The shepherd and his flock

Our scholars, imams and community leaders really need to stop saying that a man accused of multiple rapes by now three women give him their unconditional support. There should be a condition: that he’s innocent. Naturally, until guilt has been established (be it of rape, zina or adultery) he has the right to be presumed innocent. Even so, this term “unconditional support” is extremely problematic. Make truth and justice your condition, and be guided by that. The nations before us were destroyed when the poor were held to account while the rich were let off. Our leaders seriously need to reflect on what they are saying.

If nothing else, in order to protect women from potential harm, these leaders ought to have made clear that extremely serious unproved accusations of impropriety have been made in four countries by several women and therefore, as a preventative safeguarding measure, sincerely advised sisters that they should be extremely cautious in approaching this individual in particular, and any non-Mahram man more generally in private, whether in person or online, no matter how famously pious or brilliant. A shepherd, after all, is supposed to protect his flock, even from the possibility of a wolf attack when no wolf is known to exist. That is the nature of safeguarding.

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