President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage


by Sunny
13th October, 2010 at 10:30 am    

This is astounding. The excellent blog The Samosa have done an interview with the head of the UK’s Islamic Sharia Council, Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed. Note – this isn’t an official body, they just call themselves that. Nevertheless, they do handle case where both parties have agreed to have their civil dispute dealt with by a Shariah court in the UK.

Chaminda Jayanetti reports:

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.”

The Islamic Sharia Council handles very few cases of alleged marital rape – Sheikh Sayeed said there had only been two or three such cases since the Council was founded in 1982. It is therefore unlikely that the Council’s views on this issue, or those of Sheikh Sayeed himself, directly impact upon a significant number of marital rape victims.

He claims there have only been two or three cases, but there may have been more, which are quietly buried. And this is the problem I have with Shariah courts: unless they at least mirror national criminal and civil law on the important issues, there will be abuses like this.

A Muslim woman raped within marriage, especially one afraid to go to the police or to courts, could be pressured to just go to a Sharia court where the offence may be buried. And who would know or do anything about it?

Sayeed goes on to say:

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’m sorry but regardless of his interpretation of Islamic law – British law is clear that even within marriage, a man does not have automatic right to have non-consensual sex with his wife. Such a stance is in blatant contradiction of British law. The head of the Sharia Council needs to resign.


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  1. sunny hundal

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  2. Boris Watch

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  3. Pavitar Mann

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  4. Mark Thomas

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  5. Mike Lovell

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  6. Ceehaitch

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  7. kellystanley

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  8. hapi

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  9. Mo

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  10. Bod Is A DJ

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  11. jim bonner

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  12. jackie

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  13. Martin

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  14. Mark Lockstone

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  15. MJ

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  16. Aisling Canton

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  17. Molly Coddle

    RT @NikNoCee: RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  18. Stephen Ball

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  19. Rachael Power

    RT: Disgusting. @sunny_hundal President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  20. Bridgey Lady

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  21. Bainsy

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  22. Alex

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  23. andrew dallin

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  24. David Phillips

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  25. Stew Wilson

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  26. earwicga

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  27. Iain

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  28. Niall Millar

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  29. Mel B

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  30. Press Not Sorry

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  31. Steve Hynd

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  32. SarfLondonman

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  33. Nathan Walker

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  34. CathElliott

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  35. CathElliott

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  36. Anna

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  37. Anna

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  38. Michael Winter

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  39. Michael Winter

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  40. Heresiarch

    Rowan Williams care to comment? RT @sunny_hundal: President of Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  41. Heresiarch

    Rowan Williams care to comment? RT @sunny_hundal: President of Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  42. Greig Byrne

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  43. Gus

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  44. gerry byrne

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  45. gareth

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  46. Crispin Crispian

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  47. Brendan Casey

    RT @sunny_hundal Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  48. Dawn Bates

    the ignorance which destroys the perception of Islam. – any wonder it's seen as an awful faith http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/10454


  49. Shaheen Hashmat

    Ignorant fucking pigs like this make me remember what my life purpose is http://bit.ly/8XuSrh via @CathElliot @sunny_hundal


  50. Polly Dickerson

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  51. Ros Ball

    RT @CathElliott: Just appalling: RT @sunny_hundal: President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  52. “Not fulfilling the etiquettes” | Too Much To Say For Myself

    [...] Posted on October 13, 2010 by Cath Elliott| Leave a comment From The Samosa: (hat-tip to Sunny at Pickled Politics) “Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed is the president of the Islamic Sharia Council. A softly spoken [...]


  53. Audrey Johnson

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  54. Naam:????

    President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  55. Margaret Harrison

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  56. Ava Vidal

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  57. LouLouK

    Via @teetosugars tho I can't repeat that link http://bit.ly/9UDqvw "clearly there cannot be any 'rape' in marriage". Offered without comment


  58. Iain Collins

    RT @LouLouK: Via @teetosugars tho I can't repeat that link http://bit.ly/9UDqvw "clearly there cannot be any 'rape' in marriage". Offere …


  59. links for 2010-10-13 « Embololalia

    [...] Pickled Politics » President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriag… I’m sorry but regardless of his interpretation of Islamic law – British law is clear that even within marriage, a man does not have automatic right to have non-consensual sex with his wife. Such a stance is in blatant contradiction of British law. The head of the Sharia Council needs to resign. (tags: uk law religion islam sexual.violence patriarchy religion&state marriage) [...]


  60. Alex Hayton

    RT @sunny_hundal: Blogged: : President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  61. Clare Cochrane

    via @sunny_hundal: Sharia Council leader OK's rape in marriage http://bit.ly/bLTZ3P << & sunny's blogpost http://tinyurl.com/39u5cgu


  62. Richard Wilson

    RT @Heresy_Corner: Rowan Williams care to comment? RT @sunny_hundal: President of Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  63. David Carter

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  64. TenPercent

    RT @sunny_hundal: President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  65. Kate Williams

    RT @sunny_hundal: President of Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh < basic human rights denied


  66. Jolene Galbreath

    RT @Heresy_Corner: Rowan Williams care to comment? RT @sunny_hundal: President of Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage http://bit.ly/8XuSrh


  67. Islam Prohibits Dating « myownideasblog

    [...] “President of Islamic Sharia Council claims there ‘cannot’ be rape in marriage&#8… (pickledpolitics.com) [...]




  1. Rumbold — on 13th October, 2010 at 10:49 am  

    This is disgraceful. Thanks for flagging this up.

  2. Andy Gray — on 13th October, 2010 at 11:44 am  

    I think we need to lay to rest the tired notion that Muslim wives are browbeaten little creatures who would be afraid of going to the police over such an important issue. Please let’s credit them with a little sense and stop perpetuating the usual stereotypes.

  3. BenSix — on 13th October, 2010 at 11:55 am  

    Except that loads of domestic abuse does go unreported. That might sound condescending but – hey – it’s true!

  4. Rumbold — on 13th October, 2010 at 11:58 am  

    I am not sure what your point is: plenty of women are afraid of going to the police.

  5. reuben — on 13th October, 2010 at 12:00 pm  

    Ben six is right. Thank you for flagging this up sunny

  6. cjcjc — on 13th October, 2010 at 12:01 pm  

    “The head of the Sharia Council needs to resign.”

    And then the Sharia Council needs to disappear.

    I assume this is not what Rowan Williams had in mind?

  7. Eurasian Sensation — on 13th October, 2010 at 12:13 pm  

    Rape = “not fulfilling the etiquettes”.

    That is some f***ed up sh*t right there.

    “I think we need to lay to rest the tired notion that Muslim wives are browbeaten little creatures who would be afraid of going to the police over such an important issue.”
    Under-reporting of rape is chronically high amongst all victims, let alone Muslim. And I’d wager that someone stuck in an abusive marriage in which rape occurs is probably less likely to go to the police than would someone raped by a stranger or less intimate acquaintance.

  8. earwicga — on 13th October, 2010 at 12:14 pm  

    Don’t be stupid Andy Gray. The vast majority of rapes aren’t reported to the police. It is only you that has brought up the ‘usual stereotypes’.

  9. Sarah AB — on 13th October, 2010 at 12:23 pm  

    I completely agree that it’s a good post on an important issue – but I do think it’s worth remembering that marital rape didn’t exist as a crime in the UK until 1991. I realize this sounds like I want to excuse the comments using an argument based on cultural relativism – and I don’t, at all. I just think it is at least interesting, if nothing else, to reflect on how recently our own laws seemed to go along with such views.

  10. An Old Friend — on 13th October, 2010 at 1:02 pm  

    If Sheikh Sayeed reverses his positions and agrees that rape can exist in a marriage, how do you go about prosecuting the rapes? How do you gather evidence? It is a he says she says situation. Its a good thing the civil courts and civil society are likely to view a non white man as a rapist so there may be some justice here.

  11. boyo — on 13th October, 2010 at 1:06 pm  

    I don’t really understand your piont – it’s a separate court with separate laws/ rulings. So what if it’s incompatible with your belief system. If people enter into it with free will… Isn’t that what you always tell everyone else?

  12. damon — on 13th October, 2010 at 1:30 pm  

    This is astounding.

    Why? It’s what religions are like. The catholics are just as bad. If you don’t like it don’t join.

  13. Rumbold — on 13th October, 2010 at 1:30 pm  

    Boyo:

    Because some people are pressured into attending these courts instead of going before a proper one in order to ‘resolve’ their problems.

  14. Naadir Jeewa — on 13th October, 2010 at 2:05 pm  

    As Rowan Williams said, Shariah Law is OK to settle private civil disputes outside of British criminal law, and wherever there’s conflict between British law and Shariah Law, British Law always should prevail.

    This case makes clear that enforcement of British legal supremacy doesn’t work if minorities-of-minorities don’t have access to the full recourse of [British] law, and end up being dominated as a result.

  15. boyo — on 13th October, 2010 at 2:11 pm  

    “Because some people are pressured into attending these courts instead of going before a proper one in order to ‘resolve’ their problems.”

    Really? You don’t say. But I’m sure there are plenty of comprable injustices in the mainstream system. I think you and Sunny should just get over it, as I’ve frequently been told. You’ve made your bed.

  16. Dawn Bates — on 13th October, 2010 at 2:25 pm  

    This is the type of ignorant thinking that gives a bad perception of the religion.

    I do not care how “learned” he is, it clearly states in the Qur’aan that a man is not to hurt his wife or leave a mark on her body. (The “beating” of wives is commonly mistaken due to the misunderstanding of the Arabic word ‘strike’ – it actually means “to strike from the contract” as in divorce/legal terms, not to strike as in hit). It also states “those who are the best, are those that are best to their wives”, along with the instruction that Muslims should follow the laws of the country in which they live; something many Muslim leaders and Muslims like to forget.

    This kind of interpretation of the Qur’aan is very damaging and is not a true representation of the word of God. It is a cultural, tribal and dogmatic way of thinking and people like him should be removed from their posts of spokes people.

    Being a Muslim woman myself, I find his comments offensive and infuriating. As a woman who has been raped, prior to becoming a Muslim, I know how hard it is to report rape to the police, especially when you are not believed to have been raped in the first place due to the man involved being “such a nice man who would never do such a thing” whether he is a beard stroking, prayer beard twiddling Muslim or a good Christian lad from a good family.

  17. Chaminda — on 13th October, 2010 at 2:26 pm  

    @9 – no, that’s quite right, and I should have mentioned it in the story. If I understand correctly though, the British courts had been prosecuting marital rape already before that; 1991 merely formally confirmed what had been practised by judges already. Am I right?

  18. earwicga — on 13th October, 2010 at 2:29 pm  

    No I don’t think you should of Chaminda. How many stories include details of laws passed 19 years ago? Ending rape within marriage has been part of women’s campaigns for much longer than 19 years ago.

    Sarah AB’s comment has no bearing on the mysogyny of Maulana Abu Sayeed and his cohorts.

  19. cjcjc — on 13th October, 2010 at 2:53 pm  

    “Parallel” legal system based on unpleasant 7th century book produces ruling we don’t like.

    Who knew that could happen?

  20. Chaminda — on 13th October, 2010 at 3:02 pm  

    @18 – it’s about how information is used. Us ‘progressive’ types (for want of a thousand better words) won’t twist this into an anti-Muslim diatribe, but no doubt there are some who will. It’s not to justify the ISC’s position, but to pull EDL types down from the high horses they were about to climb on.

    “Sarah AB’s comment has no bearing on the mysogyny of Maulana Abu Sayeed and his cohorts”

    I doubt it was intended to

  21. Sunny — on 13th October, 2010 at 3:21 pm  

    Thanks for the comment Dawn – much appreciated.

  22. Sarah AB — on 13th October, 2010 at 5:16 pm  

    Chaminda – I had a quick glance at what led up to the change earlier and it seemed as though the change in the law reflected a growing reluctance, in practice, to make a distinction between marital rape and any other kind of rape although of course there are going to be problems proving a rape is really a rape if you are married to/living with the man in question. Most of the key cases seemed to involve people who were legally separated or at least living apart.

    Of course I think his views are completely deplorable. I hadn’t articulated to myself quite why I wanted to bring in the (fairly) recent UK position – but ‘to pull EDL types down from the high horses they were about to climb on’ sounds about right!

  23. halima — on 13th October, 2010 at 5:24 pm  

    “British law is clear that even within marriage, a man does not have automatic right to have non-consensual sex with his wife”

    Sunny, thanks for flagging this up. As Earwicga alludes, I remember being a student when British law in relation to marital rape changed. It wasn’t always the case that rape within a marriage was treated as ‘rape’ by the British police because the law was as ancient as this example. I was then, as I am now disgusted by such laws that allow for sexual violence to take place within marriage.

    The inference is that women are the property of men by agreeing to marry This is the reason I sometimes recoil at the idea of marriage itself.

    Some blurb on Marital rape in British law.

    Marital Rape

    “On the 23 October 1991 The Law Lords unanimously swept away the 250 – year – notion that women agree to sexual intercourse on marriage and cannot retract that consent. See Regina v R (Rape: Marital Exemption) The Times, 24 October 1991; (1992) Cr.App.R. 216 .
    The principle established by Chief Justice Hale in 1736 has finally been laid to rest. The rule can be traced back beyond Hale to St Augustine and possible before him. Sir Matthew Hale in his History of the Pleas of the Crown wrote: “But the husband cannot be guilty of Rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given herself up in this kind unto her husband which she cannot retract.”

    For many years after the publication of Hale’s work there appears to have been no substantive challenge until R v Clarke [1949] 2 ALL E.R.448.”

    That’s my lay reading, there may be others who can point to legal points.

    Laws need to change everywhere, and Sharia is facing a crisis just like other legal systems.

  24. Kamal — on 13th October, 2010 at 8:16 pm  

    This guy doesn’t know Islam

    The prophet (pbuh) said “let none of you fall on his wife like an animal.Let him send an envoy before cohabitation”
    Someone asked “what is that envoy O Prophet”
    He (pbuh) said “kisses and words of love”
    http://sexandromanceinislam.wordpress.com/2009/01/03/sexual-ettiquette-in-islam/

  25. platinum786 — on 14th October, 2010 at 9:47 am  

    I want to know what such a court is doing hearing cases of martial rape! It’s a kangaroo court, it has no powers to prosecute, it has no ability to investigate (a police force), it can’t enforce it’s sentences.

    It might be acceptable to go to a shariah court for a divorce (even those aren’t recognised in UK courts AFAIK), but rape?!

    All criminal offences should be dealt with by the British courts and under British law. The simple reason being, the British legal system has police officers, investigators, prisons etc.

  26. Cauldron — on 14th October, 2010 at 10:28 am  

    Have just googled this esteemed religious scholar. The Shrub Monkey blog seems to have the most prescient analysis of the fellow.

  27. Cauldron — on 14th October, 2010 at 10:46 am  

    Actually, if you check out the ISC’s website it all makes sense.

    I particularly enjoyed reading this roundabout justification of murder (further enlivened by some fabulous typos):

    http://www.islamic-sharia.org/general/want-to-leave-islam-and-marry-a-christian-2.html

  28. Shamit — on 14th October, 2010 at 10:52 am  

    Spot on Platinum 786.

  29. Soso — on 14th October, 2010 at 7:36 pm  

    This guy doesn’t know Islam

    Sure he does. Islam treats women like garbage.

    And by the way, not only is there no rape in marriage, there are no gays in Iran either!

    Islam is an insult to human intelligence, and the output of it’s “scholars”, “theologians” and “intellectuals” attest so eloquently to that assertion.

  30. platinum786 — on 15th October, 2010 at 9:16 am  

    I just checked out this Shariah councils website and who they “represent”, it turns out to be a dozen or so deoband Mosques from the look of things.

  31. ignored — on 20th October, 2010 at 5:23 pm  

    If only these Imams were as sensible as the Rabbis are

    Yosef: Gentiles exist only to serve Jews

    http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?ID=191782&R=R1

  32. ignored — on 20th October, 2010 at 5:25 pm  

    soso
    “Sure he does. Islam treats women like garbage.”

    says someone who wakes up every morning and says “Thank you G-d for not making me a gentile a woman or a slave”!!

    http://www.themodernreligion.com/w_main.htm

  33. africana — on 20th October, 2010 at 5:47 pm  

    yes, the same people who bemoan shariah law have little to say on halakha law which is further evidence of the fact that the edl and co.’s stance is nothing to do with our poor women (whom they probably beat black and blue when millwall loses) having burqa’s rammed down their throats and everything to do with unjustified hatred of islam.

  34. ignored — on 20th October, 2010 at 5:47 pm  

    Exactly africana! Same with halal meat (which they are against) vs Kosher meat (which they dont have a problem with)

  35. inders — on 23rd October, 2010 at 4:58 pm  

    Last I heard, rape wasn’t a civil matter anyway and therefore out of the jurisdiction of this body’s arbitration services.

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