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Thursday, January 03, 2008

"There must be violence against women"

This is an actual title of an article in the Yemen Times. To ensure that no one can accuse me of editing it to make it look worse than it is, here is the entire article - all I did was highlight some of the passages:
There must be violence against women
By: Maged Thabet Al-Kholidy majed_thabet@hotmail.com

This title may sound strange, but it’s actually not just a way to attract readers to the topic because I really do mean what it indicates. Violence is a broad term, especially when used regarding women. In this piece, I want to shed light on those instances where violence against women is a must.

First, we should know the meaning of the word violence. Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English defines violence as “behavior that is intended to hurt other people physically.” However, the term violence mustn’t be confused with other concepts and terms such as gender inequality or absence of women rights.

Occasionally – if not daily – we hear about events occurring in Islamic and Arab societies. Some human rights organizations recently have attacked violent acts against women, standing against any type of violence – even that between a father and daughter – and citing the cases of some women as examples.

Consequently, they offer solutions such as complaining to the police, taking revenge or leaving them men, who are either their husbands, fathers or brothers – with no exceptions.

One such case involved a woman whose husband allegedly had beaten her. Without revealing the husband’s reasons for doing so, such human rights organizations immediately urged the wife to complain to the police and the courts, while at the same time generalizing the instance and other similar solutions to any type of violence.

If a man and woman are husband and wife, the Qur’an provides solutions, firstly reaffirming any logical and acceptable reasons for such punishment. These solutions are in gradual phases and not just for women, but for men also.

For men, it begins with abandoning the marital bed, by opting to sleep elsewhere in the house. After this, they may discuss the matter with any respected person for the husband’s or the wife’s family, who could be in a position to advise the wife. If this also does not work, then the husband yields to beating the wife slightly. They do this because of a misunderstanding in the Quran, as the word says Darban, which is commonly understood today as beating. However, in Classic Arabic it means to set examples or to announce and proclaim. The more accurate meaning of this last one is that the husband finally has to set forth, to make a clear statement or proclamation, and if these measures fail, then divorce is preferable.

Similarly, wives may take actions such as abandoning the marital bed, following by leaving the husband’s home for that of their parents, brothers or any other relatives. They may do this more than once, but if such action fails, they may not continue to live with their husband and via their relatives, they may request a divorce.

Despite such instructions, beating is considered a type of violence, according to human rights organizations, which urge women to complain to the police. I just wonder what kind of families our societies would have if Muslim women started doing this regarding their husbands.

Relationships between fathers and daughters or sisters and brothers also provoke argument from human rights organizations, which propose the suggested solutions for all relationships. Personally, I don’t think fathers or brothers would undertake such behavior unless there was a reason for it.

Fathers are responsible for their daughters’ behavior, but human rights organizations deny this too. Brothers also should take action regarding their sisters’ behavior, especially if their parents are too old or dead. If a daughter or sister makes a mistake – especially a moral one – that negatively affects the entire family and its reputation, what’s the solution by such organizations?

According to them, women should complain to the courts about any type of violence against them. Likewise, should fathers and brothers complain to police if their daughters or sisters violate moral, Islamic or social norms?

Fathers should handle their daughters via any means that suits their mistake; thus, is it better to use violence to a certain limit or complain to the police? Shall such women then complain to the police against their fathers or brothers? It’s really amazing to hear this.

In some cases, violence is necessary, but there must be limits. Those “good human rights organizations” don’t make any exceptions in their solutions because their aim is to serve society. Will it be a better society once we see wives, mothers, sisters and daughters going from one police station and one court to another, complaining against their husbands, fathers, brothers and even sons?

As the proverb goes, “If the speaker is mad, the listener should be mindful.” This proverb is good advice for every man and woman not only to keep their ears open, but also to avoid the misleading propaganda of such organizations, whose surface aims hide other destructive ones to destroy society’s religious, social and moral norms. This matter requires consideration.

Dear readers – especially women – don’t think that I hate or am against women; rather, I simply mean to preserve the morals and principles with which Islam has honored us.

I hope my message is clear, since it’s really quite relevant to the future of our societies, which must be protected from any kind of cultural invasion.
Here we see justifications for wife beating, honor killings and child abuse, all in the name of "preserving morals."

The author is too obtuse to ask whether, using his exact logic, women have the right to use violence against men who are straying from their upstanding, Islamic character or otherwise violating "social norms."

UPDATE: I didn't see that Jihad Watch had already taken this article apart very nicely.