A few weeks ago I posted on a bizarre fatwa having to do with adult breast feeding. At the time it was kind of a joke, and I wasn't totally sure that it was even a real story (though I did check for multiple sources). Well, today The New York Times has this up: Egypt's Muslims Seek Fatwas on a Variety of Issues:
First came the breast-feeding fatwa. It declared that the Islamic restriction on unmarried men and women being together could be lifted at work if the woman breast-fed her male colleagues five times, to establish family ties. Then came the urine fatwa. It said that drinking the urine of the Prophet Muhammad was deemed a blessing.
But that's really not offensive at all compared to this:
Their 9-year-old son's clothing was clean, his hair gelled, his smile bright. The man explained that they had adopted the child when he was 9 months old, and that they had just heard that under Islam their son had to be put out of the house, because the mother had not given birth to him or breast-fed him. He would reach puberty as an outsider, and could not, technically, be around the woman he knew as his mother. The imam at their local mosque said it was haram -- forbidden under Islam -- to live with the boy. The sheik said yes, that was right, that the boy could not live with them. The father leaned in, disturbed, and said, "And that's it."
Sometimes I really can understand why Denis Diderot said, "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." That being said, it isn't just the clerics who are to blame, it is human psychology, for these parents believe that these men are the fonts from which the word of God issues. Their heart tells them what is true, but their religion tells them what they must do.