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Right-hand possessions

Reader comment on item: Homaidan Ali Al-Turki, Colorado Slave-holder

Submitted by Tim Drayton (Cyprus), Jan 5, 2008 at 08:37

I note that the main plank of Mr Al-Turki's defense was:

The state has criminalized these basic Muslim behaviors. Attacking traditional Muslim behaviors was the focal point of the prosecution.

In this connection, may I post a closely related question of mine here that so far I have been unable to get any Islamist to reply to?

I have a query about the status of domestic servants in Saudi Arabia. When a housemaid named Flora del Mindanao was serially raped by her employer over a period of three years, her employer justified his acts by saying they were canonically lawful under verse 23:6 of the Quran, since she was his "right-hand possession". Her employer was an imam and ran a madrassa which was charged with training Muslims from Saudi Arabia and abroad. Obviously, as an Islamic scholar his view must carry some weight.

Has a definitive ruling ever been passed by the Sharia courts in Saudi Arabia as to whether domestic servants are "right-hand possessions" and may therefore be treated as sex slaves by their employers according to verse 23:6? The reason I raise this point is because such women are given to understand at the time they are recruited that their duties will consist of washing, cleaning and childcare, rather than serving as an object for satisfying their masters' sexual desires.

Would it not be fairer all round if such a clear ruling were passed and then such housemaids would be aware of what was expected of them before they arrive in Saudi Arabia? At the moment certain human rights activists in the West may argue that Sharia law is condoning the crime of rape; if the precise status of domestic workers in Saudi Arabia were clearly defined then surely such Westerners would be deprived of all their arguments because women would know exactly what was expected of them before they left their own countries and could thus be deemed to have tacitly consented to the role they may be expected to perform.


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