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article imageRape within marriage should not be crime, says leading UK cleric

By Andrew John     Oct 14, 2010 in Crime
Rape, if committed within a marriage, should not be considered a crime, according to a Muslim cleric in the United Kingdom.
Rape within marriage has been a crime in the country since 1991, but, according to the Independent: “Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, president of the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain, said that men who rape their wives should not be prosecuted because ‘sex is part of marriage’. And he claimed that many married women who alleged rape were lying.”
The paper says some senior police officers are claiming that Sayeed’s words are undermining the work police do to try to get women to report marital rape.
The Independent relates comments that Sayeed made to the blog The Samosa.
In that blog article, the author, Chaminda Jayanetti, put to Sayeed the question of whether he considered “non-consensual marital sex to be rape”.
Sayeed answered: “No. Clearly there cannot be any ‘rape’ within the marriage. Maybe ‘aggression’, maybe ‘indecent activity’.”
The blog article continues: “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’.”
Sayeed continues: “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.”
Misguided Western values
But the perpetrator should not be prosecuted for rape, says Sayeed.
Prosecuting rape within marriage was due to misguided Western values, he claimed. “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.”
Sayeed came to Britain from Bangladesh in 1977, five years before the Islam Sharia Council was established.
The Independent article quotes Inayat Bunglawala, chairman of Muslims4UK, as saying: “Sheikh Sayeed’s comments are woefully misguided and entirely inappropriate. Rape – whether within marriage or outside it – is an abominable act and is clearly against the law.”
More about Marital rape, Rape within marriage, Islamic, Islam, Muslim
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