Professor Jonathan Brown teaches Islamic Civilization in Washington, DC at one of the nation’s leading international relations schools. He doesn’t believe that owning another person is intrinsically wrong because “there is no such thing as slavery.”
Brown argues that slavery cannot be treated as an absolute evil and suggests that we are all slaves to our responsibilities. We all own others and are owned by others, he says.
“This obsession of thinking of slavery as property – it’s treated as this inconceivable sin,” says Brown. “I think that’s actually a really odd and unhelpful way to think about slavery and kind of gets you locked in this way of thinking where, if you talk about ownership and people, that you’re already transgressed some moral boundary that you can’t come back from. But I don’t think that’s true at all.”
Brown admits that “extreme forms of deprivations of rights” can make slavery evil, but that owning another person is not morally wrong.
Brown shared his perverted opinions with an audience this month at the International Institute for Islamic Thought – an organization with alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
During his lecture, Brown pointed out that the prophet of his Muslim faith owned slaves and implied that what was okay for him should be okay for others. “Are you more morally mature than the prophet of God?” he asked a skeptical audience member. “No, you’re not.”
Brown also discussed sexual relations in regards to slavery, reminding us again that we are not “really free.” He cited obligations like “kids” and a “mortgage” that keep him from complete freedom.
“We’re all born into and live in a network of relationships and responsibilities and duties, but we have this obsession with the idea of autonomy.” Brown explained that a wife’s autonomy and a concubine’s autonomy were no so different because “for most of human history and most of Islamic civilization, women got married to the person that their family wanted them to get married to.”
He slammed the idea of needing to be “in love” to get married as “hogwash” and criticized society’s obsession with “autonomy and [sexual] consent.”
“We think of people as autonomous agents,” he said, “and it is the consent of that autonomous agent that makes a sexual action acceptable.” Taking away that element of consent leads to “rape” and other “great moral wrongs of our society.”
Brown says it’s a “fact, not an opinion,” that “for most of human history human beings have not thought of consent as the essential feature of morally correct sexual activity.”
Brown, a 39-year-old convert to Sunni Islam, is trying to justify rape. He is trying to justify slavery by convincing us that nobody is really free.
Why is someone with such a perverted opinion teaching at a respected university? Brown’s megalomaniacal justifications are dangerous, disgusting, and immature. This is not the type of person who should be teaching our children.
Jonathan Brown has worked as an associate professor at Georgetown University since 2012. He is the school’s Chair of Islamic Civilization and is the editor-in-chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Law.
He has written several books about the Islamic faith.