Prurience and piety: that recent Malaysian case

— by Clive Kessler
The Malaysian Insider
Nov 03, 2011

NOV 3 — Dina Zaman, in her commentary entitled “Let’s talk about (halal) sex” (The Malaysian Insider, October 26) has already commented that: “Like many Malaysians, I was flabbergasted and speechless when I read online accounts of the launch of the [now-banned] book titled, ‘Seks Islam — Perangi Yahudi Untuk Kembalikan Seks Islam Kepada Dunia (Sex in Islam — Wage War Against Jews To Return Islamic Sex To The World)’.

“One, the English titled begged to be deciphered as it made no sense. Two, the title, even when understood, also begged for a suspension of disbelief. They cannot be serious about this: Having kosher sex meant that the Jews would be destroyed? How? What position would help destroy the Zionists for good?”

Not out of prurience, or any love of “raunch” and sexual scandal, nor even to cast much merited ridicule on these pathetic “wannabes”, but to indicate and exemplify the peculiar nature of the “full-on” Islamist “political psyche” — and, more generally, for the contemplation of the depth psychologists and political symbolism “decoders” — attention must be called to this weird variant, or “transformation”, of the 1960s slogan “make love, not war”.

Here the pious injunction is that the good wife should obediently make true Islamic love to her Muslim husband — as a way of making war on the Jews, against Jewish domination.

Or in other words, the Obedient Wives Club, and the “militant Islamist lifestyle” organisations behind the OWC ladies, are here offering this neo-pietistic, “over-conformist” and highly “patriarchal” Islamist sexuality (and their own obsessively prurient concern with that very thwarted and unfree yet highly licentious kind of sexuality and libidinal energy) as a way to counter supposed Jewish domination of Islam: of the private intimate lives of Muslims, and thereby of the world generally.

They are offering this rampant, voracious yet also frightfully constrained and obsessively coerced “full-on Islamist sexuality” as, in effect, a way for the good Muslim men, upon the bodies of their obedient wives — and please excuse here my, in this context inescapable, indelicacy — “performatively” to say, or declare, or in fact to enact the proposition “f**k the Jews!”

Go figure!

It sounds insane.

But it goes to (or perhaps erotically “touches upon”?) something that people need to recognise.

It calls direct attention to the deeply ingrained, florid, and rank anti-Jewish attitudes, prejudices and obsessions that are “in-built”, if not into classical Islam, then into the collective psyche of those who make from its sources a kind of “old-time religion.”

For those who are committed to such regressive forms of conspicuous and over-conforming yet prurient piety, these obsessions serve as key, powerful and (quasi-) religiously infused and “sacralised” psychic motivators, or “drivers”, of the militant Islamist mentality and all its often bizarre projects.

* Clive Kessler is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Thursday, 3 November 2011 - 11:56 am

    //Having kosher sex meant that the Jews would be destroyed?//

    Yasser Arafat is cursing the OWC in his grave for not telling him this secret weapon earlier, before he kicked the bucket

  2. #2 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 3 November 2011 - 4:45 pm

    Sex is sex. I am not aware that kosher sex dominates the world that Islamic or Halal sex could counteract. In the first place do these people know what’s Kosher sex and whats Islamic sex and whats the similarities and differences to discourse on this? Then we have also the lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) sex that “Seksualiti Merdeka” festival is accused of promoting and the DPM has come out with a warning that its organisers should know their limits and respect our local culture and values which I assume are quite compatvle with that advocated by the Obedience Wives Club’s version.

  3. #3 by tak tahan on Thursday, 3 November 2011 - 11:20 pm

    Sex,sex sex,errh…tak tahan already la with all this more stimulation sex incentives to come…we’re sure heading toward the best sexcrazy nation in the world.

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Friday, 4 November 2011 - 7:05 am

    People behind the Obedient Wives Club (“OWC”) claim that their ideas behind Islamic sex is at “PhD level” beyond the understanding of the average! “To you there might be no logic to what we are saying,” Dr Azlina explained. “But when Prophet Noah built an ark on a mountain at that time there was no logic in what he was doing.” Mohd Rasidi, a male member of the panel, claimed what was taught in the book (“Islamic Sex, Fighting Jews to Return Islamic Sex to the World) was “high level” sex. “It is PhD-level,” he said. Maybe they are right. To my simple kindergarten level thinking mind if what you preach were true – and the way to keep your husbands is to keep them completely sexually satisfied which I expect you do- then why are your husbands having other wives other than yourself??? And if he cannot be satisfied (sexually) with one wife like yourself who knows so much about PhD sexual technique, what makes you think that he will be satisfied with up to the limit of another three, following your doctrine, and will not stray???

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Friday, 4 November 2011 - 7:25 am

    What’s the agenda behind these people behind OWC and the book? The outrage and derision they elicit from their ideas – even the negative international publicity they have brought to this country by them- engenders the very publicity and media attention they require to sell their seminars and books for commercial profit. Don’t forget that the OWC was founded by Global Ikhwan, a business conglomerate associated with the banned Malaysian sect Al-Arqam – and it mat be recollected that Al Arqam established by Ashaari in 1968 was an organisation that grew from 10 to 12 members to over 5,000 at its peak, and at the time Dr Mahathir banned it, it was also business conglomerate of reportedly over RM300 million, if you believe that! When one accuses the OWC promoters of “prurience” – that is being inordinately interested in matters of sex – they are actually leveraging and making money out of the prurience of their customers in that market segment that is avowedly religious and pious, and that’s a very big market world wide, with the added spice of waging war against kosher sex. They are marketing halal sex whilst others are marketing halal food, all eyeing the burgeoning international Islamic market that span from Middle East to China and beyond!

  6. #6 by cemerlang on Friday, 4 November 2011 - 11:12 am

    Defisit seks coat ? Group orgy with your number 1, number 2 ecetera. Say no to porn. But this one is halal porn. That fler 40 years old, with his 40 years old wife and his 25 years old wife. Of course lah. 15 years in between . Of course the skin is smoother. umno. united member nonsense organisation. What else ?

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Friday, 4 November 2011 - 12:24 pm

    On the issue of “prurience” the whole of humanity is guilty of this though in varying degrees depending on societies cuture religion and norms. This is because sex is most basic biological and instinctual and recurrent drive, second in importance only to life and self preservation itself…Whilst this biological drive is predicated on something natural – again depending on individuals’ testosterone hormonal and libido levels at any moment of time – the drive needs to be regulated for social order to prevent all kinds of real or imagined social ills that unbridled expression may bring about. Religion is used to buttress this purpose. However the greater the repression, the greater the prurience, this inordinate interest in sex, which seeks to go around the regulation unpunished which leads to greater hypocrisy. In societies allowing greater expression, there’s of course less “prurience” and concomitant hypocrisy though it does not imply less social ills which repression of sexual expression intends to prevent. However it is sought to solve these ills via practical and empirical solutions based on realistic considerations than religious and legal punishment in the case of sexually more conservative societies. OWC is however keener to tap on the market in societies which sexual repression is pervasive and hence the prurience that keeps the cash coming to the till!

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