Thursday, May 31, 2007

Adult Breastfeeding At Work

The New Zealand Herald reports 'Scholar suspended after allowing breastfeeding of adults':

JERUSALEM - A religious ruling by an Islamic scholar permitting women to breastfeed adults with whom they work has led to his suspension from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the world's leading Sunni university.Dr Izzat Attiya had last month issued a fatwa offering his bold suggestion as a way around the prohibition in Islamic religious law against a woman working in private premises with a man who is not her close relative. Breastfeeding, he argued, would create a familial relationship under Islamic law."Being together in private means being in a room with the door closed so that nobody can see them," Attiya explained to Al-Watani Al-Yawm, after his ruling sparked outrage."A man and a woman who are alone together are not [necessarily] having sex but this possibility exists and breastfeeding provides a solution to this problem [by] transforming the bestial relationship between two people into a religious relationship based on [religious] duties." n Islamic tradition, breastfeeding at infancy establishes a degree of familial relationship between nurse and child even if there is no biological relationship - a wetnurse, for instance, is forbidden from marrying a man she had nursed as a child. Attiya argued that if an adult male is nursed by a female co-worker it would permit them to work side-by-side without raising suspicion of illicit sex. It would even permit the woman to remove her headcover and expose her hair in the man's presence.

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