Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has weighed into a religious controversy, demanding a retraction and an apology from Islamic cleric Samir Abu Hamza for telling followers that they can beat their wives and force them to have sex under the Koran — in violation of Australian law.
The statement appears in a video of a 2003 lecture that has been posted on the Internet. Despite the Australian law requiring consent and criminalizing spousal abuse, Hamza says that, while the last resort, the Koran allows husbands to beat their wives and force them to have sex against their wishes: “If the husband was to ask her for a sexual relationship and she is preparing the bread on the stove she must leave it and come and respond to her husband, she must respond.” To make matters worse, Hamza ridiculed the secular laws of the country: “In this country if the husband wants to sleep with his wife and she does not want to and she hasn’t got a sickness or whatever, there is nothing wrong with her she just does not feel like it, and he ends up sleeping with her by force … it is known to be as rape . . . Amazing, how can a person rape his wife?” Well, by beating her and forcing her to have sex. Does that explain things better?
Hamza has said that husband should not turn to violence unless as a last resort, but “You are not allowed to bruise them, you are not allowed to make them bleed. . . . This is just to shape them up, shape up woman – that is about it . . . You don’t go and grab a broomstick and say that is what Allah has said.”
This reminds me of an old Louisiana law that said that a husband could not beat his wife with a stick thicker than his thumb.
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