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The Bleeding Flower

Once Yousef was seated at the table, he took his laptop out of his bag and while he was busy starting it up, he addressed Michael:

 

Tonight I'll show you a rare video clip. The clip barely exceeds half a minute, but it is unusual, because it will take us through history to about a century ago; it is a visual document.

With great interest, the heads of Michael and Yousef turned towards the laptop and they looked directly at its screen.

Michael: (After watching the video) Oooh, that's great! I’m so intrigued to see what the pattern of life was like in my country, Britain, nearly a hundred years ago! Look at the joy on the faces of the passers-by in the street! Look at the delight of this child! Life was less constrained and more natural. Such a life is really appealing to the self!

Yousef: I’ll replay the clip to draw your attention to another important observation.

(Yousef hits the re-play button, and continued his conversation with Michael.)

Yousef: Look! That woman…There, two…No five, actually six women, notice that for all of them the only parts of their bodies exposed are their heads - though they are covered with hats - and the hands, and all of them are wearing loose-fitting clothing that does not reveal the shape of their bodies.

 

Michael: True!

Yousef: So what happened?!

Michael: What happened where?

Yousef: In your societies.. .

Michael: You mean nudity and lack of modesty?!

Yousef: Exactly! But I’m also pointing out that this shows the collapse of an entire system of moral values, in general.

Michael: Personal freedom. We are now societies that hold freedoms as being sacred and each person has the right to choose the lifestyle that he desires.

Yousef: Of course, I understand that, and this is a topic that we should look into thoroughly later in a discussion session or even several sessions perhaps, but what is striking here is that there is a full concordance within your society in relation to this shift in moral values, as if all the members of the society draw from the same single reference in their choices.

Michael: I am sure it is no secret to you that there is, what we call, the "culture of the society" according to which an individual is brought up. This culture turns into natural practices that an individual does without recalling the reference and without the society finding such practices strange or denying them, and within this culture there may be qualitative differences between the choices of individuals.

Yousef: Excellent!! Now if we take this phenomenon and search for what is right and what is wrong in it, we shall find that your Bible calls for modesty and lack of adornment. It says in 1 Timothy (2:9 – 2:10): (In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with modesty and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; (10) But (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works..)

Michael: My dear Sir, this is fit only for those women who belong to the church, but in our lives outside the church, as I've already told you previously, we have distanced religion from interfering with our lives since the Age of Enlightenment.

Yousef: But my friend, this clip that we have just watched, where women are decently covered in the street, and not in the church, was several centuries after what you call the "Age of Enlightenment". If I agree with you in that religion has been left out of the components of your reference of values, I still need to ask: What happened? What happened to your women that made them turn to such indecency and nudity?

Michael: Indecency from your point of view, but I see it as something normal, and let me point out that it was winter time, or at least cold weather, in the video clip, and this is evident in the nature of the clothing worn by the men, and children too – as well as the dark colors. This modesty may be due to the cold weather. But that does not negate a fact that we all know, which is that women of that age and those of more recent times were dressed more decently than they are now. As to what happened, it simply may be that values and concepts may have changed according to the evolution of society.

Yousef: This is another issue which we can discuss in another separate session, which is that of relative morality, for though I understand that there is development in science and in tools used and other means, I see that morals and values should not be subjected to such a development.

Michael: No harm in discussing that later, but allow me to ask, Mr. Yousef, why do you always view women as a mere body? Why are you so preoccupied with that?

Yousef: Islam views women and men as human beings. A human being is a wondrous creature, which is created of a body, a soul and a mind. We cannot ignore any of these components, including not only the physical body but also its lower animal instincts. This talking animal can never develop up to the level of being a true human being except through a system in which moral discipline and spiritual sublimity complement the social and legal structure. When you mentioned enlightenment and separated the church, or rather religion, from life, you were satisfied with the church being connected with only spiritualities, and so let the mind break out of the framework of religion and you did what you liked with your bodies. That is the reason why the demons of material civilization gave free rein to the enjoyment of the carnal animal instincts outside the moral and religious framework, and in order to satisfy their animalistic gluttony, they encouraged women to show their charms in various ways and in all situations, and implanted this idea in the societies in the name of rights and freedoms.

Michael: But we see women in that state of nudity day and night, and we are not moved by these desires you dub as "carnal animal instincts".

Yousef: Do you think that this is a virtue or a noble manner? The consequence that may take place sooner or later from getting used to viewing this nudity or sexually exciting scenes is sexual frigidity. This is followed by an even more harmful damage, which is searching for stimuli other than what man has become accustomed to, which eventually may lead him to homosexuality.

Michael: You have different types of consequences, Mr. Yousef, those that take place in the short term and those that take place later?

Yousef: Yes, there are consequences of this phenomenon in the area of crimes, for he who does not reach such sexual frigidity because of bodily, social or educational circumstances, suffers from sexual frenzy, of which one result is the prevalence of rape, which statistics of rape cases highlight. Let me just mention here a few examples:

A A survey of the French Interior Ministry indicates the occurrence of 4412 rape cases in just one year in France, an average of almost one incident every two hours.

In Britain: London's Metropolitan Police organized an intensive awareness campaign to encourage women to learn martial arts, and take a positive attitude, rather than surrender, when subjected to attacks by men. This occurred following the announcement of the rise of the number of violent crimes and rape in the streets of London by 11% in one year.

In the U.S.: The National Center for Victims of Crime, a resource and advocacy organization for crime victims, announced that the rate of rape in the United States reached (1.3) adult woman per minute. The center added that one out of every eight adult women in the U.S. had been raped. This was in 1991.

As for 2009, statistics indicate that one out of every three 14-year-old girls is subject to rape, and there are half a million rape cases in the U.S. per year, and that 61% of American girls have lost their virginity before the age of 12.

There is another type of crime, called the unmentioned crime, which is the harassment by employers, managers or teachers directed towards women, who are under the influence of men of authority. Usually such crimes are not recorded, because of the woman's fear that she might lose her job, or because she wants some compensation, or has difficulty in proving her case.

Of course, these figures do not represent the entire truth, for the (Anti-rape Association) estimates that for every case that speaks out about what happened to her, there are 35 that are silent.

Michael: But a problem like that of rape is a complex one, intertwining with many factors: psychological, educational, social and even economic.

Yousef: That's right, but we cannot also deny that one of the biggest factors is the excitement in nudity, even if it entails only looking. A U.S. study notes that crimes of rape decrease during the winter. This may be caused by the low rate of nudity in women's clothing, or because people do not go out much, creating less opportunities to meet, and both reasons confirm the same point.

Michael: But, ultimately, women are those who desire such a form of dress, by their own will. This is personal freedom, as I've previously told you. We cannot prevent them from that.

Yousef: That's what it looks like from the outside, but the fact is that the leaders of Western societies, led by men, are the ones who promote the culture of nudity, beautify it in the eyes of the society, and set up a supportive environment for it. They create the means that facilitate its spread, so that they can enjoy women with no restrictions. In fact, they have passed laws that are unjust for woman's chastity, modesty and weaknesses; for man-made laws in the west show pity towards the rapist more than they do towards the raped, which in fact helps spread rape. Furthermore, in some western countries rape is considered a moral violation, not a crime of violence.

Consider this practical example: In Finland, one of the countries that is advanced in giving considerable care to women, a man forced a woman to have sex with him in a toilet for the disabled in a car park. He hit her head against the wall, and twisted her arm behind her back. According to the opinion of the prosecution, this was not rape because "little" violence was used!! The man was only convicted of forcing the victim to have sexual intercourse with him and was sentenced to a suspended period of seven months in prison!!

My friend, which society out of the two is more secure morally, today's society, or the society of a century ago?! Would you like to enjoy watching the video clip again?!

Michael: You made your point, Mr. Yousef. But from the Islamic point of view: What is your view about that issue?

Yousef: This matter needs another session, or several, to discuss.