Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Three cups of Tea

What alternatives as a mullah or local minor mufti issues a “fatwa”?

In the book “Three cups of tea“, Greg Mortenson had this mission of building primary schools for girls in North Pakistan through the Central Asia Institute that Dr. Jean Hoerni established the foundation and allocated one million dollars to pursue its long-term mission.

After Greg managed to construct the first school in the village of Korphe in the province of Baltistan, many local and minor mullahs in the neighboring towns tried to through a fatwa at Greg (to force Greg from never to set foot again in these provinces) on the ground that a non-Moslem foreigners is not allowed to build schools for girls.

The real reason behind these fatwas was to blackmail the Institution to pay off for every school being constructed.

What alternatives do foreign NGO and for non-profit organizations can opt for when a mullah or local minor mufti issues a “fatwa”?

In the beginning, the team of Pakistanis aiding in the projects, and particularly the professional accountant Ghulam Parvis, tried to circumvent this hardship by communicating with the various local nurmadhar (chief) of villages and their religious clerics so that they appease the concerned mullah.

The next step was to get the highest cleric in the province to get involved.

The third step was to ask the council of ayatollahs in Qom (Iran) to deliver their opinion on the issue.

The fourth phase, and the most efficient in the long-term, is confront the fatwa with a counter appeal to the religious legal court (based on the Shari3a) to decide on the fatwa. This venue takes at least more than 3 years to come to bring an answer, but this alternative forces the contending mullah to get overwhelmed with frequent demands of proofs and documentation and personal presence to the court.

For example, Greg contacted the highest cleric Sayed Abbas (a graduate from the Shiaa religious university of Najaf in Iraq) and satisfied many urgent demands of this clerics, like bringing potable water to villages suffering from high infantile death rate due to drinking bad water, and caring for refugee camps for Pakistani people fleeing from the borders with India during the nasty Kashmir conflict.

Sayed Abbas also asked that Qom intervene and the opinion arrived in a red velvet box, stating that Qom is in favor of the work Greg is conducting, since Islam encourage benevolent Zakat for the poor and the less favored people…

This opinion discouraged future bad mullahs, but the current fatwas were opposed in religious legal court.

Note 1: Greg discovered that the male graduates left their villages to larger towns and cities, but the girl graduates returned to their village after finishing their professional education. Consequently, the institute redirected the mission to give priority to girls in the constructed schools. With this focus, the rate of girls in schools increased by 10% every year.

Note 2: Most of the graduate girls preferred to pursue medical studies, like Jahan, Tahira, and Shakeela… Women frequently died in giving birth and the infantile mortality rate was pretty steep in these mountainous regions, where families lived inside a single room for over 6 months…

Note 3: If interested of the story from the start https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/how-three-cups-of-tea-generated-80-schools-for-little-girls-in-north-pakistan/

How “Three cups of tea” generated 80 schools for little girls?

Greg Mortenson was readying on September 1993 to give the final assault to climb the second highest peak of K2 in the Baltistan district in the Karakoram region (north-east of Pakistan). The team of 10 alpinists (mount climbers) has been preparing for months for that adventure. Mortenson was to be the physician of the team: He was a graduate student in chemistry and a certified nurse and worked in the emergency sections of hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area.

Instead of taking the traditional path on the south-east opening of the team of Count Abruzzi 7 decades ago, the team of Mortenson decided to try the new path that the Japanese Eiho Otani and the Pakistani Nazir Sabir had opened 12 years ago.

Mortenson, a football player, 193 cm tall and weighting over 200 pounds, was naturally selected to be the beast of burden for carrying supplies, equipment and … to the various bases during the climb. Scot Darsney was assisting him.

The chiefs of the expedition were the veteran Daniel Mazur, Jonathan Pratt, and Etienne Fine.

After 70 days of ascent, Greg and Scott reached the base. They were arriving from a supply mission that lasted 96 hours and were about to hit the sac when they saw the distress emergency light signal on the last base (last 600 meters to climb). Etienne Fine was in bad shape with pulmonary edema due to altitude.

The two climbers tried to find volunteers from the different climbing teams on base, and ended up doing the climb on their own. Mazur and Pratt were descending from Camp 4 at 7,600 altitude and caring for Etienne.

Over 72 hours later, the Pakistani army commanded that the team carry Etienne to a lower base for the evacuation by helicopter. By the time Etienne was evacuated, Greg and Scott had used up the last of their energy and were unable to rejoin Mazur and Pratt for the final assault.

Mazur and Pratt finally made it a week later and announced their victory.

On Sept. 2, 1993, Greg and Scott were en route for yet another supply mission when Greg lost track of Scott and his helper Mouzafer Ali. All the important supplies and warm cloths were carried by Ali.

Mortenson was lost, alone and in environment not familiar to him. The next day, by hazard, Mouzafer found Greg and immediately made him drink 3 hot cups of the rancid tea with Yak butter, the local paiyu tchai.

Mouzafer Ali was a Balti who saved Greg from certain death as he got lost in the Baltoro glacier.

Mortenson again lost track of Mouzafer and ended up in the village of Korphe instead of Askole where Ali was waiting for him.

How these 3 cups of tea and the way the Nurmadhar (chief) of Korphe, Hajji Ali, treated Greg and cared for him for many weeks until Mortenson was in shape to resume his life is the story that generated over 80 schools in North Pakistan by the year 2006, and increasing steadily, to cover the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan.

As Greg was recuperating his energy in Korphe, he asked Hajji Ali to show him the village school: 82 kids and only 4 girls were studying in the open freezing air, writing on the sand, shoeless, and learning on their own: An instructor shows up twice a week to teach these kids because the regional government could not afford another single dollar per day for a second teacher… While Pakistan was pouring its wealth on the Siachen glacier to pound the Indian army for part of Kashmir.

Greg laid his hands on Hajii Ali shoulders and promised that he will build a school in Korphe…

How Mortenson started his adventure of collecting funds and establishing the Central Asia Institute is another story… to follow.

Note: Journalist David Olivier Relin wrote the book “Three cups of Tea” after recording Mortenson diaries, conversations, and pictures and witnesses

Temporary marriage contracts: Sigheh and city of Mashhad (Iran)

The author of “Walk on my eyes; welcome” wrote:

“I interviewed Samaneh, a 52 year-old woman theologian teaching in the Iranian city of Mashhad.  All the main streets in Mashhad converge to the mausoleum of Imam Rida.

The Moslem Shias sect believe that Caliph Al Maamoun assassinated Rida by poisoning around 850 AC.  Mashhad receives 20 million pilgrims (visitors of Holy places) every year (twice greater than pilgrims heading to Mecca).  Actually, most pilgrims to Mashhad combine sincere prayers with sexual pleasures:  Mashhad is renown to be the city where prostitutes flock to in Iran.  Those who can afford it contract out temporary marriage or sigheh for the duration.

I asked Samaneh: “How can you reconcile this liberty of sexual conditions in Mashhad and the observed requirements in the Koran?”  Samaneh replied:

“Islam seeks happiness for its believers.  The sigheh is a real marriage with a contract defining the conditions and amount of money paid to the wife for a duration.  In the sigheh, the man and the woman are officially married.  This contract satisfies the basic needs for feeling happy, complete, and finding peace of mind until permanent marriages are feasible.”

Samaneh resumed: “Sigheh existed during the Prophet Muhammad’s period until the second caliph Omar banned this tradition.  Caliph Ali re-instituted the sigheh contract saying: “When wives are sick or when the husbands cannot wait longer than 5 years for sexual satisfaction then sigheh is better than committing sin.”

Samaneh continued: “In general, it is the divorced women and those who lost their husbands who ask for sigheh because it is not easy to remarry permanently after the first marriage.  Virgin girls have to get the permission from the father, grandfather, or one of the brothers.”

I asked Samaneh: “Iranian Nobel laureate Shirin Abadi is demanding equal parts in inheritance because it is not fair that boys get twice the girls.”  Samaneh replied:

“Shirin has her ideas.  Personally I agree to equal shares:  Women have demonstrated to be better money managers than men.”

I asked Samaneh: “Shirin demands that the courts should accept a woman testimony as valid as man (the custom in Iran is that testimonies of two women equal one man’s testimony; In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to testify, period)”

Samaneh answered: “I once visited a prison and the men convicts cried sincerely telling me their stories as innocent men.  I believed that they were innocent until the ward showed me their documents.  Consequently, women are too emotional to testifying rationally in serious situations.”

I am currently reading “Three cups of tea” and the author mentioned that a Pakistani/Balti entrepreneur in Baltistan province (North Pakistan), who supplies European alpinists (mountain climbers), contract out several sigheh “zawaj Mout3a” each season with the foreign girls.

Note 1:  Sigheh is catching up in Sunni Moslem States thanks to the Saudis.  Egypt has been agreeing to contracting out temporary marriage since the establishment of the Saudi Kingdom:  The Saudi princes and the middle class in Saudi Arabia have increased their touristic trips to Egypt for easy, affordable, and lenient sexual pleasures.

The Saudi middle class cannot afford to marry 4 wives because they cannot afford equitable conditions for all wives. Thus, they seek new adventures out of borders, preferably with virgin child girls.  The Saudi royal family members prefer young boys when they travel for a change of 4 wives.

Syria is catching up on sigheh contracts since Iranians and Saudis are touring Syria more frequently than before.

Note 2:  The abridged interview and accounts are translated from the French book “Walk on my eyes; welcome” by Serge Michel and Paolo Woods.

Note 3: Are you aware of the legalized religious prostitution of one-hour sigheh contracts? https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/one-hour-sigheh-contract-pleasure-marriage-widely-applied-in-iran-on-underage-slave-girls/


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