“A Saudi cleric finds himself in the hot seat after issuing a decree permitting unrelated women and men mingle so long as the guy drinks the woman’s breast milk.”
Did I read that right? I cut and pasted it directly from the article in the LA TIMES, and it still seems unsavory. The decree was announced last June by Sheik Abdel Mohsen Obeikan, “a scholar and a consultant at Saudi Arabia’s royal court” during America’s summer vacations so I suppose it’s not surprising that we missed it altogether. I’m also not sure that the American press feels all that comfortable debating cleric law. I mean, just because we don’t understand it, doesn’t make it…wrong…
Apparently, it wasn’t exactly Obeikan’s idea. In 2007, Egyptian scholar Izzat Attiyah “issued a 2007 Islamic ruling urging women to breastfeed their male colleagues to avoid illicit mixing between men and women at work. The act, the scholar argued, would establish a symbolic maternal bond between the men and women and would inhibit any sexual relations.”
Attiyah was criticized and eventually disciplined by Egypt’s Al-Azhar University. He later retracted the ruling.
Fortunately, it was reported by UAE-based Gulf News that Obeikan clarified his decree, “The man should take the milk, but not directly from the breast of the woman. He should drink it and then becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam’s rules about mixing.”
But another cleric said pumping doesn’t do the trick. In order to establish a maternal bond, “men need to suckle in order to make the relationship permissible under Islam.”
I’m not a doctor, but I am a woman and I don’t understand how a woman can give breast milk unless she’s nursing and if she has a child, I don’t think she would be working. This is a perplexing part of the puzzle.
In the latest protest to allow Saudi women to drive, they are using the cleric’s degree to make a point insisting that if they aren’t allowed to drive, they will breastfeed their drivers. Apparently, they have even developed a slogan, albeit not very catchy, “We either be allowed to drive or breastfeed foreigners.”
I think it needs a little work.
Still…never mind, I don’t even have a clever ending for this story.