This House Would Ban The Shi'ite Practice of Self-Torture On Ashura!
Debate Rounds (4)
Resolved: This House Would Ban The Shi'ite Practice of Self-Torture On Ashura!
I mean absolutely no disrespect to the person of any Shi'ite. I do however hold that this aspect of their religion is absolutely disgusting, and perverse. This 'matam' should be banned as a punishable offense. This by no means implies anything about a Shi'ite, nor about their person. It is not disrespect (for I hold in the greatest of regards) Hadhrat Ali, Hadhrat Hassan, and/or Hadhrat Hussain (Radhiatallah Anhum).
1. First round is for acceptance only.
2. Forfeiture leads to an instant loss.
I thank my opponent for accepting, and wish him/her the best of luck! I shall be arguing for the banning of the Shi'ite practice of matam or self-torture on Ashura. Please note that there are troubling, sensitive photos ahead. If you are easily offended by violence please do not read this debate.
While there does exist a freedom of religion, when religion seeks to destroy the ultimate welfare of the state, or harm its citizens then it is necessary to intervene. I should note that this debate will be argued from a principle perspective, not a practical one. As the Proposition I have the right to take this debate as attacking the principle and so I shall argue that the practice of matam ought not to be.
Allow me to start by defining some terms:
1. Shi'ite practice: the practice of matam is primarily done by Shia Muslims, a minority of the Muslim population.
2. Self-Torture: causing self-harm to the body, or to other bodies in mourning
3. Ashura: the 10 of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.
I accept the general burden of proof, however my opponent must show why my case would not stand.
A1: The Duty of the State to Intervene:
"Above all else, the duty of the state is to provide objective justice to all its citizens, included in this justice is the protection of the welfare of all citizens..." Thomas Jefforson
The government (and here I mean a theoretical government, none specific) has a duty to protect the rights of its people. However it also has the duty to ensure the welfare, and safety of its citizens. Just as the British banned the practice of satti or the Hindu belief that women ought to burn themselves alive after their husband dies, just so any just government would ban matam.
Every year around 10, 000 people die, or get serious injury in this practice. Often these people cannot afford medical bills, and many more die from infections, or improper treatment. The delusion of these people is great, they believe they are doing a religious act when in fact they are engaging in self harm. It is common to practice cutting the back, the head. Even young children aged 3 years old are given one cut on the top of their head, which leads to the death of 600 children die during this practice.
As you can see the child is crying. Without his permission his parents are torturing him like this. This is also happening in the United States of America. Even there the argument that parents have a religious right over their children wins over. This is not right in the least, and we cannnot stand for this.
A2: It Is Unnecessary:
The practice of matam was initiated by Hadhrat Zainab binte Ali. However she never preformed such brutal acts. The reason that she did cry in public was because after Hadhrat Hussain was martyred people did not know thhe truth, by public shows of emotion she hoped to voice the truth.
Today the internet, and time has made all aware of the great tragedy of Karbala. Shi'ites and Sunnis, and even Wahabis mourn Hadhrat Hussain and the truth of Ikramah is now known throughout the world. It is now unncessary for this protest to continue. After all the reason for this is now no longer needed.
To be honest I wanted to write more, but just by reading about this it has made me feel sick. I have provided two arguments, I await my opponents rebuttals.
Reliving Karbala by Akbar Hyder
Most Shia scholars agree practices such as self flagellation should be discouraged and measures taken to regulate it , but it should not be outright banned . Especially children should not take part in it , no scalping or hitting with the sword on the head should take place . Government may regulate : What type of self flagellation should take place and what protective measures should be taken. During Saddam Hossain era , self -flagellation and related practices were banned , but after American conquest , these are permitted again , under the full protection of the American armed forces . From the American perspective " Yes , the practices are bloody , but it also shows the stamina and determination of the young people who see themselves as martyrs" . After all the Shias want to feel the pain and agony Imam Hossain and his family went through and sacrifices which should be made by the Muslims to stand up for justice and truth . It is no wonder that Iran did not cave in under the aggression of Saddam Hossain , neither did it need western protection like Kuwait or Saudi Arabia . Similarly Hezbollah ( another Shiate group ) did not cave into Isreali aggression. Rituals do have meaning and practical impact in real life . If Ashura and related practices were so bad , then it would not be popular in India . I mean Hindus join in with the Muslims in this occasion .
We live in an era where culture and customs of people who we don't like or don't know anything about is banned in the name of rationality and secularism .Take the case of Hizab. Why should whole Europe go against this practice in the name of women empowerment , when it was not long ago , they practiced it themselves . If not why heads are covered during marriage ceremonies? There are also pictures of Mother Mary and other women saints .China has recently banned Muslim public employees , college students from fasting . Similar practices also existed in Soviet Union. Many people especially secular people consider fasting as a self -torture with a negative impact on health . Religious people do not . Similarly most religions do not consider self -flagellation as self torture - they consider it as a tool for spiritual growth , self discipline etc . For example , Catholics practice it ( Pope John Paul II , sisters linked with Mother Teresa and her order , Saint Francis of Assisi ) . We all know the stories of St Francis and Mother Teresa . Self -sacrifice , humility was a key element in their lives . St Francis of Assisi was a rich man's son who created the mendicant order when priests in many cases led luxurious lives .
Let us take a look at the topic from the secular view-point Most countries have no laws against self -flagellation as long as it is kept within legal limits . Yes , Britain took legal steps against a Shia man for forcing his young sons to self - torture , but no legal steps was taken against the father for self-torturing himself. Another case was banning of self -flagellation in a Shia premise , because the Trustees of that Shia organization did not want the event to take place in their premise. Youth in all civilization like to take risks and take part in physically challenging activities . Spartan youth tested their strength through self-flagellation . Red Indian youth buried themselves underground and hung themselves through piercing their skin . This type of practice was considered a rite of passage . After white colonization of America , many white youth also took up similar activities .Today , we have bungie ( if I got the spelling correct ) jumping , marathon, car racing and similar type of activities. Many men and youth also take vicarious pleasure in watching wrestling , boxing and other hard core sports . Accidents in boxing and wrestling continue to happen , but none of these sports have not been banned . Violent movies , games and sports also have negative impact on young people, many time leading to anti -social behavior. But governments don't ban , they regulate . What about fast food , excessive TV watching which are not only un-healthy , but also have a dumping down effect ( lower intelligence ) ? Yes parents have been warned , alternatives have been suggested , but no banning has taken place . This is the same with smoking and alcohol drinking .
Though my opponent has posted a lot of glory pictures , but has not provided any statistics or case studies on the negative impact be it mental or physical . Military in most countries impose harsh regime on their soldiers and young officers. This includes long walk with heavy burden , dipping into cold water and God knows what . Punishments are harsh too . These are needed because without pain there is no gain.
Lastly as I have said , I agree with Shia Leaders that the practice should be censored , alternative suggested , and strictly regulated . But government should not play the lead role . Why ? One reason is the political implication . In countries where Shia are the majority like Iraq , political implication is not difficult to understand . In other Muslim countries, we have to consider potential conflict between Shia and Sunni which any third party can leverage. What about western countries? Muslims would see it as a prosecution which will only increase hostility and drive the practice underground and strengthen the hands of Muslim Fundamentalists and right wing organizations. Does government legislation always work ? I don't think so without the people support , For example , prohibition against drinking did not work in USA , but prohibition against drinking works in most Muslim countries , Why because Muslims believe drinking is against their faith , which is not the case in USA . Take another example. Most Muslim countries do not ban taking more than one wife , but they regulate it. But most Muslim men don't take multiple wives because society looks down upon them . However, all western countries have bigamy law, but this does not stop many men from having common law wives or mistresses . Yes , many British papers though biased are reporting many British Muslims are taking second wives through common -law or other type of agreement which are not illegal . British papers are biased because they do not talk about mistresses or such arrangements among non -muslims. My opponent has talked about Sutte and Bristish legislation against it . Yes , British only took up the regulation after persuasion from Hindu leaders and discussion with religious heads . Before the reformation of Hindu religion and the self -awareness of Hindu middle class /thought leaders , banning of Sutee would have been impossible . Hindu Nepal which was not under British rule , was more strict against Sutee practice and had less Sutees than India. No reforms on traditional Muslim practices have taken place in India ( though it is supposed to be secular ) , but these reforms have taken place in most Muslim countries , giving women more rights . Because Muslims in Muslim countries are more empowered and enlightened , while Indian Muslims feel threatened if government pressures them , which in turn strengthens the hands of right -wing parties ( both Hindu and Muslim).Take another example. It is common to see protestors burning themselves to death in India . If women who wanted to commit Sutee , took the same strategy , would Indian government able to stop it ? After all Indian government has failed to stop riots . This is remarkable given that Muslim film stars , singers and cricketers are very popular in India, including Pakistani stars . Any change must come within the community , not through coercion or top -down government regulation.
What do I consider to be the optimum solution? Shia religious leaders should take the lead , government may play a facilitating role , highlighting the good practices , tightly regulating / replacing the bad practices . But no outright banning especially where Shia are the minority . Good thing is that process of reformation has already started where Shia leaders are speaking out against the worst practices and calling for reforms . Why don't we facilitate the process instead od hindering it , though heavy handed government banning .
Please read the following
http://world.time.com...( An American perspective)
Ajabi forfeited this round.
Ajabi forfeited this round.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by RevNge 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF, and Ajabi's R2 A1 was a little flawed as some governments do not give young people this right, unlike the US or Britain.
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