This is from:
by: Robin Marty
“I haven’t pulled any punches in the past discussing how bothered I am by the laws against women in Saudi Arabia. From ridiculous “guardianship” laws to burdensome rules on being in public with men, to arresting women who even have too much of a tan, it’s no wonder the public is beginning to physically fight against the authority in the land.
Obviously, the religious authority knows it has a problem that must be dealt with. But is this really the answer?
Women in Saudi Arabia should give their breast milk to male colleagues and acquaintances in order to avoid breaking strict Islamic law forbidding mixing between the sexes, two powerful Saudi clerics have said. They are at odds, however, over precisely how the milk should be conveyed.
A fatwa issued recently about adult breast-feeding to establish “maternal relations” and preclude the possibility of sexual contact has resulted in a week’s worth of newspaper headlines in Saudi Arabia. Some have found the debate so bizarre that they’re calling for stricter regulations about how and when fatwas should be issued.
Sheikh Al Obeikan, an adviser to the royal court and consultant to the Ministry of Justice, set off a firestorm of controversy recently when he said on TV that women who come into regular contact with men who aren’t related to them ought to give them their breast milk so they will be considered relatives.
One cleric claims simply pumping and having the men drink the milk is enough to create this familial bond. Another, however, does say that “men should suckle the breast milk directly from a woman’s breast.”
The logic behind the edict is an apparently common practice known as “breast milk siblings” where according to the article, if you provide 5 “fulfilling” breastmilk meals to a male child before the age of two, you and your female family members will not have to cover your faces in front of him later in life, something that is apparently common among nieces and nephews.
But, when translated into somehow trying to provide this connection to an adult, and use it as a loophole in order to allow women to be in the presence of men who are not blood relations, a lot of obvious problems jump to mind. The first, of course, is the assumption that every woman is lactating, when in fact the only candidates for this process would be married mothers with children under the age of two, the traditional cutoff point for breastfeeding in that country. Women aren’t just wandering around with milk in their breasts all of the time, married or not, mothers or not. This would provide no outlet for any unmarried woman, who tend to suffer the most under these strict guardianship laws, nor for widows or the elderly.
The second problem is what is meant by “fulfilling” meals. A grown adult obviously would take much more to be “fulfilled” than an infant, or even a toddler, whose stomachs are smaller than an apple.
Third, even with this loophole available, clerics have decreed that it cannot be used with a driver. As women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to have driver’s licenses, no woman would be able to go anywhere outside walking distance without having a man drive her. If this breastfeeding loophole can’t be used with someone who can drive them from place to place, they are still essentially trapped without a family member to accompany them, regardless.
Breastfeeding adult males in order to be allowed to be with someone of the opposite sex who is not a family member is no real solution to the issues of Sharia law. In fact, it actually exacerbates them, as it simply reinforces the idea that a woman sole purpose in existence is to extend and tend to the family unit. Women in the country deserve real freedom, not that which is only granted to them if they act as the “sustenance” of the family.”