Following New Year's Eve celebrations the world was shocked to learn that over 600 women in Cologne, Germany were sexually assaulted en masse by men who were described as predominantly as "North African" and "Arab". News later appeared that this was not an isolated incident, but that other similar attack took place in other cities in Europe. The media kept this disastrous news under wraps for about four days before reporting on it. Reports also suggested that the police were also complicit in keeping this story under cover.
There is a practice in Arab world known as Taharush, an Arabic word meaning "harassment" usually associated with sexual harassment. Where does this practice come from and what is the motivation for it? Is it cultural? If so, then we have a culture that actually endorses the sexual harassment of women. So much for the politically correct view, better known as social Marxism or cultural Marxism that pervades most if not all of Western societies today which views all cultures as essentially equal. But the question must be asked, is this practice endorsed by Islam and its sacred texts? Islamic scholars who have weighed in to the events of Cologne have actually blamed not the perpetrators of these sexual assaults and rapes, but the victims, namely the women because they were wearing perfume and were not modestly dressed! As is becoming more and more common as evidenced in the media, the victims become the guilty party, and the perpetrators become the innocent party.
While the Qur'an does not explicitly say that men should sexually harass in public, there is an interesting passage in the Qur'an 33:59 which seems to implicitly infer that if women are not properly covered, they may become subject to molestation. I have provided a number of English translations below of Qur'an 33:59 and have highlighted in bold the relevant words:
"O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognised and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful" (Pichthall).
"O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e.screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever OftForgiving, Most Merciful" (Hilali-Khan).
"Prophet! say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they let down upon them their over-garments; this will be more proper, that they may be known, and thus they will not be given trouble; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful" (Shakir).
"O prophet, tell your wives, your daughters, and the wives of the believers that they shall lengthen their garments. Thus, they will be recognized (as righteous women) and avoid being insulted. GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful". (Khalifa).
"O Prophet, say to thy wives and daughters and the believing women, that they draw their veils close to them; so it is likelier they will be known, and not hurt. God is All-forgiving, All-compassionate" (Arberry).
"O thou prophet! tell thy wives and thy daughters, and the women of the believers, to let down over them their outer wrappers; that is nearer for them to be known and that they should not be annoyed; but God is forgiving, merciful" (Palmer).
"O Prophet! speak to thy wives and to thy daughters, and to the wives of the Faithful, that they let their veils fall low. Thus will they more easily be known, and they will not be affronted. God is Indulgent, Merciful!" (Rodwell).
"O prophet, speak unto thy wives, and thy daughters, and the wives of the true believers, that they cast their outer garments over them [when they walk abroad]; this [will be] more proper, that they may be known [to be matrons of reputation], and may not be affronted [by unseemly words or actions]. God is gracious [and] merciful" (Sale).
"O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful" (Sahih International).
"O Prophet! tell thy wives and thy daughters, and the women of the believers, that they should pull down upon them of their outer cloaks from their heads over their faces. That is more likely that they may thus be recognized and not molested. And ALLAH is Most Forgiving, Merciful" (Sher Ali).
"O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And God is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful" (Yusuf Ali).
In the translations above you will notice that women who do not cover or veil themselves are subject to being "annoyed," "given trouble," "insulted," "hurt," "affronted," and "abused". Notice in particular the translations of both Sher Ali and Yusuf Ali, both Muslim translators, translate the Arabic plural verb yu'dhayna as "molested". Does this verse give a green light to sexual assault of unveiled women? It would appear so at least implicitly.
You will recall one of the accusations brought against the women in Cologne from an Islamic cleric, Sami Abu-Yusuf, was that they were wearing "perfume" and were "half naked". Abu-Yusuf stated, "The events of New Year’s Eve were the girls' own fault, because they were half naked and wearing perfume. It is not surprising the men wanted to attack them." (source ) , In other words, these women presented themselves as loose women, inviting molestation. Some of the Muslim migrants have even referred to German women as being available only for their for sexual pleasure source. Another cleric from Australia stated unveiled women were like "uncovered meat" attracting scavengers source Note the words of the Islamic commentator Ibn Kathir in discussing 'The Etiquette of Women Walking in the Street:
"From that, women are also prohibited from wearing scent and perfume when they are going outside the home, lest men should smell their perfume. Abu ` Isa At -Tirmidhi recorded that Abu Musa, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet said: (Every eye commits fornication and adultery, and when a woman puts on perfume and passes through a gathering, she is such and such) -- meaning an adulteress. He said, 'And there is a similar report from Abu Hurayrah, and this is Hasan Sahih.' It was also recorded by Abu Dawud and An-Nasa'i. By the same token, women are also forbidden to walk in the middle of the street, because of what this involves of wanton display" (Italics mine). See Ibn Kathir
It would seem that Sami Abu-Yusuf had this Tafsir of Ibn Kathir in mind when he made reference to women wearing "perfume" in public and thereby indicating that they were on the level of an adulteress. So while the Qur'an does not explicitly command the molestation of unveiled women, it does seem to suggest implicitly that if a woman is not covered then she will be subjected to being molested and abused. How different is the view of Jesus who not only elevated women to an honorable level, and had female disciples (Luke 8:1-3), but also taught that if a man would look at a woman with lust in his heart, he would be guilty of adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). Sexual immorality, Jesus taught is one of the evils that originates in the heart (Matthew 15:19-20) and which bars one from entering into the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).