the media creates a false image of them by selecting only negative stories about them. This means that both tend to be characterised, in the public mind, by the worst that can be said or imagined of them.

The media reinforces the selection of negative stories about both groups by using words, photographs and stories that emphasise the deviance of the groups concerned and which give the story impact (think of how photo editors select the worst, creepiest, photos of paedophiles and, when there is some form of demonstration by Moslems, they choose photos in which the crowd looks most rabid).

The media tend to think and report using broad, vague categories, which simplify the creation of stories but which eliminate nuances: thus the term ‘paedophile’ comes to include, over-and-above paedophiles sensu stricto, child molesters, child rapist, hebephiles, anyone on a sex offender register, and normies who find someone noticeably younger than themselves attractive.

Likewise, but to a lesser extent the media and the popular narrative conflate ‘terrorist’, jihadist’ and ‘jihadi sympathiser’, and even labels such as ‘Moslem’, ‘refugee’ and ‘asylum seeker’ are thrown into the mix.

Both paedophiles and Moslems perceive themselves as having little access to the media and as therefore having a reduced ability to counter the negative narrative promulgated against them. This, of course, is much more the case for paedophiles than for Moslems, and has very grave consequences – allowing positive feed-back loops of fabulation and hysteria to develop, unrestrained by reason or fact (e.g. Day-care sex-abuse hysteria).

Both are perceived as defending indefensible positions.

Surprisingly, this maybe applies more to Moslems, when they are thought to be defending Sharia law, child marriage, the idea of a world caliphate &c, than to paedophiles, who are not generally seen as defending a position, but just giving in to uncontrollable urges.

The notion that there exists a radical philosophy of paedophilia has not properly entered the public narrative, and few of the disinterested public who are aware that radical paedophilia exists will have much idea of what it consists of.

Needless to say the popular narrative round child sexuality and paedophilia is becoming increasingly monolithic and depleted of nuance – and anyone who deviates from this (by, for example, suggesting that intimacy with a 15-year-old experienced, proactive girl is not exactly the same thing as intimacy with a 5-year-old) will be seen as defending the indefensible.

Both, when they repudiate and condemn the worst actions of their ‘own’, are not believed by the general public

This is because both are, to different extents, perceived as being intrinsically dishonest.

Paedophiles are primarily perceived as being dishonest because, in western societies, they can only establish and maintain relationships with children through deception. The popular narrative does not acknowledge the distinction between ‘deceiving the loved child’ (something many paedophiles would consider very wrong) and ‘deceiving those outside the relationship that would want to destroy it’.

The popular narrative is informed by the idea of the paedophile luring children away by inviting them to ‘see some puppies’, telling the child that their intimacy is ‘our little secret’ or, with very young children, teaching them ‘decoy words’ for erogenous zones and sexual acts. Some ‘guides for paedophiles’ available on the darknet do a great deal to reinforce this narrative.

Islam explicitly allows dishonesty in the forms of ‘taqiyya’ and ‘kittman’.

Kittman is

‘the art of making ambiguous statements, paying lip-service to authority while reserving personal opposition, in a kind of political camouflage or reservatio mentalis.’

Taqiyya is:

‘a form of Islamic dissimulation or a legal dispensation whereby a believing individual can deny his faith or commit otherwise illegal or blasphemous acts’.

An example of Kittman is when Moslems talk about Islam as ‘a religion of peace’, when what they are perceived to mean is that ‘Islam brings perfect peace, but only once Islam has conquered the whole world. Till then the world will know no peace’.

Paedophiles often find themselves obliged to do both of the above. One has to keep secret the fact that one is a paedophile and it is rare that one can be open and honest when questioned.

Likewise I am aware of often having to equivocate (making use of ambiguities in a word’s definition in order to deceive the listener). If someone asks me what I think about child abuse, I’ll truthfully reply that I think it a very terrible thing.

But in so answering I am knowingly not adopting the definition of ‘child abuse’ that the questioner is using. By ‘child abuse’ they mean ‘any sensual interaction between an adult and a child’. Whereas my definition of child abuse would include ‘the mental, emotional or physical mistreatment of a child, as well as any manipulative or non-consensual sex’. My definition of ‘abuse’ doesn’t include consensual, caring physical intimacy. Obviously.

Even when condemning the ‘worst’ of their community, both are suspected of harbouring secret sympathies with them.

Paedophiles and their deeds are invariably portrayed negatively in the media. The media will explicitly acknowledge nothing that is caring and consensual in a relationship between a paedophile and a child, but will re-frame it to fit the one permissible narrative allowed for such stories. Knowing this, I not only suspend my judgment on the adult in such cases, but have a reflex sympathy for him – in doing so I’m already granting the ‘paedo’ more sympathy than would be generally acceptable.

If his only ‘crime’ is that of possession of child pornography then he has my entire sympathy.

If he had some sort of intimacy with a child and I suspect that it was a good, consensual relationship – again, the paedo has all my sympathy (‘cracks’, through which the ‘truth’ can be glimpsed, can appear in stories forced to conform to a false narrative – such as when the child continues to seek the adult out once the intimacy has begun).

However there are those cases where I would genuinely condemn the adult protagonist – such as adults who used their power and authority to manipulate or force children into intimacy.

But even whilst I genuinely condemn the actions of such people, a part of me is also aware of what it is to be lonely, possessed by love and desire, and be tempted. And whilst acknowledging the wrongness of their actions, I still feel that in most cases the reaction to their crime is disproportionate (‘Stop saying that rape and abuse are worse than death!’).

In short the general thinking around paedophilia is so flawed that I have no respect for the popular narrative and media on this issue. When I see a ‘paedo’ on the news I see someone with the same drives and desires as myself who was unable to manage them and control them, or who maybe just ‘got lucky’ and met the right child, and then ‘got unlucky’ when their relationship was discovered. My judgment is entirely suspended until I get some insight into what really happened.

I suspect a similar kind of thinking goes on with moderate Moslems when faced with the actions of extreme Moslems.

There is a suspicion that when Moslems condemn terrorism, quite apart from the possibility that they are equivocating by defining terrorism as ‘the acts of the West against Islam’, there is also the suspicion that they have sympathies with the persons they are seen to condemn. Whilst they may disapprove of their methods they may admire the terrorist’s devotion to their god, and agree that establishing a global caliphate is, in itself, a good thing. They may think of the terrorist as someone essentially good who has been driven off the correct path, and into acting wrongfully, by intolerable pressures.

Both are perceived as being sympathetic to sexual interactions between children and adults

Well (the more puritanical wing of VirPeds aside) as far as paedophiles are concerned I have to plead ‘Guilty, M’lud’ on that charge  – though my conception of what is meant by ‘sexual interaction’ and ‘children’ is significantly different to that of the popular narrative.

The case with Moslems is slightly more ambiguous. QrUK6

First of all, according to the Hadith, Mohamed married Aisha when she was six and consummated the marriage three years later.

Given that it is a basic principle of Islam that a Muslim should follow the example of the Mohamed in every detail (apparently this is stated in the Quran no less than 91 times) this leaves western Moslems with very little wriggle-room when challenged on this question. Even when a Moslem does condemn Mohamed’s interaction with Aisha, or paedophilia in general, one is left in doubt of their sincerity as they may just be making use of Taqiyya and Kittman.

Another factor adding to the perception that Moslems are is, of course, the systematic use of child-rape and forced child-marriage by terrorist groups such a Boko-Haram and Daesh, and the legality of child-marriage in Moslem countries such as the Yemen, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Finally there are the notorious cases that make the news of Moslem child-prostitution rings – such as the ones at Rochdale and Rotherham – create the perception that Islam is friendly to child-adult sex (though this seems to be a friendliness towards the more nasty, hierarchical, power-oriented aspects of sex).

Both groups, when they refuse to accept the narrative society has constructed for them, can be perceived as arrogant

Moslems are perceived as feeling that their faith and their knowledge of their god’s wishes, through the Quran, sets them above Kaffirs, or non-believers. This can lead them to be perceived as ‘arrogant’

Likewise with paedophiles. If I were entirely open and truthful I’d admit to feeling a certain amount of superiority to those who adhere to a narrative as filled with errors, wrong assumptions, prejudice, distortions and fantasy etc as the one around child sexuality and paedophilia. Of course many of those people are also friends, acquaintances and family whom I also love and respect. And I also acknowledge that for anyone who is not a paedophile the ‘truth’ is almost inaccessible.

Likewise when a paedophile argues back, or if they merely assert, against the grain of the popular narrative, that they have never ‘offended’ and will never ‘offend’, they are labelled as dangerously arrogant (see some responses to Todd Nickerson’s appearances on 98fm’s ‘Dublin Talks’ radio show. As a VirPed I don’t agree with everything Todd writes or says, but I’ll acknowledge that he comes across well on his radio appearances – humble, thoughtful, polite and likeable – however many listeners thought him ‘arrogant’ for being certain that he will never ‘offend’).

Both are motivated by a vision of a better world – which would be generally considered as a worse world by the rest of society

This doesn’t apply to all paedophile: VirPeds especially are resistant to any changes in society that might lead towards intimate relationships between children and adults being less stigmatised.

However many paedophiles have visions for a society in which love and intimacy between adults and children would not be stigmatised, and therefore not harmful – visions based on Marxist, Ecologist or Libertarian principles. Whilst many non-paedophiles might adhere to such political ideologies most would strongly resist any association of their ideology with paedophilia (see how the German Greens have disowned their former sympathies with paedophilia).

Moslems are perceived as having a fundamental allegiance to Sharia law and notions of a global caliphate, and see it as a duty to work towards these.

Both are associated with corruption and contagion narratives

We are all too familiar with the term ‘grooming’ where an adult treats a child with respect, shows them love and makes them happy, gives proof of their loyalty and trustworthiness and, surprise surprise!, the child responds to this as do all humans (and many non-human animals) by returning the love and affection. In short – ‘grooming’ a word which turns something otherwise laudable into something negative, something with the odour of corruption about it.

The contagion narrative associated with paedophilia is that of the ‘abused growing up to become an abuser’ – a myth that has largely been debunked but which persists in the popular narrative.

The Moslem equivalent is found in narratives of propaganda, brainwashing and in the selection of vulnerable individuals to target for radicalisation – a process similar to that of ‘grooming’. In a sense both paedophiles and radical Islam are considered as stealing the souls of the vulnerable (Hundreds of children suffer ‘soul murder’ at hands of clergy abusers).

Both live outside of, and in parallel, with society

In many european countries Moslems are perceived to live in ghettos defined as ‘Moslem areas’ and where non-Moslems can feel unwelcome. They are perceived to have their own institutions (mosques, madrassas, islamic schools) – all of which can seem hermetic. In the UK there are even special islamic courts and tribunals that run in parallel to the established legal system.

Paedophiles (whether ‘offending’ or not) are considered as ‘outsiders’ who, especially if they haven’t ‘offended’ and can not be identified, exist in society by subterfuge. Indeed it is generally assumed that all paedophiles either have already offended or are certain to offend in the future – so the question of whether they have been found guilty of a crime or not is considered irrelevant to their status.

This is most clearly seen in the way that paedophiles, once identified, are denied their right to participate fully in society – either through being ostracised, through the loss of work and community, or by the restriction placed on them by a sex-offender register, restrictions which are often life-long.

There is also the perception that both paedophiles and radical Moslems interact mainly on the darknet – a part of the internet that exists beyond the scrutiny of society, and the idea of ‘Paedophile rings’ posits the existence of invisible organisations (the word ‘ring’ gives the impression of strength, structure and exclusivity) that operate either independently of, or parasitically on, society.

A recurring media narrative is the paedophile/terrorist ‘who lived next door’ who either ‘kept themselves to themselves’ or ‘seemed a really decent bloke’ – the apparent ‘decency’ being interpreted as part of the deceit intrinsic to such groups.

Conclusion

What has been the value of this exercise?

What can an analysis of how Moslems are perceived teach us about the condition of paedophiles?

Surely we already know just how misrepresented paedophiles are in the popular narrative?

How does this differ from other inventories of misconceptions, such as my earlier ‘18 Common Misconceptions About Paedophiles & Paedophilia‘?

Whilst the ’18 Common Misconceptions…’ addresses errors that reason and evidence can refute, the items listed above, for the most part, can not be so simply refuted.

That, I think, is because they are ‘metanarratives’ – narratives about narratives. The question we can ask about them is ‘how has the narrative made use of the truth?’ not ‘are they true?’.

The deceptions that these metanarratives perpetuate are not those of ‘untruths’ but of employing a framing, a point of view, in which only negative truths are plainly presented, and positive truths are suppressed or spun into negatives.

The popular narrative gets the facts about grooming broadly right – paedophiles are prone to treating their loved-child particularly respectfully and indulgently – and this can lead to the child feeling affection for the adult and maybe expressing that affection physically. But by imputing a ‘motivation’ (which is much harder to prove, or disprove, than ‘behaviour’ and ‘deeds’) the popular narrative manages to completely up-end this normally laudable behaviour into something negative and manipulative.

This shows that our struggle is not one of simply collating and asserting facts, evidence and employing Reason, but that we also have the harder task of countering and subverting a narrative which reframes all facts and evidence around child sexuality and paedophilia in such a way as to reinforce a single, hegemonic and censorious narrative.

Finally, I feel that this exercise has given me some insight into the mind and thought-processes of the paedophobe: I recognise in my islamophobia many of the characteristics of the paedophobic narrative – especially the degree to which I am ready to attribute to all Moslems the worst interpretations and characteristics imputed to the Moslem mind. It’s always salutary to have one’s certainties problematised.

aisha-hr

 

 

 

22 thoughts on “Narratives & Perceptions: Paedophiles & Moslems

  1. Cracking blog post. I am very impressed.

    WRT the age of boys involved in pederastic sex and relationships in Muslim countries, in Before Homosexuality in the Arab‐Islamic World, 1500-1800, Khaled El-Rouayheb puts it at about seven or eight through eighteen or twenty, with the boys most commonly considered attractive being perhaps ten through sixteen. Plenty of room there for love of prepubescents. In Arno Schmitt and Jehoeda Sofer’s Sexuality and Eroticism among Males in Muslim Societies, the typical age of present-day Moroccan boys sexually involved with older boys and unmarried young men is given as seven through thirteen.

    A Moroccan man I know, a middle-aged fellow with a wife and kids who fulfils the traditional male role of working hard at a hated job to support his beloved family, has a close circle of male friends, all around his age and all, like him, Moroccan immigrants with wives and kids of their own. These friendships are remarkably close and loving and the friends touch in a way I’ve never seen Western European or US adult male friends touch when not drunk — e.g. a casual touch on the hand, rather than the shoulder, to get the other’s attention.

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  2. Impressed again by an excellent commentary.

    I can add that I have known enough Muslims to not be seriously concerned about deception on their part. Some may be dishonest, certainly, but I have their whole character to judge them by, not just their words – and I haven’t seen that they are particularly worse than any other group. Certainly, some will say things privately that will seem extreme to outsiders, but the same can be said of Christians, Jews, Environmentalists, Communists, and other religious believers. Somehow we seem to get by regardless.

    I am always a little curious about the assertion that child marriage must be an end to education. Many a husband or wife has helped put their spouse through college – I don’t see why a husband shouldn’t want to get his wife through elementary, middle, and high school as well. In fact, when I see who historically has put a stop to a young woman completing her education because she is married, in our society at least it has been more likely to be a teacher or a school board than their spouse.

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    1. Thank you for your comment Baldur Odensen,

      >” Somehow we seem to get by regardless.”

      I can’t say the same regarding my experiences (working in a majority moslem school, living in a city with a very high moslem population, having a close catholic friend who was engaged to a moslem girl).

      It’s been a slow and very reluctant process – I am profoundly of the left, in my teens I stood alongside moslems in anti-racism marches, and picked up from my father (a professor at a university with a large moslem population) an admiration for the studious, polite and serious attitude of the first generations of moslem immigrants (an attitude that did not survive my working in the moslem school) – but all my deep involvements with any moslem who hasn’t entirely renounced islam, have foundered on their religion, the attitudes that islam engenders, and the traditions that their religion legitimises.

      I have had friendships with Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and a Sikh – and their religions have never become a problem between us – quite the contrary – their religions seemed to enrich them and their lives.

      >”I am always a little curious about the assertion that child marriage must be an end to education. ”

      I can certainly imagine that the scenario you outline could be possible.

      But from what I pick up (and granted that I have no special knowledge on this, and what I know generally comes from organisations with a bias against child marriage) marriage usually is accompanied with a withdrawal or end to the child’s education – as domestic work and child rearing take priority over education (and knowing that the girl will not be entering the job market must also be a factor in devaluing the relevance of a girl’s education – in the girl’s mind, her husband’s and the community’s).

      The graphic on this page shows a correlation between child marriage and reduced literacy and numeracy

      http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/02/child_brides

      This paper’s introduction gives some interesting nuances and insights into child marriage:

      http://allinschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/OOSC-2014-QW-Child-Marriage-final.pdf

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      1. I am sure you are aware of the difference between causation and correlation, as well as presumed causation that is reversed from reality, common causes for multiple effects, and so on.

        So while there is certainly a correlation between poverty, lack of education, and child marriage, that does not necessarily mean they are connected – and in a modern context with such things as effective birth control I see no need for them to be connected. That said, there has been some research suggesting that for some unwed teenage girls who are poor, motherhood is a rational choice – at least within the context of the modern welfare state. With little expectation that things will ever get better, it makes sense from an evolutionary perspective to have children young while one is still healthy enough to raise them.

        But as for myself – if I were to marry a young girl, I would want her educated for a number of reasons: because I would want a partner I could converse intelligently with, because I would want a partner who had the wherewithal to take care of our children were an accident to befall me, because I would want my children to have a mother capable of not only feeding them but of educating them in the many things that schools seldom teach. I would not care so much whether she had a certificate to attest to her education, but I would want her very well educated nonetheless – and if she had some spectacular abilities that would be of immeasurable benefit to others beyond the home, I would not only want her educated but I would encourage her to exercise those talents. I can’t imagine that I am the only man to feel this way.

        So, when the poor family in a poor society elects to educate only their boys – is it because they are trying to keep girls trapped, or is it because they must prioritize their spending where they think it will do the most good? Is the solution to end child marriage, or to promote effective birth control and economic growth? In short, is the push against child marriage an effective remedy, or a bandage – perhaps even an infected bandage?

        As for Muslims – perhaps my experience is different because most of the Muslims I have known have not been from the Middle East. The hard-drinking Muslims from Eastern Europe and the pot-smoking Muslims from the Caribbean have very different cultures than Saudis or Egyptians – but their expression of their faith suggests that the issue may be culture more than religion.

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  3. Rest easy good stereotype Peds & Adultos.

    Here’s SweetStreetTuffTina’s definitive statement TRASHING all antis –
    for ALLTIME. (Try It – U’ll Like It.)

    Since the UK AOC was raised from a rational ’13’ to an NonceSensical
    ’16’ in 1885 by a rabid Right wing tabloid campaign of Anglo mock
    Puritan outrage. In truth, as ever, for circulation & profit deviously
    masked by Mass Deception as so called ‘Child Protection’.

    TENS OF THOUSANDS of UK Under-16s so called ‘INNOCENT CHILDREN’ many
    as young as TEN, have been legally CONVICTED & CAGED for their moral,
    mental, emotional ABILITY TO CONSENT to commit crimes!

    “Consent Matters – Age Doesn’t. My Mind, My Body, My Choice (My Pedo?)
    – Mind Yer Own!”

    Quote gay Brit-victim visionary Oscar Wilde, 1891, “We are dominated
    by (Right wing) journalism.”

    https://fr.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hsimp=yhs-002&hspart=CND&type=A79FEF560EC_s58_g_e_d_n&p=youtube%20barbara%20hewson

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  4. And of course don’t let us forget there is a very long history of boy-love in Muslim countries too. Brongersma says this:

    “Many tales in The Thousand Nights and a Night, in verses of Abu Nowas, El-Tifachi and other well-known poets show how greatly boy-love was part of Arab culture. El-Tifachi describes a night of passionate love when he shared his bed with a boy and a slave girl. He claimed he preferred the boy: “He is a better comrade, in the company of others he is more entertaining, and when you’re alone with him he is like a lawful wife.” Abu Nowas was of exactly the same opinion; just as in Ancient Greece and Rome, one and the same man used now a boy and then a girl.

    Abu Nowas thinks of his beloved boy and has a wet dream. Many battles against the Christian infidels were only fought to capture the handsome white slave-boys for whom there was a special market in Constantinople. Under Osman rule such favourite Greek, Serbian, Bulgarian and Hungarian boys, circumcised and forcibly converted to Islam, could rise to the highest official positions. The Koran, it is true, forbids this kind of sex, but on the other hand it holds out to the faithful the prospect of being served in paradise by beautiful youths whose bloom never withers, and this can be interpreted to mean that sex with boys on earth is only an illegal advance on the bliss of beatitude.

    A study of contemporary youth in Morocco shows that the active role in anal intercourse is, from the moral standpoint, only slightly objectionable. The passive role is unacceptable if a third party might come to know about it; kept strictly secret, it is a different matter.”

    I have it on very good authority this last paragraph holds true in contemporary Tunisia also. Traveling within Arab countries, and scratching just a little beneath the surface, it becomes apparent there exists a hidden underbelly of Muslim society that is distinctly paedophilic. Why? Because in human nature here as well as elsewhere, ‘twas ever thus, plus these societies do not relinquish their history and their ancient cultures easily.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Feinmann0

      Yes, it’s always surprised me how a religion that is as explicitly and determinedly homophobic as islam also comes across, by western standards, being very, well…, ‘gay’.

      The permissible levels of intimacy allowed between men would, in the west, identify the participants as homosexuals, or at the very least their behaviour would be seen as ‘homosexual’. Interestingly enough, in my experiences of living in islamic countries – public intimacy between men and women is not similarly tolerated. I think it may be more to do with arab culture than anything, though pakistani and afghan cultures have their ‘dancing boys’.

      Gide’s ‘l’Immoraliste’ suggests what you write about Tunisia is probably true – though as a paedophile whose attraction to little boys doesn’t so much ‘tail off’ when they start showing the first signs of puberty as ‘hits a wall and bounces several yards back’ I get the impression that the permissible underbelly is more for hebes and ephebes than paedophiles proper – but I’d be happy to be disabused of that notion.

      But these countries are generally on the more permissive end of islam – I’m pruriently curious about the consequences of living in a strict islamic community on developing sexuality of a child. I mean the kind of society where women are covered up in public and where, once puberty has been reached, the only people of the opposite sex and the same age children can socialise with, or even just SEE, are siblings.

      A consequence of this could be that one directs one sexual energy and imagination to those people/objects that are visually and socially available, and thus most readily available to the imagination.

      I’d be interested to know if 1/ homosexuality or homosexual behaviour 2/ paedophilia 3/ bestiality 4/ sibling incest are more common in societies such as Saudi Arabia – simply because, in default of women and young girls being visible and socially available, men, children, animals and siblings are the most available objects for sexual interest.

      This wouldn’t mean that those who practice such relationships are necessarily ‘homosexual’, ‘paedophiles’, ‘zoophiles’ etc – but that such behaviour may be more normalised – much as, in all-male boarding schools, homosexual interactions become more acceptable as they are the only relationships and sources of sexual relief available to boys at an age where they are often desperate for sex and affection.

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      1. The claim that Arab / Muslim culture is inherently more homophobic than the “enlightened” West is probably pure pink-washing Western propaganda. I advise reading the following text (in French):
        http://www.palim-psao.fr/article-homophobie-musulmane-occident-eclaire-par-georg-klauda-69687830.html
        also at
        http://www.krisis.org/2014/homophobie-musulmane-occident-clair-2/
        Homophobia was invented in the European Middle Ages at the time of crusades and was used as a weapon against Arabs and Turks; In Africa and the Middle East, bigots claim that their homophobia is a consequence of their national and cultural traditions, but it is in fact a European import, in particular in English-speaking Africa it came from the British colonizers. Also Muslim religious bigotry is a copy of the European one of previous centuries, for instance Khomeiny’s Islamic Republic is a caricature of Calvin’s regime in Geneva.

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        1. Are you saying that the West imposed homophobia on Islam? and is the discussion about Islam, the ‘Umma’, today or in the Middle Ages? Should today’s Islam be exculpated of its persecution of homosexuals because 800 years ago the West did the same too?

          As to which is most ‘inherently homophobic’ – Christianity or Islam – I think it’s of interest to compare what the Quran and the Hadith, and New Testament say about homosexuality.

          Quran:

          Quran (7:80-84) – “…For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds…. And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone)”

          Abu Dawud (4462) – The Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever you find doing the action of the people of Loot, execute the one who does it and the one to whom it is done.”.

          Quran (7:81) – “Will ye commit abomination such as no creature ever did before you?”

          Quran (26:165-166) – “Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, “And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing”

          Hadith:

          Abu Dawud (4448) – “If a man who is not married is seized committing sodomy, he will be stoned to death.”

          Bukhari (72:774) – “The Prophet cursed effeminate men and those women who assume the manners of men, and he said, ‘Turn them out of your houses .’ The Prophet turned out such-and-such man, and ‘Umar turned out such-and-such woman.”

          al-Tirmidhi, Sunan 1:152 – [Muhammad said] “Whoever is found conducting himself in the manner of the people of Lot, kill the doer and the receiver.”

          Reliance of the Traveller, p17.2 – “May Allah curse him who does what Lot’s people did.”

          The New Testament:

          In none of the 3 synoptic gospels nor John is anything mentioned about homosexuality. Nor in the Book of Acts, in Hebrews, in Revelation, or in the letters attributed to James, Peter, John, and Jude.

          It is mentioned in Romans 1:26–27, 1 Corinthians 6:9–10, and 1 Timothy 1:8–11 – and these are very vague and ambiguous (I won’t go into them in detail here).

          This lack of reference to homosexuality in the New Testament suggests that it was not a matter of major concern either for Jesus or for the early Christian movement.

          Indeed it is possible, given that Jesus seemed to be someone highly educated in Greek philosophy (his own pronouncements are really are Jewish version of Socrates), he may have been aware of the role of homosexuality in the ideas of Plato, Socrates and other greek thinkers.

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          1. You did not quote the Ancient Testament, in particular the Deuteronomy and Leviticus, which explicitly sets the death penalty for any sexual deviation. Western bigots have always relied on it to justify the persecution of gays.
            Anyway, societies are not based on sacred books, but on social and economic norms. The West is not “Christian”, but capitalist since long, and imperialist, while the Middle East is not “Islamic” but capitalist since more recent times, and neo-colonial.
            And you did not bother to read the text I linked to (you read French). In many parts of the “Islamic world” (Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan, …) there is a tradition of man-boy love or man-man love, it was considered as a normal and natural attraction, and not a pathological one, this love was chanted by poets and practiced by religious scholars and mystics. The Coran and Hadith condemnation of “sodomy” was interpreted in a restrictive way as only a ban on anal sex. On the other hand, the modern West has a deep bourgeois heteronormative (and productivist) view of love, where man-woman love is the norm and the rest is pathological. Modern-day islamists do not represent “Islamic culture”, but a local version of capitalism with its heteronormativity, and the repressive Middle East regimes are belated imitations of the fascist dictatorships of the 1930s in Europe.
            Homosexuality was brutally repressed in Europe for many centuries. For instance in England, gays were hanged at the beginning of the 19th century, and the persecution of gays ended only in the 1960s. Now we have a more liberal heteronormativity (but still as pervasive), and repression has shifted from a gender basis to a generational one.

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            1. Given that Christianity and Islam (and Judaism) are all religions ‘of the book’ it makes sense to concentrate on those texts which distinguish them rather than those which they share – moreover the New Testament supplants the Old Testament for Christians, much in the same way as the Quran does the old testament in Islam- so the newer texts are the defining texts of both their religions. Only christian nut-jobs go to the OT for guidance – even as an atheist I can see that Jesus’s teachings are an immense improvement on Leviticus et al – unfortunately however the quran makes no moral progress on the OT.

              I’ll admit that christian countries haven’t got a great record with homosexuality historically speaking – but the important word here is ‘historically’ – do you judge the actions of Islam today towards homosexuals against the actions of the West two centuries ago? I know if I were homosexual living today I wouldn’t want to live in a country which implemented sharia law or even in an islamic country where homosexuality is legal – since (other than in maybe Jordan) homosexuality is still generally considered with digust and contempt.

              Gays may have been hung in England at the start of the 19th century – but in most islamic states and in Daesh-occupied Syria and Iraq gays are being executed today.

              Homosexuality is legal in 5 islamic countries – Mali, Jordan, Indonesia, Turkey and Albania (from what I can tell, out of these only Jordan really approaches the kind of acceptance found in the West)- that’s out of almost 50 countries in all. The persecution of gays may have ended in the 60s in the West – it hasn’t yet ended in 90% of moslem countries.

              The graphic on this web page paints a very clear picture – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/02/24/here-are-the-10-countries-where-homosexuality-may-be-punished-by-death/

              I think it’s dangerous to exculpate Daesh’s, Saudi Arabia’s etc deeds and crimes by saying ‘it’s all the West’s fault’ – either moslems are fully formed beings with full moral responsibility for their actions or they are somehow not morally mature enough to accept either credit or blame for their deeds. By blaming someone else whenever a moslem behaves badly you are implying that, as a people, as an ideology, as a political system, they are somehow not mature enough to accept responsibility for their actions, you’re reducing moslems to the moral status of pets – just as when a dog shits in a children’s playground, or when a cat torments a half-dead bird, people say “it’s the owner’s fault not the dog’s” or “the cat can’t help it”.

              And don’t forget that islam has absolutely no problem with imperialism – it’s only problem is that the West’s has been more successful at it than itself – most of the second half of the quran chronicles mohammed’s conquest of what is today Saudi Arabia – with much cruelty and bloodshed. “The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.”

              http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/violence.aspx

              Moslems have to accept moral responsibility for what they do and what fellow moslems do in the name of their political ideology – if they hope to be praised or respected when they do something good then they (and you) have to accept that likewise, when they do something wrong it is they who are to blame – and not try to pass the buck, – at some point – when someone’s beheading 3 year old girls for being christian, burning innocent people alive, and raping children as an act of religious obedience one has got to start considering that the blame for those acts may lie those who perpetrate them.

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              1. Again: these countries that repress homosexuality are to be characterized as neo-colonial rather than “Islamic”, religion is just a label, in the same way that religion was just a label for the imperialist policies of Bush; most of these anti-democratic regimes are fully supported and armed by the West (and the Saudi crown prince got his Légion d’Honneur as soon as he requested it), some of them have even been installed by Western intervention or coups; in several African countries that repress homosexuality in the name of tradition, homosexuality existed legally before colonization; Daesh does not represent Islam, it is just a new form of fascism under a religious garb, it arose not because of religion, but because of the policies of all regimes that intervened in Iraq and Syria (Western countries, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran) and of the reactionary nature of local bourgeois politics; the Iranian regime is also fascist rather than Shia; many Muslims hate and loathe Daesh and the Saudi monarchy, in the same way that many Catholics in Spain hated and loathed Franco.
                International power relations and internal economic and political realities are much stronger than religion to explain the situation of a country.
                I don’t say that Muslims as individuals are irresponsible as pets or little children, but they did not choose the misery, neo-colonialism and dictatorships in which most of them live. “Muslim” is just a religious label, like “Catholic”, it does not define an individual. You have exploiters and exploited, fascists and socialists, bigots and free thinkers among people of all creeds. As for people in such countries who have bigotted views and hate gays, they are not worse than Westerners who refuse to have refugees on their soil, who hate foreigners and Muslims, or who wish all MAPs being dead.
                Again, you don’t read the text I linked, maybe too Marxist for your taste.

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                1. So all regimes that call themselves ‘islamic’ which you don’t like are not really ‘islamic’?

                  Presumably all those who call themselves moslems and who say ‘alla akbar’ whilst beheading atheists or raping children are not ‘moslems’ either. This is a prime example of the ‘no true scotsman fallacy’.

                  >”I don’t say that Muslims as individuals are irresponsible as pets or little children, but they did not choose the misery, neo-colonialism and dictatorships in which most of them live.”

                  I disagree – if the belief system you choose denies half of its population their full personhood , it will deprive the country of half of its potential; also islam is the most monotheistic religion – a belief system that so insistently posits that there can only be one true source of authority makes its believers very vulnerable to despotism, theocracy and dictatorship – all of which are better predictors for ‘misery’ than having been a colony; a belief system that places more faith in a dark ages text dictated by an ignorant and brutish warlord to a scribe as a tool for bolstering his power and dominions – and which will use that as a source of truth over science and reason, is bound to make for countries that are shitty to live in and fail economically, and civilly.

                  Some other countries that were colonised by the west but who are not absolute basket-cases (as are all countries who base their constitution on the quran) – U.S.A., Canada, most of South and Central America, much of indochina (except Burma), India (but note – not Bangladesh or Pakistan), Australia, African states such as Botswana, Mauritius, Seychelles, Namibia, Ghana, Lesotho, Tunisia and Senegal (note that whilst both Tunisia and Senegal are majority moslem countries they have secular constitutions),

                  If you base your political system on a text as flawed, vicious and contradictory as the quran it’s not surprising the country ends up a dangerous mess.

                  It seems that you’re seeking, on behalf of islam, whatever definition of homosexuality you can find that casts it in the best light – needless to say, whichever conception/definition of homosexuality one employs, in 90% of islamic countries (not to speak of all those countries where moslems are in power, but which aren’t constitutionally islamic), if the courts/the mob decide that you fit their definition of homosexuality (whatever that may be) you are either going to be barbarically executed or suffer a long term in prison.

                  Trying to demonstrate that maybe historically some less unenlightened parts of islam defined ‘homosexuality’ differently to the how the West does today doesn’t change this.

                  I’m of the left. There was a time when the left was proud of its opposition to fascism. It saddens me to see that a significant part of the left are jumping through hoops to exculpate, and even support, a form of fascism that makes the Nazis seem like a bunch of lefty do-gooding wooses, simply because the fascist threat has its roots in superstition (and therefore, condescendingly, shouldn’t be judged, criticised or mocked) and of the fact that many of its adherents have a brown skin . Aren’t the actions of Daesh reminsiscent of the the actions of the Nazis – just as the Nazis were inspired by islam?

                  >”Again, you don’t read the text I linked, maybe too Marxist for your taste.”

                  You’re right, I haven’t read them. Apologies for that.

                  But in my defense I get precious little enough time to do the reading and research essential to my core concerns of child sexuality, paedophilia, society and culture, never mind something that is, if I’m honest, a peripheral concern such as islam and homosexuality.

                  Both texts you link to are long and difficult and I think that it’s better in discussions like this one for the commenter to distill the essence of linked-to texts in the comment itself – the links should be included as a support or reference for the comment, not as a substitute. I certainly think that one should not link to long difficult texts and EXPECT your interlocutor to have read them in order to understand the points you are trying to make.

                  As always I am finding our exchanges interesting and stimulating, Christian – but I feel that we’ve started going round in circles a bit here, and will make this my last contribution to this exchange.

                  Please feel welcome to reply to this comment, I am happy to leave you the last word.

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                  1. I start getting fed up of this conversation. Not only you don’t want to read the reference I link to, but you seem also not to bother reading correctly what I write, as you attribute me opinions that do not match my words.
                    Your excuses for not reading the reference linked to: that it is “long” (in fact 8 pages PDF in not-too-small font size) and “difficult” (no, I read it quite smoothly); in fact you could read it in less than one hour, probably less time than the one you spent collecting one-sided quotes from a neocon site. Then your main reason, that you want to restrict your time to reading about your “core” topics of “child sexuality, paedophilia, society and culture”: that is how one makes narrow-minded “specialists” who know nothing outside their domain of predilection; since all aspects of society and history are linked, you cannot fully understand something without knowing a bit of other things, so even in your narrow topic you won’t understand things properly without their links with context and history.
                    When I summarize in a few lines the argument from that reference, you suggest that I manufacture a version of Islamic homosexuality that fits my discourse, as you want to talk about contemporary Western-style homosexuality. You should know that all notions of gender, sex and sexuality depend on history and social context, and contemporary Western notions are far from “natural”, they are rather outliers, being distinct from those of other regions but also from those of Western Europe before capitalism. In particular, the contemporary Western form of male homosexuality is a historical exception, in other cultures you had pederasts (boy-lovers) and transgendered men (Hijra, Faafafine, Berdache, …) considered as a variant form of women and having sex with heterosexual men (who did not consider that as homosexuality).
                    When I say that economic, social and political labels such as “capitalist”, “neo-colonial” and “imperialist” are much more fundamental than confessional ones like “Islamic”, so that Daesh must be characterized as “fascist” rather than “Islamic”, you say that I absolve Muslims of their responsibilities, that I consider as “real” Muslims only the gentle ones, etc., blah blah “no true Scottsman fallacy”. So if in the USA a black man rapes a woman and the press says “criminal negro” and “negro problem”, and I answer that one should call him “rapist” rather than “negro”, and that it is the “problem of violence” and not of “negroes”, will you say that I absolve Blacks of their responsibilities, “no true negro fallacy” ?
                    I don’t care what is a “true Muslim”, that is a theological problem. I say that Daesh is fascist maffia-type enterprise set up by former officers of Saddam Hussein’s army, its leaders are gangsters who fill their pockets through fraud, plunder, racket, traffic, etc. Its “Islamic” façade is practical to fool followers and recruits.
                    I don’t buy your pathos about “lefties” who go along Islamists who are “worse than Nazis”. The majority of killings, terror and torture in Syria is the work not of Daesh or Al Nusra, but of the self-styled “secular” dictatorship of Bachar Al Assad, the ophthalmologist trained in the UK who loves to pose in the Western media as a “moderate” opposing religious extremism, who has a UK-educated wife who does ot wear the Islamic headscarf. And in Iraq, the majority of deaths were caused not by religious strife, but by the two wars and the long years of sanctions inflicted on that county by Western “democracies”.
                    Only a political fool can believe that if a violent bigot brags about a supreme being and its sacred book, this must be caused by a bad sacred book. Anyone with a minimum of political culture will understand that violence, hatred and bigotry is caused by economic, social and psychological problems, not by books, and then the sacred book just serves as a justification for the violence and hatred. Here in France we see former car thieves and drug dealers who join Daesh, religion is only a justification for their criminal behaviour.
                    If you think that sacred books are the cause of religious violence and bigotry, you should know that the scholar Philip Jenkins made an in-depth comparison between the Koran and the Torah (Ancient Testament) concerning violence, and his conclusion is without ambiguity: the Torah is much much worse that the Koran for violence, not only by its amount, but also by the rules guiding it. The Torah glorifies genocidal blitzkrieg (Joshua’s bok), it explicitly calls for the execution of people guilty of various offences: adultery, homosexual behaviour, not respecting one’s parents, violating the Lord’s day, blasphemy, etc. It displays the worst sexism (when Sodomites request Lot to deliver to them God’s messengers in order to rape them, he offers them to rape his own virgin daughters instead), disregard for underclass people (Abraham expels his concubine Hagar and her son Ismael to the desert because they displeased his wife Sarah). So how could European Jews, who read this horrible text aloud every Saturday, have become civilized people ? There are perhaps various ways to read books.
                    When discussing neo-colonialism, you lump together as “former colonies” the USA, independent since more than two centuries and now the major imperialist superpower, with small African countries that became legally independent in the 1960’s but have their economies (and sometimes politics) still subjugated by that of imperialist powers (Europe, USA, China, etc.). You cite as successful country India, which is ravaged by caste hatred, sectarian violence and the crudest misogyny, where millions suffer hunger and where diseases (malaria, kala azar) are endemic … you speak of successful Asian countries as being not “Islamic” but forget Malaysia which is both economically successful and with a majority Muslim population. What kind of political scociology is that ???
                    Finally, I don’t belong to the “left”, that word is not really meaningful. I have nothing to do with the reactionary “left”, the ones who subjugate workers to bureaucrats and the bourgeois State, who tail “democratic” imperialism and wars, who infantilize women and incapacitate youth, always ready to jump at any occasion on the paedo-bashing wagon while pretending to be enlightened and gay-friendly, pitiful conservative reformists who claim to make revolutions.

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  5. Most Muslims are ordinary people similar to ordinary people of other creeds, the only difference being that they practice another religion. Most Muslims DO NOT advocate child marriage, the inferiority of woman, Sharia for non-muslims, or violence. Many Muslims agree with a secular state. Many Muslim women do not wear a headscarf or a veil. In Islam, the “jihad of the sword” is a “small jihad”, while the “great jihad” is fighting evil inside yourself, in particular by doing good to other people.
    In a comment to another post, I quoted Vern Bullough about the marriage of Mohamed with Aisha, its similitude with the marriage of Saint Augustine with a pre-pubertal girl, and its accordance with the practice of that epoch of marrying a pre-pubertal girl and consumating marriage when she reaches puberty. BTW, at that time, age spans were compressed compared to now, you were considered as a “child” until around age 7, afterward you were rather a “youth in training”, then a young adult at puberty, and an old person around 40 or 50.

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    1. Thanks for that Christian, but I’d still return to the presiding question of how we know what other people really think.

      This becomes especially relevant when we’re considering groups who are stigmatised and who may not feel free to express their real feelings and opinions – probably there is no group of people more affected by this kind of silencing than paedophiles – I know (and hope) that only a very close friend or a fellow paedophile will know what I believe vis à vis paedophilia, but I think that moslems are under similar kinds of pressures.

      An example of the phenomenon of moslems speaking differently to ‘Kafir’ and to fellow moslems – Mehdi Hasan who when talking or writing in non-moslem media measures his words and equivocates to make himself seem moderate – but, when in the company of fellow moslems, describes non-moslems as ‘cattle’ and ‘living their lives as animals’.

      http://www.mojvideo.com/video-mehdi-hasan-says-non-muslims-live-like-cattle-and-homosexuals-are-like-paedophiles/835650a6fbdeec2073fc

      As to child marriage – your comment doesn’t really subvert the popular narrative about islam being child-sex friendly – after all – I’ve known several girls who have had their first period at 8, 9 or 10 – they were still undoubtedly ‘little girls’, in appearance and mentally – they still looked and acted their ages and therefore I would still consider a man who was attracted to a girl of 8, even if she had had her first period, as a ‘paedophile’ .

      I’ll lay my cards on the table – I’m very much against child-marriage (though I do recognise that there can be situations where it might not be the worst option – if ‘option’ is the right word).

      I believe the nuclear restricts the rights and freedoms of children – I do not see a child entering into a life-long contract, perpetual monogamy (often against their will, with someone they don’t know very well or may not like), the possible imposition of sex against her will, early motherhood, exclusion from education and play with other children, and a life domesticity as an improvement or in any form a ‘liberation’.

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