In a refreshing instance of Europeans declining to bow down to the idol of multiculturalism, “an imam was sentenced to prison in Spain on Wednesday for inciting violence against women in a 1997 book that gave detailed instructions to Muslim men on how to beat their wives, judicial officials said.” This from AFP, with thanks to Nicolei.
I wrote about this book in Islam Unveiled. What this article doesn’t tell you is that this imam was simply explicating the Qur’an’s Sura 4:34: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them.”
Says the article: “Mohammed Kamal Mustafa, 44, who has been the imam of Fuengirola in the southern Costa del Sol region for the past 12 years, was convicted of ‘inciting violence on the basis of gender’ by a court in Barcelona.
“In a book entitled ‘Women in Islam’, Mustafa discussed the ‘restraints imposed’ by Islam ‘concerning the physical punishment’ of women. ‘The beatings must be administered to specific parts of the body, such as the feet and hands, using a stick that is not too big so as not to leave scars and bruises,’ he wrote.”
As I explain in Islam Unveiled, this kind of exegesis of Sura 4:34 is quite common in the Islamic world. If Mustafa had published his book in Egypt or Syria, it wouldn’t have gotten any notice at all.
“‘The beatings must not be too harsh because the goal is to cause psychological suffering and not to humiliate or physically abuse,’ he added. Mustafa was sentenced to one year and three months in prison and fined nine euros (seven dollars) a day for eight days. His lawyer Jose Luis Bravo said he planned to appeal the conviction, saying it was ‘unfair’ and the result of ‘media pressure’.
“During his trial, Mustafa said he was against wife-beating and that his book was merely a compilation of sacred Muslim texts on women. But the judge ruled that the cleric had sought to portray his opinions as those of a theological expert on Islam, presenting ‘his own views on the husband’s rights to punish his rebel wife’.”
Mustafa was right. But the judge seems to have been swayed by some Muslim advocates in the courtroom into believing that Mustafa was just passing off his opinions as Islamic doctrine. There is abundant evidence, as I show once again in Islam Unveiled, that this is far from being just Mustafa’s opinion, but represents a common Islamic teaching.
“‘The whole work has an obsolete male chauvinist tone, in some instances very pronounced which violates the constitutional principle of equality,” he said. And the comments attacked the right to “physical and moral integrity” enshrined in the Spanish constitution, the judge added.
“Two groups representing Spanish Muslims, the Federation of Muslim Entities and the Islamic Commission, had come forward ahead of the trial to state that the Koran and other sacred texts condemned violence against women.”
I’d like to see their explanation of Sura 4:34.
“The trial was the result of a complaint presented in 2000 by about 100 women’s groups which welcomed the outcome of the trial.
“Women’s rights’ groups said Wednesday they were ‘very satisfied’ because the case ‘is progress in the fight against violence against women’, their spokeswoman and lawyer Maria Jose Varela said. ‘It is now clear that you cannot use religion like a shield…,’ she added.
“‘All religions have historical pasts that are strongly discriminatory against women but to use texts of historical bygone eras is not fighting for religious freedom but trying to avoid application of the law,’ she added.”
Yes, but unfortunately most Muslims do not regard the Qur’an as a text “of historical bygone eras.” They consider it to be just as relevant to today’s situation as to that of the times in which it was written.