Eastern Decadence? Don’t You Mean Western Decadence?

August 2, 2010

A few years ago, Dinesh D'Souza, the boy wonder of US Conservatism, claimed that the reason the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001 was the debauchery and decadence of her popular culture, a culture of drugs, alcohol and prostitution, all of which were so offensive to the Muslims and the Islamic way of life; the implication being that Islamic Society was morally far superior and Muslims were models of probity, integrity, and sexual propriety. How little he seems to know about the Islamic world! Here are some fact and figures that should sober up Mr d'Souza.

According to the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), in 2000 the Islamic country Pakistan had the highest number of drug users- a large number of herion users among them-an estimated total of four million drug addicts. By 2005 it was Iran which was considered to harbor the greatest number of drug users: an estimated 11 million. According to their own figures, Iranian officials at the Iranian National Centre for Addiction Studies declared that more than 20 per cent of Iran's adult population was “somehow involved in drug abuse”. In Iran, prostitution and drug addiction go hand in hand. As Nahid Persson revealed in her award-winning documentary, Prostitution Behind the Veil, the number of female drug abusers is growing especially among the prostitutes, of which there are said to about 300 000. Many of these young girls are fleeing abusive families. The sexual abuse of children is also widespread in the Muslim world, where the fact girls as young as nine can be married off to middle aged men adds to the problem. The United Nations Children's Fund painted a horrific picture of the plight of children in Pakistan in 2005: an estimated 3.6 million children under the age of 14 are working in exploitative and hazardous labour; children are sometimes detained in jail together with adults and are physically and sexually abused; violence against girls, boys and women, including murder, rape, honor killings, police torture, burning and corporal punishment are reported in local newspapers every day, and more than 17 000 cases of child abuse were reported in the media from 2000 to 2004.

What prompted my present blog was a story unearthed the other day by my friend Banafsheh. She got hold of a flyer that was being passed around at the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashad, one of the holiest sites in Iran:

“ Bismellahal rahman a rahim [In the name of God the Merciful, Compassionate] Temporary Marriage (Marriage is among the traditions of the Prophet Mohammad)

In order to elevate the spiritual atmosphere, create proper psychological conditions and tranquility of mind, the Province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan has created centers for temporary marriage (just next door to the shrine) for those brothers who are on pilgrimage to the shrine of our eighth Imam, Imam Reza, and who are far away from their spouses.

To that end, we call on all our sisters who are virgins, who are between the ages of 12 and 35 to cooperate with us. Each of our sisters who signs up will be bound by a two year contract with the province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan and will be required to spend at least 25 days of each month temporarily married to those brothers who are on pilgrimage. The period of the contract will be considered as a part of the employment experience of the applicant. The period of each temporary marriage can be anywhere between 5 hours to 10 days. The prices are as follows:

  • 5 hour temporary marriage – 50,000 Tomans ($50 US)

  • One day temporary marriage – 75,000 Tomans ($75 US)

  • Two day temporary marriage – 100,000 Tomans ($100 US)

  • Three day temporary marriage – 150,000 Tomans ($150 US)

  • Between 4 and 10 day temporary marriage – 300,000 Tomans ($300 US)

Our sisters who are virgins will receive a bonus of 100,000 Tomans ($100US) for the removal of their hymen.”

One young Iranian man explained that because of the lack of social freedom and “because of the lack of entertainment, whenever young people get together, the only thing they can think about is getting and using drugs...”.

Dinesh d'Souza blamed it all on the entertainer Britney Spears, but if the above young Iranian is correct, then the solution and not the problem is more Britney Spears.