It’s OK to Beat Your Wife or Children in UAE – Just Don’t Leave a Mark

26 10 2010

The highest judicial body in the United Arab Emirates, which has the seventh largest oil reserves in the world, borders on Saudi Arabia, and includes Dubai, says it’s okay to beat your wife and young children…just don’t leave a mark. Here’s the short article about it from the Huffington Post:

Dubai in the UAE - Credit: Neil Emmerson/Getty Images

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The UAE’s highest judicial body says a man can beat his wife and young children as long as the beating leaves no physical marks.

The decision by the Federal Supreme Court shows the strong influence of Islamic law in the Emirates despite its international appeal in which foreign residents greatly outnumber the local population.

The court made the ruling earlier this month in the case of a man who left cuts and bruises on his wife and adult daughter after a beating.

It says the man was guilty of harming the women but noted that Islamic codes allow for “discipline” if no marks are left. It also says children who have reached “adulthood” – approximately puberty – cannot be struck.

The ruling was reported Monday in the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National.

You’re probably feeling outraged, right? Of course. We live in a “civilized” society and can’t imagine our Supreme Court saying it’s okay for men to beat their wives and children as long as no physical mark is left on them. It is outrageous. Men are allowed to treat women and children in the UAE and in so many countries in the world however they please and women have few rights. And this is a RELIGION saying it is okay to “discipline” them if you don’t leave marks. Is this really the way that God wants women and children to be treated?

We can sit here in moral outrage because this is Islam and somewhere far away, but these things happen right here in the United States and are sanctioned by Christianity (remember the verse about spare the rod, spoil the child?). I wrote a post called Kids in School: Getting an Education Plus a Beating about how school children in the United States are beaten with barbaric looking paddles in schools…and often for things as benign as being late to class or chewing gum. Corporal punishment of children by parents has been banned in 29 countries, including 22 in Europe, but is still legal in all 50 states in the United States. In our country, if a child has physical marks from being beaten and someone alerts social services, the parents may suffer some consequences, but if the parents are able to cover it up, they may get away with it.

So are we any better than the United Arab Emirates? We still legally condone children being beaten in schools in 21 states and at home in all 50 states and often these beatings leave horrible marks (even from school beatings) and cause children to be aggressive and to have psychological problems. This is legally-condoned assault on children. We have a culture where people are becoming more aware of the horrors that women suffer when they are beaten by husbands or boyfriends, but still men crack jokes about “slapping her around” to friends.

When will women and children in the United States and around the world really be treated equally? Why aren’t they now? Men overwhelmingly make and enforce laws in our country and in other countries. We need more men to stand for and with women and children and protect them. No schoolteacher, husband, boyfriend, father, or any man has a right to hit a child or woman. Women and children don’t need to be “disciplined” through hitting; they need to be loved.



5 responses

27 10 2010
World Wide News Flash

It's OK to Beat Your Wife or Children in UAE ? Just Don't Leave a ……

I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

20 07 2011

Awesome post. Thanks for the read.

17 01 2012

I just randomly stumbled upon this and the title really caught my eyes so I continued reading.
I am a Muslim young woman and I just wanted to clarify a few things about my religion. It does not allow or in any way support the beating of children as a form of disciplinary action contrary to what many claim. I would not follow a religion that would do that. People unfortunately often misunderstand the concepts laid by some religions and that sadly seems to be the case in some Arab countries today.
Also, despite the common belief that Islam strips women off many of their rights that is not true at all. Before the existence of Islam in Arab countries, baby girls were buried alive (a practice common in other countries at the time too), women were enslaved and raped, but Islam put an end to this long before any constitution did so. Even the act of covering one’s hair and body, often related to Islamic culture, was suggested as a form of protection for women.
Yes, our women seldom appear as independent as women seen in Western cultures but I assure you they are respected in many ways by men in various cultures, especially Islamic. It is a sad reality that only the terrible stories like the one you’ve mentioned above that make it to the media.

I do not mean any harm by this post, I merely wanted to clarify the image people often have of Muslim women and Islamic policy. I hope I did not sound too defensive.

17 09 2012
Natalia Tessa

Both my children and I agree that we need to make legal changes in this country of ours – that children who are being hit (marks or not) are protected and that regardless of whether they are in divorced families that their voices are heard and they are believed and protected. Too often, children’s complaints of abuse are dismissed because the abuser says that either the child is making it up or the non-abusive parent is alienating the child. Even CPS will tell you that without bruises… It’s the parent’s choice to discipline their child and they can hit their child wherever they want.
My daughter has written a letter to the president on her own behalf, asking for the laws to be changed so that her, her brother and any other kid who has parents who hit will be protected.
Thank you for posting on this important issue. If we want to stop violent acts – we need to get to the root of the problem and stop teaching children violence at such very young, impressionable, fragile ages.

15 03 2013

Sahar is absolutely wrong in her claim that Islam does not allow or in any way support child beating as a form of discipline. Fact: hitting children is religiously mandated in Islam by THE PROPHET HIMSELF : “The Prophet said: ‘Command your children to pray when they reach the age of seven and HIT THEM if they if they do not do so by the age of ten…’ ” (Abu-Dawud, Book 2 on Prayer, Hadith 0494). There are other venerated Islamic sources, like the Umdat Al-Salik, that also sanction child beating, not to mention fatwas. She writes that she would not follow a religion that would do that. So which religion is it that she follows?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: