It’s Illegal To Refuse To Breastfeed An Adult Male In Saudi Arabia

A new law in Saudi Arabia has caused quite a bit of confusion. Are you sitting down? OK, so a strict version of Islam forbids women to come in contact with men who are not their relatives. And so the Saudis have issued a fatwa demanding that women who come into regular contact with unrelated men should breastfeed them so that they can be considered relatives. But the big issue is not the law, believe it or not. The heated debate is about the logistics of the law. Sheikh Al Obeikan, an adviser to the royal court and Ministry of Justice, attempted to clear up the confusion by making a statement that “[men] should drink [the milk] and then [he] becomes a relative of the family, a fact that allows him to come in contact with the women without breaking Islam’s rules about mixing.” Abi Ishaq Al Huwaini, another high-profile sheik, followed this up by encouraging men to suckle the milk directly from the women’s breasts. This is in direct opposition with a 2007 fatwa that requires women to breastfeed adult men by pumping the milk into a glass and feeding it to them.

Mostly, the Saudi women are plain old dumbfounded about what to do with their breast milk, since it’s clearly not their choice. And, uh, what about women who aren’t producing milk? “The whole issue just shows how clueless men are,” says blogger Eman Al Nafjan. “All this back and forth between sheiks and not one bothers to ask a woman if it’s logical, let alone possible to breastfeed a grown man five fulfilling breast milk meals.”

I’m gonna go with absolutely not. Wait … can we go back to the part at the beginning about women breast-feeding adult men? I still haven’t processed that part yet. [AOL]