“Not fulfilling the etiquettes”
Posted on October 13, 2010
“Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed is the president of the Islamic Sharia Council. A softly spoken elderly man with the manner of a kindly grandfather, he is far removed from a firebrand radical Islamic preacher – indeed, he is nothing of the sort.
But sitting in a small office at the al-Tawhid Mosque in East London, where the Council’s sessions had been relocated while its nearby headquarters were renovated (the Council has now moved back), I asked Sheikh Sayeed whether he considered non-consensual marital sex to be rape.
“No,” he replied. “Clearly there cannot be any ‘rape’ within the marriage. Maybe ‘aggression’, maybe ‘indecent activity’.”
He said it was “not Islamic” to classify non-consensual marital sex as rape and prosecute offenders, adding that “to make it exactly as the Western culture demands is as if we are compromising Islamic religion with secular non-Islamic values.”
Sheikh Sayeed went on to say:
“of course it is bad, one should not jump on his wife as and when he desires” – but he said that it was wrong to prosecute it as rape:
“It is not an aggression, it is not an assault, it is not some kind of jumping on somebody’s individual right. Because when they got married, the understanding was that sexual intercourse was part of the marriage, so there cannot be anything against sex in marriage. Of course, if it happened without her desire, that is no good, that is not desirable. But that man can be disciplined and can be reprimanded.”
And it gets even more depressing:
“By contrast, he said the prosecution of marital rape was due to misguided Western values: “Why it is happening in this society is because they have got this idea of so-called equality, equal rights. And they are misusing these equal rights in every single aspect of human conduct. That’s why. It is one aggression against another, and that is bigger aggression against minor one.
I asked Sheikh Sayeed what he considered to be the “bigger aggression”.
“To call it rape. Rape is a criminal offence in this country; man will end up in prison for three, five years or more.”
So the non-consensual sex is the minor aggression, and calling it rape is the major aggression?
Why is calling it rape a major aggression?
“Because within the marriage contract it is inherent there that man will have sexual intercourse with his wife. Of course, if he does something against her wish or in a bad time etc, then he is not fulfilling the etiquettes, not that he is breaching any code of sharia – he is not coming to that point. He may be disciplined, and he may be made to ask forgiveness. That should be enough.”
I’ve written here before about the nonsensical belief that a husband has any kind of “right” to expect sex from his wife, so I’m not going to repeat myself except to say: the marital rape exemption was done away with in this country in 1992 ffs! (Interestingly though, that post is currently the third most popular post on this blog, and it’s still getting plenty of hits, mainly from google searches such as “How do I say no to my husband?” and “Husband wants too much sex” – which suggests to me this is still a significant issue in many women’s lives.)
And I’ll also say this. The rape laws in this country apply to everyone, including to those who would prefer to live under Sharia. If your husband rapes you, whether he’s a Muslim, a Christian, a Sikh or a sodding Humanist, you have the right to report his crime, yes, his “crime”, not his “breach of “etiquette” or whatever other weasely worded expression rape apologists want to employ, to the appropriate authorities. It doesn’t matter what Sheikh Sayeed, or your Pastor, or your Imam, or your Priest, or your Rabbi says: UK law takes precedence over any other legal system in this country, and that includes over religious law.
Some useful sites: