Disciplinary wives council
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The increasingly urgent question, however, is not just how the verse might be being interpreted, but how it is being taught. For Danny Mikati, it underscores the importance of comprehensive family violence training, which he said had only recently begun to resonate with sheikhs in New South Wales. The question for modern Muslims, she said, is "what do they want this verse to mean? Progressives like Sheikh Alaa, meanwhile, say it should be read in context with the Koran's broader messages of justice and peace, and the example of the Prophet who, they claim, "never hit a woman".
It doesn't make sense to Sheikh Alaa that god would allow a man to beat his wife to fix a problem Disciplinary wives council his marriage. But after spending more than a year talking to Australian Muslims about this question it has become clear that imams are, in fact, divided, while key leaders have continually refused to engage at all.
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Sitting in a small, modestly furnished room at the Heidelberg mosque in Melbourne's northeast one recent Friday afternoon, Sheikh Alaa El Zokm's brow furrowed as he recalled how, during a talk he was giving on domestic violence, a young Muslim woman had nervously raised her hand. Just weeks earlier, Keysar Trad, then-president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, had suggested in an interview on Sky News that his religion allows husbands to beat their wives as a "last resort " after having engaged in counselling, though he quickly apologised for what he described as a "clumsy attempt" to explain a verse from the Koran.
There are a lot of different "view points" on the correct interpretation ofthe worker said, "but let's sit down and have the conversation. The requirement that Islam must mould to the local culture is on the agenda of some overseas institutions. For this reason, Dr Ozalp said, there is a need for greater investment in Islamic scholarship here. Uncertainty over how the verse should be understood has persisted since last April, when the Women of Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, a radical Islamic group, posted a video on Facebook in which two hijabi women claimed the Koran permits men to hit disobedient wives — gently, using small sticks or pieces of fabric.
A scholar who lives and is educated in Disciplinary wives council Muslim-majority country like Pakistan, for instance, will necessarily interpret the Koran differently to scholars in western countries. This rule, though, is not always followed. Not harsh. More than any other passage in the Koran it has been a thorn in the side of domestic violence workers and women's rights activists, who say it is fuelling abuse in Muslim communities and dissuading victims from seeking help.
During his eight-year stint as a domestic violence prevention officer with Bankstown police, Danny Mikati would regularly challenge Muslim men who defended abusing their wife by claiming their religion allowed it. In a rare move infor instance, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada issued a fatwaed by 34 member imams, stating that honour killings, misogyny and domestic violence were "un-Islamic actions and crimes in Islam".
'we need to be strategic about what we say in public'
A husband, the council reportedly said, should be allowed to "lightly beat his wife" if, among other reasons, "she defies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires" or "turns down demand of intercourse without any religious excuse". So basically if he walks in and finds his wife having an affair Other imams, she added, "have said, 'Well, it [hitting] should be tokenistic; a husband can use a toothbrush or a scarf and cannot leave any marks or bruising — it's just to show that you are upset.
So then what should that conversation look like? Now a new generation of faith leaders is working to undo the damage.
When ABC News first began reporting this series 18 months ago, questions about the links between and family violence were swiftly shut down by experts and imams alike — partly out of fear that simply raising the issue would invite or prolong sensationalist media coverage and unwanted scrutiny on Muslim communities, who already feel under siege. Other articles in this series have examined Islam and Islamic divorcemainstream Protestant denominationsthe Catholic ChurchChristian clergy wivesHindu and Sikh communitiesand Jewish divorce laws. As one professional Muslim woman told ABC News, "We need to maintain functional relationships with these men, so we need to be strategic about what we say in public.
In response, he said, most men would "shut up". Faith leaders "absolutely" have a responsibility to discuss with their communities, said Sheikh Alaa — to stress that it should never be used to Disciplinary wives council violence.
Many Muslim majority states — including the UAE and Egypt — give permission in their legal codes for husbands to physically discipline wives. He does this, he said, because he's seen first-hand the devastation domestic violence is causing his community, and feels compelled to intervene. It was something I really focused on because I wanted to be able to show that they were doing a disservice not only to their wife and family but to their faith, and to their community. Conservative or traditional scholars argue should be read literally, and it gives men authority and disciplinary privileges over wives: beating is permitted as a "last resort" in response to what they consider to be very serious transgressions, perhaps adultery.
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For years I took it literally, I believed he had the right, that I deserved it. The president of the Australian National Imams Council, Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman, has also refused to respond to repeated requests for comment over the past six months, including on his remarks that Disciplinary wives council have the right to forbid wives from leaving or working outside the home, including going into the backyard to "put up the laundry".
Advocates have told ABC News a ificant of imams in Australia — many of whom have been educated in overseas institutions that champion patriarchal interpretations of Islam — are telling followers that does allow men to physically discipline wives. Though scholars are divided on several points — including the correct English translation of the Arabic word wa-dribuhunna, which has been translated as "beat them" and "strike them", but also "separate" and "go away" from them — the verse states that a rebellious woman should first be admonished by her husband, then abandoned in bed and, finally, if her disobedience continues, beaten.
For them, the verse is a three-step process for addressing a wife's arrogance, or disrespect, toward her husband: couples should first discuss their concerns, separate from the marital bed and, finally, walk away or separate from one another. What is also needed now, survivors and advocates say, is for Australia's most senior scholars and spiritual leaders to break their silence and provide clarity onas clerics in other western countries have done.
Islamic legal pronouncements and interpretations rely on the scholar having a "deep understanding" of the society in which they live, and should always be relevant Disciplinary wives council and reflective of the local culture, said Mehmet Ozalp, the founding director of the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation at Charles Sturt University. Of course, it's not only a scholarly or theoretical debate.
You make the organisations run, not the men. But scholars in the 20th and 21st centuries — a growing of whom are women — have increasingly begun to interpret it in line with their expectations for it to uphold messages of gender equality. But Dr Chaudhry argues that men in power must also "use some of their privilege to lose it" and make space for women's voices and leadership.
They've got a lot of lobbying power, and they should use it.
But for the past year, the year-old, Egyptian-born imam has been delivering a series of lectures — at mosques, Muslim community events, universities and Christian churches — in a bid to correct "misunderstandings" and promote respectful relationships. Danny Mikati agrees. The religious edict, which was made a week after a Montreal couple and their son were convicted of killing four female relativessought to promote respectful relationships by countering misinterpretations of the Koran, in particular The "correct translation", the Council ruled, requires that husbands not "become violent", but cite "disloyal" wives to authority.
Architecturally, the mosque represents patriarchy: the main prayer hall belongs to the men, and women have the marginal spaces Ultimately, she added, "men who are allies have to divest from the spaces that give them authority in order to make those spaces more inclusive. Sheikh Alaa nodded sympathetically, he said, and offered gentle counselling about how Islam "honours women", and the importance of love and kindness in marriage.
Now, a new generation of imams is defying the status quo and speaking out to promote non-violent readings of in the hope they might undo the damage done by decades of silence. As one Muslim family violence worker in Melbourne told ABC News: "The repercussions of having people in authority basically give permission for violent and controlling behaviour has a ripple effect — it weighs down not only on families but communities as a whole.
Disciplinary wives council Australia, however, there has been almost no discussion.
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These places still have historic appeal, but we need to provide equal or better Disciplinary wives council of Islamic education in Australia. The recently-divorced mother from Melbourne endured decades of physical, emotional and financial abuse by her husband, who she said would spit at her to justify his authority. In other words, when women read, they interpret differently.
But experts say many imams today still cling to a conservative, classical Islam that upholds men's authority over women. Updated August 29, Some imams in Australia still teach that the Koran permits husbands to beat their wives, with police reporting Muslim men are citing scripture to justify abuse.
A decade ago a report by the Islamic Women's Welfare Council of Victoria claimed Muslim faith leaders were ill-equipped to respond to complex modern problems including marriage, divorce and domestic abuse, and that some were conducting illegal polygamous marriages, or obstructing police from pursuing domestic violence charges.
For decades has been the source of intense debate over whether and to what extent Islam sanctions men's authority over and hitting of women.
It should not cause pain. Some imams, he added, had learnt the hard way that domestic violence cannot be dealt with simply by bringing an abusive husband and his wife together for counselling. Religious scholars in the pre-colonial period, she said, expected the Koran to support a patriarchal structure of marriage and could make a persuasive case that it did.
Disciplinary wives council inan anti-domestic violence bill in Pakistan was deemed "un-Islamic" by the Council of Islamic Ideology, which advises legislators on sharia matters. But advocates say the silence around the issue is only making it more difficult for victims to seek help.
A statement ed by more than 30 Muslim figuresincluding a handful of clerics, asserted that, "Islam categorically prohibits and denounces the abuse of women" and " And yet it did not specifically address the questions and confusion surrounding How should it be interpreted?
It can be very dangerous if he says something that is not right. Some Muslim leaders went into damage controlinsisting such views Disciplinary wives council a "minority opinion" within Islam in Australia, and that it "should be made very clear to all Muslims" that there is never any justification for violence against women. And, in the absence of any clear instruction from the country's most senior Islamic scholars, including the Grand Mufti, the consequences can be brutal, with police reporting that Muslim men are frequently citing scripture as justification for their abuse.
Islamic scholarship, frequently tangled up in the politics of colonialism, can be complex, not only because it requires proficiency in Arabic language and grammar. The fact that a sheikh had even broached the issue of domestic abuse and Koran in public is highly unusual; most Muslim leaders in Australia shy away from discussing it, partly to avoid the controversy it inevitably sparks.
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Women, too, are prone to tip-toeing around the verse: the fear that they might be seen as criticising or challenging all-male imams' authority is a strong deterrent, particularly for those who work in the family violence sector. She might have fled the relationship sooner, she said, had she received different advice from faith leaders.
But while it has issued detailed statements clarifying the Islamic position on homosexuality "homosexuality is a forbidden action; a major sin and anyone who partakes in it is considered a disobedient servant to Allah that will acquire His displeasure and disapproval"no such advice has been forthcoming on In Sheikh Alaa's experience, women — regardless of whether they've experienced abuse — crave clarity on Partly for this reason he's about to start delivering a pre-marriage course at his mosque, "to qualify for the couple that they need to treat each other with kindness".
As the Disciplinary wives council force behind so many community initiatives, he said, "Women need to start being less merciful to the organisations, to the men, when they're ignored. Koran can be read both ways, said Ayesha S. Chaudhry, an associate professor of Islamic and gender studies at the University of British Columbia — as either sanctioning violence against wives, or as prescribing a peaceful strategy for resolving marital conflict — it just depends on who's reading it.
At the same time, he added, many leaders are unqualified in Islamic scholarship, and simply parrot literal translations they've picked up. Most would refer not to their apparent licence to "beat lightly", Mr Mikati said, but to "the authority endowed upon a man and the requirement for a woman to be obedient".
She was terrified of getting married, she told him, because her husband might interpret verse 34 of chapter four in the Koran as some other men did: as a licence to treat his wife badly and perhaps, if she disobeyed him, beat her up. And why do so many faith leaders refuse to weigh in? Why is there such disagreement among Muslims over its meaning and application? He recalls having to attend one such "mediation" session where Disciplinary wives council sheikh and the victim's elderly father who'd been there to support his daughter were both punched in the face by her violent husband, who was charged.
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In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints LDS Churcha church membership council formerly called a disciplinary council  is an ecclesiastical event during which a church member's status is considered, typically for alleged violations of church standards.