A prominent Saudi cleric has issued a fatwa(a religious ordinance) that calls for the gang rape of Syrian women. Expressing frustration that the “warriors of Islam” fighting in Syria may be getting weary for the lack of sexual pleasure, the religious leader issued a decree that promotes hours-long “intercourse marriages.”
The cleric, Muhammed al-Arifi, who is a leading jihadist religious figure, made it clear that his edict called for the gang rape of Syrian women and girls. He specified that the “intercourse marriages” last only a few hours “in order to give each fighter a turn.” As to who is an eligible bride, the cleric approves any girls or women over the age of 14 who are widowed or divorced. Yes, you read that right. Any girls over the age of 14.
Muhammed al-Arifi has come under fire for advocating for violence against women in the past. A few weeks ago, he was banned from entering Switzerland or participating in the Swiss Central Islamic Council .
Saudi Arabia has been influencing and funding the Syrian revolution for nearly a year now—although this fatwa is the first explicit time that rape as a tool of war has been proposed as part of the opposition’s military strategy. Since at least April 2, 2012, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been paying salaries to the Syrian forces fighting against President Bashar al-Assad and his army. Saudi Arabia has also been sending weapons, including portable anti-aircraft missiles, to the Free Syrian Army.
The fatwa calling for the gang rape of Syrian girls and women comes as anger and street protests decrying gang rape of Indian women intensify. One Indian woman who was beaten and gang raped on a bus in Mumbai died recently. Another teen victim of gang rape, who was pressured by the Indian police to marry one of her attackers, recently committed suicide.