Muslims speak up about domestic violence

Other News Materials 21 February 2008 08:17 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Women and children are beaten by their menfolk in homes across Australia. Mostly the spur to domestic violence is alcohol but sometimes cultural mores are at work that allow men to excuse their behaviour.

"They view wives and daughters as an extension of their honour and when they deviate from what they would view as accepted ... they see it as an undermining of their own status," said Sydney psychiatrist Tanveer Ahmed.

He was talking about violence in Muslim homes and commenting specifically on a call from the Muslim Women's National Network Australia (MWNNA) to tackle those in the community who use religion to justify domestic violence.

"It's a real problem," MWNNA president Aziza Abdel-Halim told The Sydney Morning Herald. "There's wife beating, there's children beating. Some of them go to the extent of forbidding the woman to leave the home."

Ahmed said Muslim victims of domestic violence were reluctant to go to the police. If they went to the imam of their mosque, he was likely to side with the perpetrator.

"Very rarely would you get the imam trying to punish the man," he said. "They'll see it more as, if not culturally appropriate, then culturally understandable."