Of Masters and Their Slaves

"It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master." ―Ayn Rand

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Female Genital Mutilation in Shiite Islam

Shiism Permits Optional Limited Female Genital Circumcision

Hezbollah Watch
Hezbollah Watch
By Hezbollah Watch

In some human rights circles, there is an ongoing intense debate on the topic of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The practise of FGM is most common in African communities. It is also perceived as associated with Sunni Islam. But, what is the position of Twelver Shiite Islam on FGM?

The answer might come surprising to some!

In Shiism, Female Genital Circumcision (FGC) is permissible -- but not mandatory -- up until menarche. Thereafter, it becomes forbidden. And what's precisely permitted is the removal of only a portion of the clitoris.

The aforementioned is an important distinction as in some societies girls undergo traumatizing FGM experiences that leave them scarred for life.

The information on FGC in Shiism are based on the published rulings of Grand Ayatollah al-Sayyed Ali Sistani. He is considered by many Shiites to be the most knowledgeable living scholar on Shiite Islam.

Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Sistani
Grand Ayatollah al-Sayyed Ali Sistani
It is important to note that in Shiite jurisprudence, permissibility does not necessarily imply obligation or even encouragement. Devout Shiite laypersons do go back to their 'sources of emulation' -- highly qualified scholars who have completed advanced Islamic studies and attained the rank of Mujtahid (Arabic for diligent) -- to seek advice on all matters, worldly and otherwise. Indeed, Islam governs all aspects of life.

The office of Ayatollah Sistani published the ruling on FGC in response to queries by the general public. This most likely means that there are concerned Shiites seeking solutions to what they perceive as genital problems, probably aesthetic in nature.

These issues, without getting into their details, are not alien to Western and other societies. For instance, in the West, there are numerous women who visit plastic surgeons to receive very costly and quite painful elective genitoplasty, such as clitoral hood reduction and even Labiaplasty. In fact, the level of interest in these beautification surgeries has become a phenomenon known as the "designer vagina craze."

Going back to Shiites, like those in numerous religious communities, they consider their bodies to be the absolute property of God, The Creator. Hence, a devout Shiite feels that he/she is not at liberty to alter his/her body in any fashion unless the desired modification(s) is(are) religiously permissible.

In the opinion of this author, the edict of Ayatollah Sistani is laudable and reflects deep wisdom: For those who desire FGC and meet the specified conditions, he ruled that the performance of partial clitoridectomy, which is the equivalent of, or similar to, clitoral hood reduction, is permissible. Yet, Ayatollah Sistani made it very clear that "only a small portion" of a girl's clitoris may be removed -- guaranteeing that she will grow up to live a normal sexual life, God willing.

Indeed, God is Most Merciful.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Syrian Rebels Cuttoff Strategic Highway Linking Damascus to Iraq

The Islamic Front-Army of Islam Captures Rest Station on Highway 2

Hezbollah Watch
Hezbollah Watch
By Hezbollah Watch

After their successes in the Adra and Dumayr areas of Damascus Province earlier last week, the Syrian rebels seized the initiative, advanced eastward, and captured the strategically-based al-Safa Rest Station on Abu al-Shamat Highway (HWY 2) on Friday.

Al-Safa is a road-side hamlet located in al-Qutayfah District, 84 km to the north-east of Damascus, and 188 km south-east of the Iraqi borders, through HWY 2. By controlling the rest station, the Syrian rebels sought to prevent or delay the land movement of pro-Assad regime Shiite militiamen and war supplies from Iraq to Damascus.

From al-Dumayr to Al-Safa Resting Station:
39km on Syria Highway 2, heading east

The rebels who captured al-Safa, the Islamic Front (IF), are a politically-moderate Salafi faction with no ties to al-Qaeda terror group. IF is backed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries.

Istirahat al-Safa: Al-Safa Rest Station on Syria HWY 2,
a.k.a. Abu al-Shamat Highway

The assault on al-Safa came as a part of IF's wa a'eddou military campaign. Wa a'eddou is Arabic for "and prepare," which is a part of a Quranic Sign (Quran 8:60) that calls upon Muslims to strengthen and equip themselves with the proper weaponry to meet their enemies in combat.

Al-Sada Rest Station is located in Al-Qutayfah District,
Damascus Province, Syria

Aside from its importance as a key point on the road linking Baghdad and Damascus, al-Safa is also described by the pro-Syrian rebels media as a stronghold of the Assadist forces.

The mullah Zahran Alloush giving a sermon

Prior to the assault on al-Safa, the Sunni mullah Zahran Alloush addressed the IF fighters and gave a sermon. Alloush told the assembled soldiers, "God is with us if we are with God," and called upon them to make both their lives and deaths for God.

The rebel's Tank

During the assault on al-Safa, an IF Russian-made T-72 could be seen moving along desert terrain to approach its target from the rear. Somehow, the rebels managed to reach the rest station undetected and unopposed.

Storming al-Safa

Another video released by the rebels (see right above) shows the aftermath of two attacks on Assad regime vehicles by IF fighters. One of the destroyed vehicles is a technical fitted with, according to the cameraman, a "Dushka" (but its more likely a KPVT 14.5 mm large-calibre machine gun).

The other vehicle is a fast-travelling KIA sedan, which received gunfire until it came to a dramatic halt and its occupant  -- a uniformed and armed combatant -- neutralized.

The cameraman speculated that the fighter in the KIA is a member of Assad's Presidential Guard.

The sectarian nature of the war was quite evident from the expressions uttered by the cameramen (it seems that the video is the compilation of footage captured by more than one cameraman):
[0:57]: "The Mujahedeen of the Army of Islam-The Islamic Front are storming the Safa Rest Area and cutting off the Damascus-Baghdad road, the vital road for the regime, which receives aid through it from the Shiites of Iraq."
[3:28]: "By God, we shall take revenge upon the Nusayris for every Muslim brother."
[4:15]: "Destroying two vehicles for the Nusayri army."
Afterwards, the camera team shows low-flying Russian-made Assad regime jets unleashing their rockets on rebel positions with impunity. Indeed, the rebels still lack effective countermeasure to the Assad air force.

It is unknown whether the rebels can hold on to al-Safa -- a location in the middle of nowhere. As to the Assad Iraqi supply line, it is not necessarily totally cutoff. Alternative but much longer routes are still under the control of the Syrian regime.

In the meantime, the rebels are still powerful and kicking. If anything, the capture of al-Safa shows just that!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Khomeinist Promise: The Reappearance of Imam Mahdi is Imminent

But, the Truth Must Be Told and Expectations Must Be Set Right

Hezbollah Watch
Hezbollah Watch
By Hezbollah Watch

Why do the Khomeinist mullahs keep persistently promising the Shiites that al-Imam al-Mahdi is soon to reappear?

The turbaned clergymen are basically calling upon the disenchanted mobs in Iran and other countries to be even more patient, and assuring their burdened subjects that final relief is soon to come.

Obviously, numerous Shiites are quite unhappy with the direction and situation under Khomeinist mullah rule; thus, the Shiite populace, especially in Iran, are constantly reminded that the efforts of the Khomeinist regime are directed mainly towards the higher goal of paving the way for The Awaited al-Mahdi to reappear, for it is only then that the quality of the Shiites' lives is to significantly improve and unlimited riches and spoils of war are to be enjoyed, under the direct rule of al-Imam al-Mahdi.

Of course, all of this is to happen after the Twelfth Infallible Imam conquers the world and defeats all non-Shiites, in very bloody final wars.

Indeed, setting the expectations right is not a crime, but misleading mankind is not honorable.
Hezbollah Watch® blogs at The Islamic Counterterrorism Institute and at hezbollahwatch.tumblr.com. Hezbollah Watch® tweets at @hezbollahwatch. Find Hezbollah Watch® on Google+.

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