Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Swedish Mosques Tell Women "Don't Report Abusive Husbands"

According to a Sveriges Television (SVT) undercover investigative report on Swedish mosques, six out of ten told women to shut up about domestic abuse and said polygamy was acceptable. SVT sent off two women (along with hidden video cameras) to pose as abused wives for the programme "Uppdrag granskning". They were tasked with finding out the mosques' position on domestic abuse, marital rape and polygamy, posing as women with those various problems. Those six mosques told both of the women to not report the abuse to police and that they should have sex with their men regardless of whether they wanted to or not. Only two mosques advised the women to report the abuse, and only one mosque said that polygamy was not allowed, given Swedish laws against multiple marriages.
Of course, Hanne Josefsson (the host of the television programme), got very different responses from two of the mosques.

The chair of the Islamic Association in Uppsala claimed in the story that people should follow Swedish law.

When confronted by what the imam at the Uppsala mosque told the women, the Islamic leader explained that the imam had expressed his personal opinion in urging the women to forgive their abusive husbands rather than report them to police.

The imam with whom the woman met at the mosque in Stockholm defended polygamy and also advised against filing a police report about husbands who beat them.

He suggested instead that the women try to show their husbands more love.

"Don't refuse to give him love, because then he might change," said the imam.

Upon seeing the SVT report, however, the board of the Islamic Association in Stockholm (Islamiska förbundet Stockholm) decided to suspend the imam immediately and launch an internal investigation.

"This is a clear breach of Swedish law and they commit professional misconduct in their capacities as imams and associations," Mohammad Fazlhashemi, a professor and author of books on Muslim intellectual history, told the TT news agency.

Fazlhashemi, who also appears in the SVT report, has reviewed a written transcript of the advice given to the women.

"What these men are saying to the woman violates their human rights. The men demean and insult the women when they say 'you need to tolerate that these men hit you'," said Fazlhashemi.

He is highly critical of the imams featured in the SVT report for not following Swedish law.

"Considering the fact that the mosques have received state funding, they have also committed to following Swedish law and the basic principles of democracy," he said.

Fazlhashemi describes the Muslim leaders featured in the piece as "conservative, letter of the law traditionalists".

"Now it's time for some housecleaning. They need to weed out the bad seeds," he said.

Fazlhashemi, who is also a Muslim, expressed concerns that such outdated mosque representatives benefit Muslim-haters and the far-right Sweden Democrats.

"They confirm the negative picture of Muslims. It's a real shame that they confirm the prejudices that Islamophobes have," he said.

We wouldn't have those prejudices, if this kind of  behaviour didn't exist. This is probably going on behind mosque walls all over the West, and more than likely in England, where Sharia law is allowed.

Here's a more detailed account of the programme "Uppdrag granskning" (Assignment Investigate).

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