Women refuse refuge because of nearby mosque
The Qur’an sanctions the beating of disobedient women (4:34). In one New Zealand town, those who want to escape this abuse are afraid to do so because a mosque is next door to the shelter, and they could be recognized. Don’t these battered Muslim women know that Islam teaches peace and tolerance?
Muslim women are staying away from a domesitc violence crisis centre since a mosque opened next door.
The Auckland Shakti Asian Women’s Centre in Onehunga helps women escape violent domestic situations but women are too scared to go because they may be recognised by their husbands or relatives attending the mosque.
The centre has an alternative premises but cannot move in because Auckland City Council has held back planning permission for more than a year.
Meanwhile, Housing New Zealand Corporation is paying $310 a week $4030 so far for security guards to keep vandals away from the empty building that the women could move into.
Centre spokesperson Shila Nair said victims were “really afraid” to go to the centre in Church St, Onehunga in case they were recognised by men worshipping at the Onehunga Islamic Mosque, which is over a boundary fence.
Women who visited the centre usually did so without telling their husbands, she said. “If their husbands, in-laws or any other family members or friends were to know that they have visited Shakti, life for them would be even more difficult. We have had instances of women who visited our Women’s Centre later accessing our refuge.”
Most were from Middle Eastern, Africa and Asian countries that don’t legislate against domestic violence. Staff tell them what their rights are under New Zealand law.
The crisis centre took 4800 phone calls last year on a 24 hour nationwide helpline of which 90% were about family violence. Of the calls, half of the women were recommended to visit for counselling, legal advice or training.
The housing corporation renovated another building for the women to move to after the mosque bought a building next door from the Jehovah’s Witness church. The women have been waiting for 18 months for the council to grant resource consent for them to use the house. Council resource consents team leader Ian Smallburn said the consent was “on hold” because of concerns about the impact of parking on neighbours, trees and stormwater. It was not known when the issues would be resolved.
The centre opened a decade ago and is the busiest of Shakti’s five branches in Auckland, Tauranga and Christchurch, which together they help 6000 women a year escape domestic abuse.
Update from Pamela: take a look at Turkey:
Although it is condemned by helping organizations around the world, wife beating isÂ common in many places.Â What’s worse is when health workers facilitate or condone it as recently reported in a study done in Turkey.Â
In TurkeyÂ which has wife-beating virtually institutionalized, a high percentage of health workers don’t respond or work with the victims of domestic violence in sympathetic ways.Â That’s because the culture accepts wife- beating.Â On a questionnaire 69.0% of the female and 84.7% of the male health workers stated that the agreed to or partially agreed to at least one reason to excuse physical violence.Â Â Â
The accepted grounds for beating one’s wife in Turkey includes criticizing the man, lying to him or refusing to care for the children. Deceiving the husband is the most serious offense with over half of female doctors agreeing that the man should be able to punish the wife physically if the wife deceived him.Â These are accepted grounds also for honor killings.Â
Because of the cultural rigidity on the matter of approving wife-beating most health care workers in Turkey don’t know the legal issues nor is there any real training in the country to help medical personnel identify and report signs of physical abuse.Â
Wife-beating “virtually institutionalized” in modern, moderate, secular Turkey
Spousal abuse is found in all countries and cultures, but only in Islam does it have divine sanction: “Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.” — Qur’an 4:34
How to beat your wife properly, expert instructions here