written by Saadia Haq from the Human Lens
There is no denying the prevailing existence of domestic violence among Muslim communities that continue to lag behind in out-dated centuries on matters of women’s status and rights in Islamic societies. But just like so many anti human practises are brushed under the carpet and deemed not that important, violence against Muslim women continues inside their homes and outside.
Among Muslims, regardless of their sect there is an invisible consensus on the disputed relationship of their understandings on Islam and domestic violence. It is very common to note, that majority Islamic societies continue to operate under the cultural stigma of hiding the evidences of abuse meted to women. The harsh reality of most Muslim nations is the inability of recognising the abuse by law order authorities, police and judicial system. Here the many victims of domestic violence are treated to scorn, alienations and charged under distorted versions of Sharia dreamed by bigoted clergy.
Most Muslims lap up distorted teachings promoting an array of bizarre methods by which men should make wives more obedient and in failing to do so, wife beating becomes permissible. The notions of men having authority over women that women are to be obedient establish an authoritarian structure with the husband as head of the wife. These tactics are justified by the reason that Allah created men superior to women and thus men are the maintainers of women.
Last year, Pakistan made cringe worthy news when the chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, a powerful religious body announced a ridiculous proposal to legalize the ‘light beating’ of wives at the hands of their husbands. This sent a wave of joy to local men who in any case are prone to wife beating and abuse. The golden moment was interrupted by the national outrage and revulsion with street protests, civil societies, media, and had a few politicians react with disdain on legalizing domestic violence within Muslim marriages.
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