More on the Afghan law sanctioning marital rape. Sharia Alert: “Afghan cleric defends controversial marriage law,” by Atia Abawi for CNN, April 20 (thanks to James):
[…] We didn’t have an appointment but we were hoping to interview Mohammed Asif Mohseni, a conservative Shia cleric.
Note to CNN: “Conservatives” don’t generally endorse marital rape.
He is said to be the man behind the controversial Shia state law, a law critics say strips Afghan Shia women of many rights.[…]
“The law … which I created I see as correct for both men and women,” he said. “We have given rights to both men and women, even better than rights given to women in the West. We give women more in this law.”
I asked him about reports that if a women does not comply in having sexual relations with her husband, then the husband can refuse to feed her. “Yes, I said that,” Mohseni said looking me in the eye. “When a couple marries, sex is a part of marriage, and they agree to that.”
Can she refuse to feed him? Uh, no.
He went on to explain that a woman isn’t obliged to have sexual relations every single night or if she is told by her doctor to refrain. But otherwise it is her obligation and something she signed up for when she got married. He calls it the wife’s duty.
Mohseni added that a wife wearing makeup “prevents a man from thinking about other women on the streets and he can just think of his wife.”
He continued: “It is natural that women (wear makeup). Don’t they in the West? Their women wear it on the streets and in shops. Women should put make-up on for their husbands as it will increase the love and attraction between the two.”
The cleric also explained that a woman is not required to ask the permission of a man to leave the house if she has a job and needs to go to work. But they do need to get permission if they are leaving for other reasons.
More importantly, he said, a couple needs to make clear the day they marry whether or not she will need permission to leave the home. If they disagree then they should not get married.
“Like you are working for CNN,” he said. “If your boss tells you you’ll be working for 8 hours a day then you’re responsible for that. It’s the same here; they both have to agree on it.”
According to Mohseni, the West is imposing its beliefs on the Muslim world because they don’t understand.
It is certainly true that the West doesn’t understand the Muslim world.
However, it’s not just people in the West who are opposed to this law; many Afghans, men and women, have vehemently resisted it. They fear it will set women back after the progress that has been made in the last seven years.
Sima Samar, head of Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, has been working for a year now, trying to amend certain articles within the law.
“I feel discriminated. Clear-cut. I don’t feel equal in this country,” she told us.
Samar said the law does not represent Islam. It blatantly contradicts the constitution of Afghanistan, which states that men and women are equal.
We saw how much provisions of the Afghan Constitution that contradicted Sharia were worth when the government put Abdul Rahman on trial for apostasy, despite the fact that the Constitution contains language about religious freedom.
Critics have labeled the law as “Talibanistic” but Samar says even many of the Taliban’s actions were not enshrined in law.
She admitted that a law for Shias is necessary but that it should be what is stated in Sharia or Islamic Law. “One of the very important pillars in Islam is justice, there is no justice in this law,” she said.
Well, that all depends on what one thinks is the font of justice, no?