David Thompson
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April 12, 2008

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Dodge

"We have counted almost 70 rules about how to urinate and defecate."

Sounds like a bad case of OCD.

David

It is very much like OCD, and not, I think, by accident. I suppose the idea is to keep the devout anxious about their bodily functions and preoccupied with absurd and pointless rituals. And the more absurd, the better. If an ideology occupies all possible areas of a person’s life, however ludicrously, it’s on the mind continually in some form or another. It’s then very difficult to remove. Or escape.

Franklin

"What they want is very dangerous."

Goddamn right it's dangerous. Dangerous to exactly the people to whom it ought to be dangerous.

David

It’s practically an invitation.

Noon

Regarding the bathroom issue; I think that similar rules exist in the Talmud too, so possibly urination is viewed differently in the Middle-East. If it seems ludicrous to Dodge (and presumably David too) then could that just be because Brits tend to find urination inherently funny (and we're also generally more anxious about them)?
Treating pissing seriously is foreign to us but it's hardly an inherent evil, unlike the other things he said.

P.S.
Cricket has hundreds of rules to follow, does that make all cricketers Obsessive-Compulsives?

David

Noon,

Well, cricket is a game and is generally understood as such, even by enthusiasts. So far as I know, the rules of cricket aren’t widely regarded as a measure of piety or as having tremendous cosmic relevance. What’s of interest is the regulation and control by religious edict of a person’s intimate activities and the colouring of pretty much everything that person does with politico-religious implications. Setting aside cultural bathroom quirks, it sounds to me like a way to propagate fixation and neurosis, or something very much like it.

Alcuin

Perhaps the good Shaikh knows how to use the three shells in Demolition Man, and could explain them to the rest of us. There is much on hygiene from the "Ask an Imam" site, which will keep some amused for quite a long time.
http://www.islam.tc/cgi-bin/askimam/cat.pl?c=Purity%20(Tahaarah)

Ophelia Benson

You know the Nazis said "To think is already to doubt." (At least I thought they had, but I just googled it and the only hit I got was - er - me, so perhaps they didn't. I'm sure I read that somewhere, but I can't remember where now.) Authoritarians aren't always that transparent about it, but of course they don't want other people doing any thinking. If they did they wouldn't be authoritarians.

David

Ophelia,

It’s the frankness of the clip that caught my attention; its matter-of-factness. I sometimes wonder what it’s like to have al-Munajid’s sentiments and others like them expressed so openly and often as part of the culture. It seems to me a recipe for dissonance and distortion, a casual wickedness.

Oh, and on the subject of bizarre ritualistic hang-ups, here’s some religious apartheid in London swimming pools – funded with council tax, no less:

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2008/04/unclean.html

billm99uk

I think the difference from OCD is that an OCD sufferer is nearly absolutely 99.9% certain that their rituals are complete rubbish - it's just the .1% uncertainty that compels them to repeat them (and I should know, I am one). Not sure whether the Shiekh really believes Allah wants him to do all these strange things or not - as you state the point is rather moot?

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