Italian Supreme Court Rejects Father’s Claim That Beating Daughter Is Permissible In The Islamic Culture

As I have discussed previously, I often speak about the cultural defense with a group of experts around the country, including judge Delissa Ridgway. This defense is used in both criminal and civil cases to argue that an individual did not have true intent to commit a crime or should have a mitigated sentence due to a cultural motivation or belief. There are limits however as a father discovered last week in Rome, Italy.

The father in a criminal case was arrested after beating his 12-year-old daughter with a broom handle when she could not properly recite the Koran. He was convicted of child abuse and aggravated assault.

The Italian Supreme Court rejected his claim that he was simply acting in accordance with his religion and his Islamic culture. The court correctly ruled that this was abuse — plain and simple.

I believe that there are real limits to the use of this defense, particularly in cases of violent crime. What is interesting in this case is that the man essentially argued that beating children, particularly girls, is common in Islamic countries. However, while that may be a cultural practice it is not a viable cultural defense, in my view. We have certainly seen widespread abuse of women in some Islamic countries. However, it would be a mistake for Western countries to excuse such despicable practices as culturally motivated. Not only are such beatings not required by the Islamic faith, they exist only because they are tolerated in countries like Pakistan and Iran. Western countries should not give credence to such arguments any more than they would allow human sacrifice under Mayans who wish to return to their ancient practices.

Source: ANSA

19 thoughts on “Italian Supreme Court Rejects Father’s Claim That Beating Daughter Is Permissible In The Islamic Culture”

  1. Amy (and readers), I hope that you realize the “religionofpeace” website to which you linked is an Islam-bashing website for a Muslim-bashing book — not a trustworthy source by any means on what Islam teaches.

    And I posit that nationalism (particularly ethnic nationalism) has been far more destructive a force than religion in world history. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, for starters, were primarily motivated by nationalism (the religious gloss some try to give what Hitler did just doesn’t wash), and deaths on their heads alone far exceed death attributed to historical religious wars. On top of those three butchers place, in contemporary times, the millions who have died in wars in Africa, almost all of whom died in conflicts based in ethnic nationalism. And most of the supposedly religious wars, pace Gene H. and his list of alleged religious wars, were in fact wars of nations, not of faiths. When you start looking closely at the wars that are commonly believed to be wars based on religion, you almost always find that people of supposedly warring faiths allied against supposed coreligionists.

    Religion has much to answer for — but give me religion over nationalism any day.

  2. Re: History of the state protestant churches during the Third Reich: the Deutsche Evangelische Kirche (DEK) was the umbrella organization of the Lutheran/Reformed/United state churches on the national level (similar to the present day EKD), the “Reichskirche” was a Nazi pipe dream that never materialized.

    The nazis tried to nazify every aspect of live (the so called “Gleichschaltung“), in the DEK they had an early victory: they (and their proxy, the rabidly racist and antisemitic inner-church movement “Deutschen Christen” (DK), later splintering into several groups) got Bishop Ludwig Müller elected as the leader of the DEK in 1933.

    But the relationship between most of the state churches on one hand and Müller and the DK on the other soured almost immediately: later in 1933 he gave a speech in the radio that was so radical (essentially putting “the party” above God and Christ) that most of the clergy and many members were quite shocked over it.

    While relatively only few actually became active in the church resistance movement (Bekennende Kirche), most where somewhat aware of the danger a totalitarian ideology like that of the NSDAP posed to the continued existence of the churches (a “competitor” to individual loyalty) and tried to keep the state churches as independent as possible.

    In 1937 the nazis were fed up with the churches and the ineffective DEK and put the churches under direct government control, specifically the “Minister for Church Affairs” Hanns Kerrl.

    Re: On topic: Isn’t this a bit of a straw man or non-problem?
    I mean is there really a Western democracy in which “but it’s a-OK in Islam to beat your wife” is a valid defense in a criminal trial?

  3. Yeah, because being humiliated is so much worse than death.

    Religion gets blamed easily because over the course of human history, there are two leading causes of war and mass murder: money/resources and religion. Hitler may not have been a practicing Catholic, but he was a Catholic, and the Nazi regime had plans to eventually replace all religions with a statist church designed to “reconcile” Christianity with the tenets of Nazism. Alfred Rosenberg formulated a thirty-point program for the National Reich Church (a.k.a. the Deutsche Evangelische Kirche or Reichskirche) which the Reich planned eventually use to supplant all forms of worship. Although they never got to that phase of their plans, in propaganda throughout the war, the Nazis relied upon a blend of both Christian and Germanic pagan ideology and imagery to promote the war effort and rationalize their appalling application of eugenics. Before the end of the war, Reich relations with the Reichskirche soured as supplanting and/or absorbing other forms of Christianity did not happen as throughly or quickly as the Nazi Party desired.

    As you go back through history though, a great many atrocities were committed and wars were started for religious reasons. All three Abrahamic religions engaged in internecine sectarian warfare and inter-religious warfare as well. So did Hindus, Jainists and Buddhists. From the 16th to mid-17th Century sectarian warfare among Christians in Europe brought the German Peasants’ War (1524–1525), the battle of Kappel in Switzerland (1531), the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648), the French Wars of Religion (1562–1598), the Thirty Years War (1618–1648), and the Wars of the Three Kingdoms – the Scottish Reformation and Civil Wars, the English Reformation and Civil War, the Irish Confederate Wars and the Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland (1639–1651). Let’s not forget the Crusades and the Ottoman Empire’s wars against Europe. The constant sectarian warfare between Muslims during the 7th Century. Most of the current conflicts in the Middle East. The list goes on and on.

    Religion gets a bad name for causing violence legitimately.

    I know this because history tells me so.

  4. Talkindog and Basile,
    Hitler never set foor in a church, nor did Stalin…
    And the whole culture of secularism that sweapt through Europe and decided it was time to civilize the world. Since then massive populations have been wiped out or worse, humiliated.
    I think religion gets blamed easily

  5. I gotta agree with Basil White. Religion has no point except to beat people. Take those nuns in Catholic grade schools with those rulers for example. They dont single out boys from girls. But when the kids reach puberty they quit listening to the platitudes about contraception and run right out and buy rubbers.

  6. when in rome burn roman candles. if you want to beat your kid like they do in an islamic country then go to an islamic country. when you are in another country you must conform to the laws and norms of that country.

  7. I don’t believe there are any situations where someone’s religious beliefs should cause them to be treated differently under the law. If it’s wrong for an Italian Atheist to do something, it should be wrong for an Italian Muslim too.

  8. The guy who sports the Confederate Flag on his front lawn, the rear window of his Japanese pickup, on his shirt, or other places like tatoos on his weenie, will say that it is “heritage” or “culture”. Yes it is. Just dont come by at night with your Klan hoodie on Jacko or you will get shot for your heritage.

  9. @G. Waleed Kavalec: Are you sure about that?

    Qur’an (4:34) – “Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.”

    Qur’an (38:44) – “And take in your hand a green branch and beat her with it, and do not break your oath…” Allah telling Job to beat his wife.

  10. Don’t be fooled by Wahhabi / Salafi nonsense posing as “Islam”.

    The Qur’an makes this matter very clear, we are told TWICE:

    “Oppression is worse than slaughter”

  11. Good for the Italian Supreme Court. The so called cultural or “religious” defense should be generally rejected. Unfortunately the US has begun to see religion as a defense to or an exemption from following the law. As this zone of religious deference grows, I hope our judges and politicians will the danger it puts us all in but my fear is that this type of defense is usually raised in cases of violence against women and we are seeing a growing number of politicians who see women as particularly easy targets.

  12. I like to call it the “Barbarian Defense.” Doesn’t get much traction in civilized societies as AY points out.

  13. You may practice your particular brand of idolatry if you wish… long as it does not violate a core principal of we have termed a civil society…..

  14. Right you are prof. There are nutbags in this country that that the OT entry “Spare the rod and spoil the child” to mean they have free license to beat children but you won’t find much support for that position in any of the major denominations and it could hardly be called a requirement. Even if they did there is a societal norm that would over rule it in a sane, rational, country.

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