Wednesday, January 14, 2004

BBC - Imam Rapped for Wife-Beating Book

Now here's a real test of one's commitment to the principle of free speech.

A Muslim cleric who wrote a book that advised men how to beat up their wives without leaving incriminating marks has been sentenced by a Spanish court.

Mohamed Kamal Mustafa was given 15 months in jail, which he will not serve as Spanish law suspends sentences of under two years for first offences.

Mustafa's book, Women in Islam, sparked outrage among women's groups when it was published three years ago.

In his defence, the imam said he was interpreting passages from the Koran.

A jury in Barcelona found Mustafa guilty of inciting violence against women, lawyer Jose Luis Bravo told reporters.

He was also fined euros 2,160 ($2,735).

Removed

In his book, Mustafa wrote that in disciplining a disobedient wife: "The blows should be concentrated on the hands and feet using a rod that is thin and light so that it does not leave scars or bruises on the body."

[............]

The book incensed women's groups and, in July 2000, around 90 groups filed a lawsuit in a Barcelona court to have the book withdrawn.

The book - some 3,000 copies of which had already been distributed - was removed from Islamic cultural centres around Spain.

Needless to say, my sympathies are entirely with the critics of this so-called "Imam", but having said that, I still think it abominable that Spain should think this sort of thing worthy of banning, much less criminalizing. The man is a moral reprobate, to be certain, but he still ought to have the right to peddle his rubbish in my opinion.