Friday, May 27, 2016

Pakistani Husbands Can 'Lightly Beat' Their Wives, Islamic Council Says

When Pakistan's most populated province approved a law this year that gives women protection - and a potential escape - from abusive husbands, the country's powerful Council of Islamic Ideology strongly opposed the move.

The council, also known as the CII and made up of Islamic clerics and scholars who advise Pakistani legislators, said it was "un-Islamic" for women to leave an abusive relationship and seek refuge in a shelter.

Before the bill is expanded from Punjab to other areas of Pakistan, the council said it wanted to weigh in with its own proposal. A draft of the proposal is now complete, and reads like an appalling misprint -- husbands should be allowed to "lightly beat" their wives, the CII recommends.

"A husband should be allowed to lightly beat his wife if she defies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires; turns down demand of intercourse without any religious excuse or does not take bath after intercourse or menstrual periods," the report states, according to Pakistan's Express-Tribune newspaper.

Reached by phone, a CII official confirmed the report to The Washington Post, but stressed that some changes could still be made to the document before it is forwarded to lawmakers for review.

Currently, Pakistan's domestic violence abuse laws are vague, although prosecution even in the most heinous cases has been rare.

The CII, which claims that its recommendations are based on Koranic teachings and Sharia law, also seeks to legalize domestic violence if a woman refuses to cover her head or face in public, "interacts with strangers; speaks loud enough that she can easily be heard by strangers; and provides monetary support to people without taking consent of her spouse," the Express-Tribune reported.

While the recommendations are non-binding, the 163-page documents does provide a window into how the most conservative strains of Islam still view the role of women.

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