Asra Nomani, writing for The Daily Beast, points to the hypocrisy buried deep within certain strains of Islamism: a fascination with pornography. Islam, in clear distinction from much of Christianity, is not particularly hung up about sex. It has its rules and its cultures have their own take on those rules. Both religions share the view that sex is great—if it’s contained within marriage. But Islam does have a rule that doesn’t exactly exist within most Western societies, that is, it is sinful in itself to see certain parts of the body, male or female. This is why, if you go into a Muslim locker room, you will not find the casual nudity that exist in most others. It’s why, in a Turkish bath, men are always wearing something around the waist. [I'm citing men here because I am not experienced with either women's locker rooms or Turkish baths. Reports I've heard, though, suggest that Muslim women are not quite as fastidious as their male counterparts.]
For most Christians, this is at most an invitation to sin, but not a sin itself. It could become a sin if it leads to further thoughts or actions, but the mere view is not itself wrong. Indeed, much of Western art, even that sponsored by churches and popes, is of nudes or contains nudity. When I was young, organizations like the YMCA would, in single-sex environments, have children swimming nude. [This changed both as improved technology of pool filters and rising concerns about pedophilia took hold.]
If observing a nude body of anyone other than a spouse is a sin, then the abundance of pornography is very much a contradiction that rises to the level of hypocrisy. While extremists rail about how the West has ‘sold its daughters into prostitution and iniquity,’ they don’t seem to mind being paying customers.
Osama’s Dirty Mind
Asra Q. Nomani
The smut in bin Laden’s compound reveals the Muslim world’s dirty secret: porn is rife, everyone looks at it—and the U.S. finds it in militants’ hideouts all the time.
The discovery of an “extensive” porn library in Osama bin Laden’s compound kicked off the predictable wave of jokey headlines. Everyone from the New York Post (“Osama Gone Wild”) to Radar Online (“Debbie Does Pakistan”) delightfully reveled in the irony of the find.
But should we really be that surprised that leader of one of the world’s most notorious terrorist groups was living with a collection of smutty pictures or videos? In the Muslim world, conspiracy theorists are likely to call the porn story a hoax, claiming the stash was planted by the U.S. after killing bin Laden to embarrass him. Pornography, however, is the Muslim world’s dirty little secret, rife in even the most conservative realms—including among the extremists.