HRS International

Virgin question made imam furious

The Danish imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen became so angry last night that he stomped off the TV program Deadline on DR 2. The reason was that social consultant Kristina Aamand asked the imam why he didn’t explain in his Friday prayers that there is nothing in the Koran that requires a woman to be a virgin on her wedding night.

Rita Karlsen, HRS

”I feel attacked and taken in by you!” shouted imam Abdul Wahid Pedersen suddenly and hot-bloodedly when the program host, Mads Brügger, thanked him for taking part in the show.

The debate was over between the imam and social consultant Kristina Aamand, who herself has a Muslim background, when Abdul Pedersen exploded, reports Ekstrabladet.. Aamand had said that since March her website nymø had received 24,000 communications from young Muslim men and women. Many young women, she said, fear what will happen if they’re unable to ”prove” that they’re virgins on their wedding night by leaving blood on the bedsheets. If they’ve had premarital sex, many of these young women decide to get an operation to restore their hymens (which in reality isn’t much of an ”operation”: the doctor puts in a few stitches which make the girl’s opening narrower – and which may cause her to spill a few drops of blood when she’s penetrated). The operation is relatively expensive, costing from 6,000 to 12,000 kroner (about $1200 to $2400), but it is clearly quite popular. HRS has received several inquiries about such operations, which are no longer performed in Norway.

Aamand has explained to the young people who contact her that such operations don’t necessarily ensure blood on the sheets. Nor, necessarily, does an intact hymen.

”I’ve never heard of that problem,” replied imam Abdul Pedersen. ”Right now the main topic of our Friday prayers is gang conflicts.”

In reply to the imam’s answer, Aamand suggested that he bring up the problem at next Friday’s services, and added that she was surprised that the imam had never before heard of the Muslim demand for blood stains on wedding-night bedsheets. It was in response to this comment that the imam stood up and left the TV studio.

Program host Brügger didn’t understand Abdul Pedersen’s reaction. He thought it had been a lively and good debate, and couldn’t figure out why the imam became angry.

”I just don’t understand why Abdul Wahid became so angry. He had been briefed both by telephone and in the green room before we went into the studio. I hope he’ll continue to visit TV-Byen [DR’s studios] again. He’ll be given a hearty welcome.”

Translated by Bruce Bawer