The far right of the Islamic world has always oppressed women with outlandish rules and strict interpretations of the Koran all while the men do what they please. Remember these are the same rules that demand a woman be punished for being raped along with shaming her entire family. An article that appeared some time ago announced that an unnamed Islamic Cleric had issued a new warning. Many in Saudi Arabia will probably be forbidding their women from buying penis sized/shaped foods. The “Cleric”, living in Europe, warned Muslim women to avoid cucumbers and bananas so they don’t have “sexual thoughts.” Apparently Muslim women are not allowed to think naughty things unless a man tells them to?
If women wanted to eat these foods then they should have a third party — preferably a male related to them, such as their father or husband — cut the items into small pieces before serving, the Egyptian website Bikya Masr reported. This was featured in an directive the Cleric wrote in el-Senousa, a religious publication. The alleged Cleric must be consuming some very interesting pornography if he knows that women can see a cucumber, banana, carrot and zucchini (both of which he also added to his directive) as a sexual object.
While I’m a little late to the party on this I never heard about it until recently and my inital reaction was something along the lines of “what the fuck” but a little more research turned up some interesting information. The original article caused a fury online by more liberal Muslims, or the sane ones depending on your definition, who asked questions such as “So if Muslim women should stay away from cucumbers and bananas, should men stay away from melons?” While many find the demands to be outrageous one must remember that in areas like Saudi Arabia where Sharia law is practiced many women are already forbidden from driving cars or leaving the house without a male escort. Even more are made to cover everything except their eyes. Most Muslims of the world however wouldn’t force women to avert their eyes from the produce section at the store and it’s not surprising that this Clerics’ words sparked outrage.
The original article, thought to be on El-Senousa.com, was actually posted to Assawsana.com and wasn’t translated properly according to the editor of Bikyamasr.com. The information about this unnamed cleric and his idiotic suggestions is now deemed to be false and possibly a hoax. If it wasn’t for my desire to know more I would have reported this article as fact just like Fox News had (and hasn’t updated as of yet). This is another example of how powerful the internet can be. Outrage can spread within minutes of an article being posted and it can be plastered across the web as truth all because someone forgot to source the article properly.
Apology Letter from Bikyamasr.com
Looking back, it was my own editorial oversight that failed in allowing this story to be published. Editorially, it was my duty to not publish this story before we could gather independent verification about the details behind the original Arabic article from Assawsana.com, the article that we referenced in writing our piece. Furthermore, I originally and mistakenly quoted Assawsana.com as “El-Senousa.com,” only furthering the confusion and mistakes involved in this report.
As Editor of Bikyamasr.com, I am disappointed that I did not catch and hold this piece. The “Islamic cleric bans women from touching cucumbers, bananas for sexual resemblance,” article should not have run when it did. Arguably, it should not have been run at all. We should not have published about an “unnamed sheikh” in an unnamed European country unless we were able to garner more information on the issue, both on the sheikh himself and the news website the information was gathered from, independently.
We realize that as a growing news organization with a growing reputation and readership, we have an increased responsibility to not only verify our own material at the highest levels, but further investigate the quotes and articles of other news organizations before referencing their work.
This is our error. We apologize for the poor judgment on the matter. It is inexcusable. While the exact quote reported by Assawsana.com may well have been exactly what it was reported to be by that website, without a name and location behind this person and comment, it is difficult to find the information credible.
We recognize our pitfalls and their repercussions. The fact that this story was quoted by a large number of news organizations across the globe shows that our error in judgment can have serious, detrimental effects. For this, we would like to apologize to our readers for the inadequate editorial judgment I, as Editor and Founder, made in this instance.
This said, we will learn from our mistakes, as larger and more established news organizations have learned and continue to learn from theirs. Journalism has a steep learning curve, and as a news organization grows, the costs of learning become more difficult to bear. The repercussions of our lessons learned are becoming more serious and are imposing a higher cost on our readers.
The reality, in this circumstance, is that we should not have sourced a piece published by a small website based on such limited, unverifiable information. We accept responsibility for doing so and are working to correct the aspects of our organizational culture which allowed this mistake to occur.
We view this mistake as a significant learning opportunity for us; a chance to grow and improve the work we do here at Bikyamasr.com. As such, and as part of a greater expansion plan we have been developing for the past few months, we are working hard to expand our operations and bring a number of new, experienced editors and writers to our small editorial team. Despite this mistake, we will continue to maintain our independence and provide the best and most credible news possible to our readers.
Reporting in a fair and accurate manner on Islam is a difficult process, and one that Bikyamasr.com takes very seriously. We will continue to push for more information on this story, from Assawsana.com and other sources, in order to interrogate the accuracy of their original article. If we cannot uncover more information, then we take it as our duty to make this clear and do everything in our power to spread that revelation to those who have sourced and quoted us this past week.
At the end of the day, we employed poor judgment on this article, for which we apologize. We are working to correct our mistake and guarantee that the potential validity or invalidity of this story is quickly verified. We apologize to our readers for letting them down, and will strive to assure them with our future work that we are making fundamental, institutional changes to assure that mistakes like this do not happen again. Via The American Muslim
Google searching images for this post was quite interesting!