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article imageVideo: Saudi cleric denies he advocated gang rape of Syrian women

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jan 3, 2013 in World
A Saudi cleric, Muhammed al-Arifi, has denied a story that he issued a fatwa that recommends gang rape of Syrian women out of concern that the "warriors of Islam" in Syria may have become weary from sexual deprivation.
According to Electronic Intifada, al-Arifi, an ultra-conservative Wahhabi cleric with 3.5 million Twitter followers and more than 1.4 million Facebook fans, denied earlier reports carried by some Western news sites that he issued the fatwa calling for gang raping of Syrian women.
The denial came after the Arabic news site, reported that other Muslim critics condemned the alleged fatwa, saying it "permits the exploitation of the victims of the Syrian crisis," and said that his prescription of "intercourse marriage" was rape.
According to a TV news report (see above) posted to YouTube by user Eretz Zen, the cleric suggested "intercourse marriage" after observing that some of the "warriors of Islam" have not been with women in two years of fighting.
The report, allegedly first aired on a Lebanese channel, claims that the cleric recommended "intercourse marriage" as a way of uplifting the fighting spirits of the "warriors of Islam" in Syria. According to the report, "intercourse marriage" between a fighter and any Syrian girl over the age of 14, who is either divorced or widowed, need last only a few hours to allow "each fighter his turn." (since, presumably, there is a scarcity of women in the war zone).
In the context of the allegation against al-Arifi, gang raping (aka "short-term marriage") of women POW is presumably allowed for "warriors of Islam" as part of the rewards or spoils of war. According to the report, al- Arifi said that the Syrian soldiers need the uplifting inducement to boost their determination and fighting spirit because it has "been two years since the jihadists were last with women."
The news report also claimed that the cleric said that women who yield themselves as "short-term intercourse brides" are guaranteed entry into al-Janah (Paradise).
The second video above, posted to YouTube on January 1, shows al-Arifi denying the story, claiming that "no sane person" would ever have said such a thing. He said he was aware of at least nine social media accounts that impersonate him. He claimed the news was disseminated by sources seeking to sully the image of Sunni Muslims.
However, al-Arifi has other videos on YouTube that show him discussing the killing of "infidels," and regulations for Muslim men on how to properly beat their wives
In the video below, the cleric instructs Muslim faithfuls about religiously approved methods for beating women, though it is stressed that men should beat their wives lightly only as last resort:
...the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa salam) placed some limitations on it, as follows:
(a) It should not be on the face or on any easily injured part of the body;
(b) It should not be hard enough to cause pain or injury or leave a mark.
The Prophet (SAWS) indicated that if a man must beat his wife it should be more or less symbolic, with something like a toothbrush.
Muhammed al-Arifi came under attack for using the pulpit to advocate for violence against women, AlterNet reports. A few weeks ago, he was banned from entering Switzerland and participating in the Swiss Central Islam Council.
The story claiming that the Saudi cleric advocated the gang rape of Syrian girls could not have come at a more unfavorable time. Digital Journal reports there have been street protests in India and international outrage after a series of gang raping incidents. Recently, an Indian woman died after she was beaten and gang raped on a bus in Mumbai. A teenage girl also committed suicide after police pressured her to marry one her attackers
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