Following are excerpts from a TV debate on sex education in the Arab world, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on August 11, 2009.
Egyptian author Dr. Khaled Muntaser: Dr. Faysal, let us begin by defining the kind of sex education that needs to be taught at school. When you incorporate the "colonialist, Crusader invasion" into our discussion, it's like saying that teaching about the digestive or respiratory systems constitutes colonialist invasion. How can we say that sex education and teaching the reproductive system amounts to a colonialist invasion?
I would like to share with the viewers a personal story. When I was at high school in Egypt, the teacher came into class one day, and said: "Good news! The reproductive system has been removed [from the exam] this year. There will be no questions about it." As young students, we were happy that the curriculum had shrunk. Later, I realized that this was not a personal decision of the teacher. It is the position of the Arab culture, which is terrified by the human body.
Al-Azhar university scholar Ibrahim Al-Khouli: What [the imam] Malik and [the imam] Al-Shafi'i said about the minimum and maximum terms of pregnancy is based on life experience. They set the principles according to the norm.
Khaled Muntaser: What, in the past pregnancy lasted four years and now only nine months?
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: I didn't say that.
Khaled Muntaser: So what life experience are you talking about?
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: You're not listening to me.
Khaled Muntaser: This is about science.
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Some books of jurisprudence say that pregnancy lasts four years, while others – like Ibn Hazm and Averroes, who are among the greatest jurisprudents – say the norm for people is nine months.
A fetus can spend more than nine months [in the womb]. This happens in cattle. A cow can become pregnant and give birth...
Khaled Muntaser: Are we talking about cattle now?!
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Allow me!
Khaled Muntaser: Next thing you'll bring us the elephant. What cattle are you talking about?
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: You people turn human into cattle.
Cows are pregnant for nine months. Sometimes it lasts for ten months. That's the truth. It's very normal, but rare.
It was the Koran that taught the world to respect science, man. Before that, Europe had not heard about science and knew nothing about it. We are the ones who taught it about science.
Khaled Muntaser: And where have we gone since then?
When a gym teacher forbids girls from participating in gymnastics, claiming that their hymen might be torn, he is committing a sex crime. When a kindergarten teacher separates boys from girls at the age of four, and forces four-year-old girls to wear the hijab, she is perpetrating a crime in sex education.
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: I have visited London. Haven't you seen the sex shops there?
Khaled Muntaser: What are you talking about? We are talking about sex education at school.
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Sex was given moral values and an existential role in the life of mankind only in Islam. The ancient Greeks degenerated to the point that they worshipped the sexual organs, and others despised them, like in India. Islam does not say such things.
Don't you realize that everything that is happening is the implementation of the The Protocols?
Interviewer: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Yes.
Interviewer: You mean that sex education is a conspiracy?
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Let me finish.
Interviewer: Go ahead.
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: When Freud says that man lives for the sake of his sex organ, and when Marx says that man lives for the sake of his belly – they are not really talking about humans, but about herds of cattle.
Khaled Muntaser: Are you talking about the Freud we know?
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: They are trying to apply this to humans. People are not like that!
Khaled Muntaser: Sex, according to Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli, is only about child bearing.
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Not true!
Khaled Muntaser: For him, sex is a factory for children...
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Not true!
Khaled Muntaser: If they invent a machine, maybe we should get it. Just like a machine makes ice-cream, it will be able to produce children.
Ibrahim Al-Khouli: According to scientific reason, the idea leads to action. When you get an idea, you start thinking about how to implement it. When a child is exposed to such information, he tries to imitate it. He will do it with his sister. That is one of the most catastrophic problems.