Controversial Muslim women’s group hits back at Ben Fordham.
TODAY host Ben Fordham slammed a video appearing to give the green light to domestic violence against Muslim women. Now they’ve hit back.
Today Show presenter Ben Fordham has condemned hardline Muslim leaders for encouraging men to beat their wives with sticks.
Fordham’s live monologue on Thursday slammed radical Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir after two members of its female branch said domestic violence was a ‘beautiful blessing’.
A video posted on Facebook by the Muslim group members Atika Latifi and Sydney primary school teacher Reem Allouche said husbands should use a short stick called a ‘sivaak’ to harm their wives if they ‘disobey’ them or Allah.
‘Make no mistake, these views belong to some but not all followers of the Islamic faith,’ Fordham said.
‘But when you have people in positions of power spreading dangerous messages, it is important to call them out and make things crystal clear.
‘It’s never okay to hit your wife. Never. That’s called assault. If you hit a woman, you’re a coward. It’s not okay to hit your wife gently, or softly, or occasionally or any other way you want to spin it.
‘It’s assault. It’s illegal. It’s wrong.
‘And don’t dare try to downplay or downgrade the seriousness of this stuff by suggesting it’s acceptable to whack your wife with a small stick.
‘If you hit someone, anyone, with a stick, big or small, your guilty of assault.
‘Stop it. Just stop. We have young Muslim women growing up in this country and they need to know they have the same rights as anyone else.
‘They live in Australia. And that means they can wear what they want, they can marry who they want to marry and they can do what they want to do.
‘They don’t need these so-called leaders telling them they’re punching bags.’
Fordham’s strong words came in response to a video posted online by Hizb ut-Tahrir which told Muslim women to accept beatings from their husbands.
In a video of the debate, which has been posted on Facebook, Ms Allouche says men should use the sivaak to punish their wives.
She then uses one of the sticks to hit Ms Latifi while the pair laugh.
Other permissible methods to punish women involve using a twisted scarf or piece of fabric, the women say.
Ms Allouche says the act is ‘symbolic’, while Ms Latifi claims it’s ‘a beautiful blessing’.
The women agree that they should only be beaten if they are caught ‘committing sin’ – pointing out that this means seriously disrespecting Allah or their husbands.
‘Disobedience to the husband. Immoral acts or cheating. Admitting anyone to the home that the husband doesn’t like,’ Ms Latifi explains.
Ms Allouche smiles as she adds that does not mean a man can beat his wife simply for not cooking dinner, with the women agreeing that violence should only be used to ‘promote tranquility’.
The pair agree that men have the right to beat their wives because husbands take a ‘leadership’ position within the family.
The federal government slammed the ‘abhorrent’ video, with Minister for Women Michaelia Cash saying domestic violence had ‘no place’ in Australia.
The government considered banning Hizb ut-Tahrir in 2007 but eventually deemed it to be a political group.
Islamic leader Keysar Trad apologised at the weekend for saying hitting women was a ‘last resort’, admitting to Sky News presenter Andrew Bolt that he had made a ‘slip up’.