A Muslim professor at Georgetown University has recently taught a seminar about the goodness of slavery and how sex without consent is not wrong as defined in Islamic culture.
According to Overpasses For America.com, Professor Jonathan Brown gave the lecture at the International Institute of Islamic Thought, where he delivered a message on “Islam and the Problem of Slavery.”
Brown compared slavery in America to Muslims owning slaves, saying that it is not the same. Basically because if a muslim owns the slave, not only is the slave treated better, but the slave can also be from any nationality. Any infidel can be a slave.
“I think if you took the Sharia understanding of slavery and even the general practice of slavery in Islamic civilization, I don’t think it’s comparable at all to plantation chattel slavery in the Americas. It’s just not comparable at all,” he asserted.
“Slaves in Islamic civilization were mostly investments,” Brown continued. “It was like buying a rental property. So, you would say, ‘Okay, slave. You’re a good carpenter. Go out and do work as a carpenter and every day you give me, like, 30 percent of your pay.’”
Brown explained to those gathered that he believes people should focus more on the conditions of the slaves rather than nitpicking over whether someone is technically defined as a slave or not.
“If you’re Muslim, the prophet of God had slaves. He had slaves. There’s no denying that. Was he—are you more morally mature than the prophet of God? No, you’re not,” he said to one attendee who had asked a question about the matter.
“Slavery cannot just be treated as a moral evil in and of itself because slavery doesn’t mean anything,” Brown said.
Later in the session, an attendee asked a question about the concept of having sexual relations with concubines, and Brown replied that while consent is considered to be the legal standard in American culture, it was just not needed.
Brown provided an example to outline his point, contrasting the plight of a woman captured as a slave and a woman whose family has expectations about the life she marries into.
“What’s the difference between someone who is captured in a raid in the steppes of Central Asia, brought to Istanbul’s slave market, sold to an owner—who, by the way, might treat her badly; might treat her incredibly well,” he outlined.
“She’s going to bear him children. She’s going to be a free woman. She’s going to be the mother of his children. If he’s high status, she’s going to be high status. If he dies, she might be a very desirable wife.”
“What’s the difference between that and some woman who’s a poor baker’s daughter who gets married to some baker’s son without any choice because no one expects her to have any choice?” Brown asked. “And that baker’s son might treat her well; he might treat her horribly.”
“The difference between these two people is not that big. We see it as enormous because we’re obsessed with the idea of autonomy and consent, would be my first response,” he asserted. “It’s not a solution to the problem. I think it does help frame it.”
Some are now expressing deep concern over Brown’s comments, including Ian Miles Cheong of HeatStreet, whosaid, “Had Prof. Brown’s words been spoken by a practicing member of any other religion, they would’ve lost their jobs and [have been] shunned out of the academic world.”
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