* Some seem to like the rough stuff:
Poll: 70% of Israeli Arab women think slaps are not domestic abuse
Interesting that one of the first complainants about this post is a Muslim female who claims that there is plenty of wife-beating going on in Australia. That may be true, but we have laws against it and we have plenty of help for abused spouses, wereas Islam prescribes the practice. These arguments are tiresome….
Some 70 percent of Arab women in Israel believe women who are pushed, slapped or struck by their male partners are not victims of domestic violence, according to a poll conducted by theÂ Na’amatwomen’s organization.
The organization conducted the survey to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Some 73 percent believe women whose partners curse or humiliate them are not victims of violence.
Asked whether they agree with the claim that “sometimes a man acting violently toward a woman is justified and she understands this,” 23 percent of the respondents said yes, compared to 71 percent who said they did not.
w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m
VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: JORDAN, 20% APPROVE TO BE BEATEN
AMMAN, NOVEMBER 25 – Around 20 percent of Jordanian women approve being beaten by husbands to discipline them, according to a survey conducted by the department of statistics that was published today.
The study included nearly 15,000 families and 11,000 women who got married, said the report. Most of the respondents aged between 15 to 49 years old. Luck Steve, representative of UN Agencies which helped conduct the study, said measures must be taken to fight violence against women following surprising results of the survey. “The result of the survey shows we have work to do regarding state of women in the society and how they are being treated,” said Steve. The study was conducted during 2007 and made public during a public ceremony held at the department of statistics. Activists have been campaigning to improve conditions of women in this tribal community, but they are faced with resistance from traditional politicians. Queen Rania has been pushing for more rights to women since she was crowned nine years ago, with her efforts resulting in allowing married women to divorce their husbands, a measure that has been an exclusive right for men since decades. Every year between 15 to 20 women are killed in the name of honour, with killers receiving sentences for just a few months behind bars. (ANSAmed).
TURKEY: REPORT REVEALS HORRORS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
(ANSAmed) – ANKARA, NOVEMBER 26 – A shocking one out of every three women in Turkey are subject to physical violence. This alarming data comes from the report ‘Violence against Women in Turkey’ prepared this year by academics Ayse Gul Altinay and Yesim Arat, as Turkish dailies report today. “Excuses for Domestic Violence in Turkey and Recommendations from Women Victims on How to Avoid Violence” is the title of another report issued by the Turkey’s Compassion Association of Konya to reveal the horrors of domestic violence against women. According to daily Today’s Zaman the report is the result of the association’s findings after speaking with the 9,000 women and girls who have fallen victim to domestic violence and sought shelter with the Compassion Association, which runs women’s and refugees’ shelters and works on behalf of oppressed peoples, since 1995. The report details the excuses Turkish men use for beating their wives: “The woman’s not wanting to engage in sexual activity; the woman’s gaining weight; her inability to bear children or not bearing a male child; the food shÃ©s cooked being too salty, burnt, cold or not according to the man’s tastes; not doing a good job ironing his clothing; being late in answering the door when hÃ©s come home and knocked; the woman’s getting ill or not getting better after getting ill and leaving the home without permission”. The report also lists some of the disturbing forms of domestic violence including the “striking of the face, eyes, head, chest, back and knees by punching, kicking, caning or using a belt”. Some further extremes include slinging caustic liquids such as acid at women’s faces, pouring boiling-hot water, tea or coffee on her, extinguishing cigarettes directly on women’s exposed skin and wounding women using knives. (ANSAmed).Update from Australia:
Islam in the media – Domestic violence and polygamyÂ
‘Some Muslim religious leaders are condoning domestic violence, rape within marriage, polygamy, welfare fraud and exploitation of women, according to a new Report prepared by the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council of Victoria’.(1)
Barney Zwartz, writing in The Age, said the Report also says “some imams perform polygamous marriages knowing that the second wife, a de facto under Australian law, can claim Centrelink payments.”Â His article has extensive quotes and details from the Report. The actual Report is not available online.
The study was funded by the previous Howard government and its’ Muslim Community Reference Group and the final Report was presented at the National Centre of Excellence in Islamic Studies Conference in Melbourne on 19-20 November 2008. Click here for details of the Conference and speakers. The NCEIS was also funded under the same program by the Howard Government.
Some of these claims have been made before, but the fact that they are made in a Report published by a Muslim women’s group is very significant.
Responses from Australia’s Muslim Mufti Sheikh Fehmi:
The Victorian Board of Imams rejected the Report by the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council of Victoria.
In the same article, Barney Zwartz reported:
“The secretary of the Board of Imams, Sheikh Fehmi Naji El-Imam, said he could not understand how the council could write such a report and denied the complaints “absolutely”. “They must have heard stories here and there and are writing about them as though they are fact,” he said.
Sheikh Fehmi, who is also Mufti of Australia, said no authorised imam would conduct a polygamous marriage, and it was absolutely wrong that women’s rights were ignored in marriage or divorce, or that imams ignored domestic violence. “I haven’t heard of any case where the board disregarded a woman or did not try to help her,” he said.
Perhaps it depends on how one defines the word ‘marriage’…
Sheikh Fehmi’s comment on polygamy in the above report is somewhat different to what he told the ABC’s Compass program back on 6 May 2001:
Narrator: “... Islam recognises polygamy so prior to 1968 Imams like Sheikh Fehmi were not permitted to celebrate marriages.
Sheikh Fehmi : “It used to be at the time the late Mr Snedden he was the Attorney General. So I had a good meeting with him one day and tried to convince him that it is important for the Muslim to marry their own people. But he used to say to me. Well you know Sheikh Fehmi that you Muslims may marry more than one and when we are not allowed to let anybody here for have only one wife. I said to him, listen to me please you may register the first one and don’t worry about the second one. He laughed and said all right we won’t have anything to do with the second one. I stopped at the idea and at the time we had gained recognition from the Attorney General for all our Imams around Australia from that year onward.” (2)Â [emphasis added]
Following the report in The Age on Friday morning, 21 November, Sheikh Femhi was interviewed on the ABC 7pm News that evening. (3)
During the interview he endorsed polygamy. Although he apparently said it was uncommon and difficult, Sheikh Fehmi said in “some circumstances you may be able to have another wife”. Those circumstances included when the “wife is unable to carry out her duties for her husband”.
Click on the following title to hear the brief ABC News report.
Australia’s highest Muslim authority has defended the practice of polygamy.Â
ABC News, Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:04pm
In a detailed interview following these initial reports, Sheik Fehmi responded to the complaints of the women. He said “It is good to hear the complaints of the sisters, and to try to find some solution to their concerns.” (4)
In response to criticism of mosque facilities, he offered to try and organise to allow men and women to pray together in mosques.
He acknowledged that there may be problems with some imams. He said:
* On domestic violence, imams taught that men should never strike their wives. “The prophet said, ‘I never hit a wife in my life’, and everybody should do the same.”
– BUT what about the Qur’an verse that says men may beat their wives? See Sura 4:34
*On polygamy, he said Islam allowed a second wife only if the husband guaranteed he could treat both exactly alike, which almost amounted to a prohibition. “Polygamy in Islam is not willy-nilly. There are a lot of restrictions, which sometimes make it impossible.
But that means it is sometimes possible!
* On rape within marriage, he said the solution was to link legal divorce with Islamic divorce â€” something the board was working towards.
This article contains extended quotes from the Report by the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council of Victoria. (4)
Media reports: 1. Local Muslim clerics accused
1. Local Muslim Clerics Accused, The Age, Barney Zwartz, 21/11/2008.
2. The Sheikh of Melbourne, Compass, ABC, 6 May 2001.
3. Australia’s highest Muslim authority has defended the practice of polygamy, ABC TV News, 21 Nov 2008. “Australia’s highest Muslim authority has defended the practice of polygamy in the Islamic community in response to a report which found some religious leaders were pressuring women to drop complaints of domestic violence.”
4. Cleric vows to end segregration in mosques, The Age, Barney Zwartz, 22/11/2008.Â
Local Muslim clerics accused
SOME Muslim religious leaders in Victoria are condoning rape within marriage, domestic violence, polygamy, welfare fraud and exploitation of women, according to an explosive report on the training of imams.
– Rape and violence condoned within marriage: report
– Study says Islamic law applied to benefit men
– Mufti of Australia denies claims
The report says some imams apply Sharia (Islamic law) when it benefits men but not when it benefits women, and that they hinder police from pursuing domestic violence charges.
Women seeking divorces have also been told by imams that they must leave “with only the clothes on their back” and not seek support or a share of property because they can get welfare payments.
And the report says some imams knowingly perform polygamous marriages, also knowing that the second wife, a de facto under Australian law, can claim Centrelink payments.
The report is based on a study commissioned and funded by the former Howard government and conducted by theÂ Islamic Women’s Welfare Council of Victoria.
It was presented yesterday at aÂ National Centre for Excellence in Islamic StudiesÂ conference at Melbourne University.
It is the result of extensive community consultation, interviews with police, lawyers, court workers and academics, and meetings with and questions to the Victorian Board of Imams.
The board’s role is to provide an Islamic view and religious guidance to the community and represent it to the media. The report claims that the 24-man board ignored or did not directly answer many of the questions.
It says women, community and legal workers and police involved in the consultation were particularly concerned about domestic violence, and suggested that imams aimed to preserve the family at the cost of women.
When cases came to court they were often dropped after family and community elders pressured women to withdraw charges.
The report says some women who were legally separated but not religiously divorced had their husbands enter their houses, demand sexual intercourse and take it by force.
“Workers who have assisted women in this situation said that the advice women received from the imams was that it was “halal” â€” permitted â€” because there was a valid “nikah” â€” marriage,” it says.
The report also cites sexual assault allegations connected with under-age marriages.
It says polygamy is steadily increasing and gaining acceptance among Melbourne Muslims, and Shepparton police report many “de facto” relationships that are really polygamous marriages.
“Community workers who have provided support to women whose husbands took another wife religiously said that women blame the availability of Centrelink benefits … since one or the other wife will be claiming it, relieving the husband of the responsibility of supporting two families,” the report says.
Community members quoted in the report believe that imams’ narrow religious training in an increasingly complex world, lack of life experience, poor English and lack of understanding of Australia create problems for the community. For example, ill-informed comment by imams drew a wedge between the mainstream and Muslim communities.
The report suggests the Muslim community believes many imams are ill-equipped for the role, which involves much higher expectations in Australia than in predominantly Muslim countries, including marriage counselling, pastoral and spiritual care, marriages and divorces.
“They come from their own little village and culture and say this is what Islam is,” one woman is quoted saying. “They come from a village where there is no running water and electricity, and they bring their dark ideas into this country.”
The secretary of the Board of Imams, Sheikh Fehmi Naji El-Imam, said he could not understand how the council could write such a report and denied the complaints “absolutely”.
“They must have heard stories here and there and are writing about them as though they are fact,” he said.
Sheikh Fehmi, who is also Mufti of Australia, said no authorised imam would conduct a polygamous marriage, and it was absolutely wrong that women’s rights were ignored in marriage or divorce, or that imams ignored domestic violence.
“I haven’t heard of any case where the board disregarded a woman or did not try to help her,” he said.
Islamic women’s council chairwoman Tasneem Chopra said: “We are hoping we can negotiate with the appropriate authorities a better outcome for women, whether through law reform or education.
“This is a crucial, necessary beginning but it is part of a much larger picture.”