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It's OK to hit your wife, says Melbourne Islamic cleric

It's OK to hit your wife, says Melbourne Islamic cleric

Author: Mark Dunn
Publication: Herald Sun
Date: January 22, 2009
URL: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24945543-661,00.html

A Melbourne Islamic cleric has told his male followers they can force their wives to have sex and hit them if they are disobedient.

Coburg's self-styled cleric Samir Abu Hamza said despite Australian rape laws it was impossible for a man to rape his wife even if she refused to have sex with him.

In a recorded lecture entitled "The Keys to a Successful Marriage", delivered to his male worshippers but now broadcast on the internet and viewed by several thousand people, Mr Hamza said Islamic law allowed men to hit their wives as a last resort, but they were not to make them bleed or become bruised.

He said under Islamic law, as described in a koranic verse, it was a man's right to demand sex from his wife whenever he felt like it.

"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," Mr Hamza told his male followers on the video sermon.

He then mocked Australia's criminal laws, which required consent for sex to be lawful.

"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," Mr Hamza said. "Amazing, how can a person rape his wife?"

In the contradictory sermon, delivered in Melbourne or Sydney about 2003 but posted late last year, Mr Hamza initially instructs his listeners "don't hit your wife".

But he goes on to say exactly how men should hit their wives, according to his interpretation of Islamic teachings.

He said Islam cursed "those people who hit the animal on the face, (but) what about hitting your wife?"

"First of all advise them," he said. "You beat them . . . but this is the last resort.

"After you have advised them (not to be disobedient) for a long, long time then you smack them, you beat them and, please, brothers, calm down, the beating the Mohammed showed is like the toothbrush that you use to brush your teeth.

"You are not allowed to bruise them, you are not allowed to make them bleed."

Mr Hamza told his followers not to get carried away and become too physical with the beatings.

"This is just to shape them up, shape up woman - that is about it," he said.

"You don't go and grab a broomstick and say that is what Allah has said," Mr Hamza said to sporadic laughter from his flock.

Mr Hamza runs the Islamic Information and Services Network of Australasia on Sydney Rd, Coburg, which offers spiritual advice, prayer facilities and boxing, karate and gym classes for Muslims.

Despite concerns about his preaching being raised by female members of the Islamic community, Mr Hamza yesterday stood by his comments and blamed controversy over them on a hidden Zionist agenda run by the media.

Questioned about his teachings, Mr Hamza said a wife was allowed to be hit on the hand or leg, but "of course, not on the head".

He said if a Muslim wife disobeyed her husband, such as continuing to go out when requested not to, she was able to be subjected to moderate physical punishment.

Mr Hamza also reiterated his belief that women should submit to sex when husbands required it.

Asked whether it was impossible for a man to rape his wife under Islamic law, Mr Hamza said either male or female partners should be able to demand and receive sex.

Although he said he could not recall exactly when he gave the lecture, Mr Hamza said it was to followers in Sydney several years ago and had only been posted on the internet in recent months.

He said he would not make further comment on it.

"Don't call me, don't bother me and please don't call me ever again," he said.

Islamic Women's Welfare Council of Victoria executive director Joumanah El Matrah said Hamza's interpretation was bigoted.

"Even orthodox practitioners and imams do not consider any form of family violence acceptable," she said.

Islamic Council of Victoria vice-president Sherene Hassan said Islam did not condone domestic violence.

"The Prophet Mohammed stated 'The best of you is he who is kindest to his wife'," Ms Hassan said.

"The ICV has made a commitment to address this issue by organising a series of workshops early this year where imams and Muslim women will be invited to discuss topics such as these."

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