Make Beatings “Like A Joke” But “Try Not To Make Her Ugly”: Palestinian Islamic Leader Holds Forth On Islamically Correct Wife Beatings

Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 12.24.17 PMThere is a shocking interview circulating on the Internet that purportedly (I have no way to confirming the translation) shows the “Grand Mufti of Gaza” Hassan Al-Laham holding forth on such subjects as how to best beat your wife, including the advice not to hit them in a way that “makes the face ugly.” He also reminds women that they cannot refuse sex with their husbands under the Koran and must please him in accordance with the principles of Islam. He is also asked for guidance on such issues as whether to allow women to shop during the holidays. Of course, this discussion strikes most sane people as two raving lunatics engaging in a delusional fantasy. Yet, this is a high ranking cleric who apparently holds sway with many people. You are left with the bizarre image of people dutifully writing down such advice as “beatings — yes; but try not to make her ugly.”

Al-Laham notes that wife beating is not just allowed but expressly supported by the Koran. He noted that “Allah said: Warn them [the wives], and separate from them, and hit them, and bring an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family.” Apparently, the arbitration follows the beating.

Yet, the top spiritual leader appointed by the Palestinian Authority, cautions men to be careful in such beatings: “Not hitting that will bring the police, and break her hand and cause bleeding, or hitting that makes the face ugly.” He then added the advice to make beatings fun, playful, and spontaneous “like a joke” reinforcing “the love and friendship” between the couple.

Oh yes, those playful, loving wife beatings. Many marriage counselors in Gaza apparently start with that as a relationship building tool.

Unless this is the worst translation in history, the interview reflects the inner battle for Muslims seeking a more modern (and sane) approach to their faith. Islam is not unique in having a religious text that filled with sexist and shocking values. However, to have Islamic religious leaders espousing such values in the 21st Century is chilling. I have had the pleasure of knowing many Muslim families, including Palestinian families, where absolute equality and respect for women is a core value. For those families, throw backs like the “Grand Mufti” most be an embarrassment but also represent the deep-seating sexism and abusive culture that Muslim women must face in such areas. This interview also reaffirms how courageous female reformers are in fighting for equal rights in Islamic nations. Yet, their struggle is one that the United States should more strongly support in seeking safe and equal treatment for girls and women in Islamic countries.

27 thoughts on “Make Beatings “Like A Joke” But “Try Not To Make Her Ugly”: Palestinian Islamic Leader Holds Forth On Islamically Correct Wife Beatings

  1. As for bambam (and Ralph Adamo), you are sure to find him attacking JT for speaking on Israel or Judaism…
    Then on the next thread adding fire to islamophobia.
    Tsk tsk…

  2. Why do religions seem to have a downer on women? Under the risk of being controversial I believe we need everyone in order to keep going. Men, women, boys and girls, we’re all the same if you cut us we all bleed. Skin colour, sex, sexual preference, or religion don’t come into the equation anywhere. I’m all in favour of treating others the way you would like them to treat you.

  3. Po,
    Does the version of Islam (Shia, Sunni, Alawaite, etc–the school of thought) someone follows determine the tolerance of violence (wife beatings, honor killings, apostasy killings, abuse of non-Muslims, etc)?

    Or, are this man’s horrific viewpoints more the result of cultural norms?

    What do you think gives rise to his comments (and far too many similar examples) in the Middle East?

    • Prairie
      It is worth going backward a bit, and realize than in the times before Islam, some Arabs would bury their daughters alive because females were a liability in such violent times. The Quran specifically prohibited such act, gave women rights and forbade their mistreatment.
      The prophet Muhamad’s story reveals that not only did he never beat anyone, he was also very loving, gentle and playful with his wives.
      A couple of generations after he left, the cultural mores in Arabia started turning the society back into the severely patriarchal place that it was, where women scholars were no longer allowed to teach and women were pushed out of the mosque. Some male scholars even religiously justified mistreatment of women.

      The best way I can put it is thus: the closer the school of thought to saudi arabia, the more anti-women it is.
      Or, better yet, the farther away the muslim population to Saudi arabia, the more women friendly it is.
      Generally, the more orthodox the school, the worse it is for women, and the more mystical the school, the more equitable it is.
      Additionally, Islam tends to take the mores of the community it comes into, so in west africa, which has very open societies with a matriarchal structure (and this is found in some asian zones too) religious violence against women is an aberration, and the more female friendly the population is, the more religiously tolerant it is.
      I’ll use the example of Senegal, 95% muslim, where the first president voted in by the population and islamic leaders was catholic. Our last vice president was a woman. Women are an important part of the society and are found in many position of leadership.
      So in terms of the oppression of women, Saudi Arabia and its wahabism have moved islam backward in time, and I joke often that we are back into the time of Jahiliya (ignorance), when arabs were shedding each other’s blood and burying their daughters alive.

      The problem also is that wahhabism, supported by the saudi’s petrodollars, has been a growing influence in the muslim world, as they print the qurans (through which they limit the opposing commentaries), they build mosques everywhere, they offer scholarships and send imams to various countries, along with raining money onto many of the leaders thereby buying a religious presence and displacing other islamic schools much more gentle and tolerant, such as the sufis, and generally the 4 sunni schools.

  4. Po,
    Thank you for the thoughtful reply. The rabbit hole of proxy wars and black budgets and corporatism gets deeper and uglier.

    On a related note, what are your thoughts on the war in Syria?

    It seems to be somewhat sectarian in nature, particularly since Saudi Arabia is backing some of the “rebels” and getting physically involved with war planes and possibly troops. (I hear the CIA gets some monetary help from the Saudis, too).

    I thought the Sunnis were more closely allied to Saudi Arabia (versus the Shias–that is Iran’s main version, right). Have I gotten alliances and schools of thought mixed up? I shall have to research this.

    • Thanks for the thoughtful questions, PR, your instincts are on point.
      One fact that is always overlooked is this one, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeyRwFHR8WY
      Followed by this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw
      And after that, everything makes sense.

      Syria was always a secular country, a progressive country with an advanced civilization…it is however a geopolitical spot of great importance. Why? Because it is an ally of Iran on the side of Saudi Arabia and S. Arabia fears Iran’s shiite influence, as it feared Iraq’s Baathist influence.

      Saudi Arabia is allied with Turkey which wants Syria partitioned in order for them to better control both the Syrian kurds who are now taking over Turkey territory and better control the Kurds around and in Turkey proper.

      Israel wants Syria broken so it can fully take over the Golan heights, where oil and gas deposits have been found, further, by taking out Syria and Lebanon, iran is further isolated and therefore diminished. The Nusra front, which is fighting Assad and supposedly ISIS while being allied with ISIS cooperates with ISrael and are treated in Israeli hospitals when injured.

      Oil companies want to break up Syria so that the huge oil and gas resources that have been found and that they were lining to get do not go to Russia for exploitation.

      ISIS is a S. Arabia, US and Turkey proxy force, whose main aim is to partition Syria into smaller parts. They are armed and funded by US through S. Arabia and supposedly unawaredly. The reason we have yet to really bomb ISIS forces is that they were siphoning Syrian oil and selling it to ISrael and Europe through Turkey and Erdogan’s son. The tankers of oil were taken trough Turkey unharmed, until the Russians arrived, that is, and now they are blowing up anything that moves. Isis riches that enabled it to pay fighters and buy those toyota trucks were from the proceeds of that oil. And that is why Turkey downed that Russian plane, hoping to push them back. it is why now Turkey is shelling the Kurds in Syria under the guise of fighting ISIS. The 3 hospitals that were bombed recently and blamed on Russia were either due to that Turkey shelling or US planes, which are bombing Assad forces under the guise of fighting ISIS.

      It is a clusterf!ck by any definition, and between Syria and Ukraine, it is indeed WW3, it just has not spread outward yet.
      The West, nato, S. Arabia and Turkey will not rest until Syria is broken, Iran is isolated and Russia is tamed. That is not happening, and as it keeps creating false flag operations to justify fighting the Kurds, Turkey is about to invade Syria, where they will face the Russians and Hezbollah…one errand missile is all it will take and the nukes come out.

      The next weeks will feature a couple of huge “”terrorist”” attacks in Turkey proper, but also either in Saudi Arabia or in the west to be blamed on ISIS, in order to give justification for an all out invasion of Syria. That’s when the sh!t will hit the fan. Hope you are prepping.

  5. I’m sure Hillary’s desire to bring homosexual nuptials and equal rights for persons who can not pick a gender identify shall go very far in the Muslim world, and in quick order too!

    /sarc off

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