I posted several stories here about Saudi TV host Rania Al-Baz when she was first beaten by her husband. (The treatment of women under Islamic law parallels the treatment of dhimmis.) Now MEMRI has a follow-up report that is quite illuminating of the peculiar blend of religious piety and violent cruelty that accompanies beatings like these — as one might expect from the Qur’an’s Sura 4:34:
Ranya Al-Baz, a Saudi TV host of a women’s issues talk show, was severely beaten by her husband, Muhammad Bakr Yunis. On April 4, 2004, Yunis left her in a hospital in a state of unconsciousness. The story received extensive media coverage in the Arab world, and the abusive husband was arrested. He was first accused of attempting to kill his wife, but the charges were subsequently reduced to the use of severe violence. Yunis was sentenced to six months imprisonment and 300 lashes.
However, Ranya decided to pardon her husband — a measure allowed by Saudi law. Yunis was spared the lashes and was released in early July after three months imprisonment.
On April 29, with bruises still on her face, Ranya gave a rare televised interview to journalist Mahmoud Sa’d of the Saudi TV station MBC.
Yunis: ‘Prophet Muhammad Forbade Beating a Wife on Her Face. But at the Same Time, One May Beat a Wife as Punishment’
On August 1, almost a month after his release, the abusive husband was also interviewed on the same show. In the interview, Yunis was shown excerpts from his wife’s April interview and was asked to comment. He said he regretted the physical damage he caused his wife, but he justified the beating itself with religious reasons. He said that Islam forbids beating a woman on her face, but allows beating as a means of punishment.
To view or download broadcast-quality excerpts from the interviews with both the battered wife and abusive husband, see clip no. 184 on http://memritv.org/archives.asp?ACT=S9&P1=184.
MEMRI also includes some teachings from imams on wife-beatings:
Recently, Syrian TV aired a lecture by Sheik Abd Al-Hamid Al-Muhajir who asked rhetorically: “[In the case of] a wife who endangers her husband and her own life, what’s better, that she gets slapped or that she ruins her family, herself, and society?”…
Egyptian Sheik Muhammad Al-Massir of Al-Azhar University also explained the circumstances in which a husband is allowed to beat his wife. If a woman is disobedient, he explained on the Saudi-based channel Iqra TV, ” a woman for whom marital life is important suffers when she is left alone in the bed. If we get to a point where abandonment [in bed] does not pain her and words do not deter her, we may have come to the stage of beatings.”
This explanation is based strictly upon Qur’an 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.”