Although this Opposing Views story is new, actually Sheikh Abdullah al-Daoud made his statements in 2012. He said: “The prevalent custom among Muslims of the countries of East Asia is to make girls start wearing the hijab in the second year of their lives. This has motivated us to compete with them, and we will start our girls wearing the hijab even earlier….We do not want to see revealing and shameful clothing, especially when girls start to develop and fill out, and show signs of beauty, and so on. You find that she is in a state of exposure and nudity. I think we know that there are fatwas that forbid this, even if they have not yet reached the stage of puberty. Whenever the girl is an object of desire, the parents have the duty to cover her up with a hijab.”
His comments reflect the assumption that underlies the mandatory covering-up of women of any age: that if a man is tempted, it is entirely the woman’s fault, and her responsibility to end that temptation by removing it from sight.
“Saudi Cleric Suggests Baby Girls Wear Burqas to Prevent Rape,” by Lina Batarags for Opposing Views, February 3 (thanks to Pamela Geller):
A Saudi cleric has proposed this solution to molestation of young girls: they should be required to wear burqas.
While no law or practice in Islam requires that baby girls wear burqas, Sheik Abdulla Daoud suggested that covering the babies in burqas would keep them from being raped. Daoud made the controversial comment on TV last year, stating that babies were being molested in Saudi Arabia.
The video recently surfaced on social media, and elicited shocked and indignant response from fellow Saudis.
“Now the baby victims are blamed for men’s crimes. Allah help us stop the ignorance, stupidity,” tweeted Masleeza Othman.
Othman later followed up the original tweet with another condemning those who “abuse, molested and sexually assaulted or harassed the babies, children.”
“They aren’t supposed to even live!!” Othman continued.
Senior Islamic officers have also been highly critical of Daoud’s comments, noting that they “made Islam and Sharia law look bad.”
Daoud’s comment comes as a contrast to online activists’ recent calls for the Saudi kingdom’s rulers to impose harsher punishments on child abusers. Most notably, Fayhan al-Ghamdi, a prominent preacher, received a light sentencing after confessing to raping and beating his 5-year-old daughter to death.
Startlingly, al-Ghamdi is protected by Saudi Arabia’s Islamic law, under which a father cannot be executed for murdering his children or his wife.
Reports indicate that Saudi Arabia plans to launch a 24-hour hotline, specifically for reporting violence against children.