A dud advice bureau

In another piece of news that will surprise no one, it is revealed that Swedish mosques tell women to put up with whatever shit their husbands feel like dealing out. Well of course they do. What would be the point of mosques if they didn’t?!

Using hidden cameras and telephone recording equipment, two women posing as abused spouses visited ten of Sweden’s largest mosques as part of a report put together by Sveriges Television (SVT) investigative news programme “Uppdrag granskning”.

The women then asked leaders at the mosques for advice about how to address issues such as polygamy, assault and non-consensual sex.

Six out of the ten mosques visited by the women, who had also claimed that their husbands had multiple wives, told them that they should nevertheless agree to have sex with their husbands even if they didn’t want to.

Six of the mosques also advised the women against reporting spousal abuse to the police. Leaders at another mosque were divided on the issue, while women received vague advice from yet another mosque.

Only two of the mosques gave the women clear advice directing them to report their abusive husbands to police.

The women were also told by nine of the ten mosques that men had the right – under certain circumstances – to have more than one wife.

Only one mosque told the women that men didn’t have the right to be married to several women at the same time and that their husbands needed to follow Swedish law.

Silly. God’s law is higher than human law. Luckily, God happens to be a man himself, so God makes laws that are pleasant for men and that way everybody is happy. Except women, but who cares about that.

“This is a clear breach of Swedish law and they commit professional misconduct in their capacities as imams and associations,” Muhammad Fazlhashemi, a professor and author of books on Muslim intellectual history, told the TT news agency.

Fazlhashemi, who also appears in the SVT report, has reviewed a written transcript of the advice given to the women.

“What these men are saying to the woman violates their human rights. The men demean and insult the women when they say ‘you need to tolerate that these men hit you’,” said Fazlhashemi.

He is highly critical of the imams featured in the SVT report for not following Swedish law.

“Considering the fact that the mosques have received state funding, they have also committed to following Swedish law and the basic principles of democracy,” he said.

Fazlhashemi describes the Muslim leaders featured in the piece as “conservative, letter of the law traditionalists”.

And they don’t represent the whole of the “community.”



  1. chrislawson says

    The only problem I have with this sting operation is that I think they should have run the same sting (with modifications) on other groups, not just mosques. I bet they would get similar results from many of the more anti-modernist Christian churches, synagogues, Hindu temples, and even secular groups (e.g. in the US, going to school counsellors about sexual abuse from footballers).

  2. K says

    I agree with chrislawson: you will get the same result for Catholic churches (though the ratio would be lower in Germany and Switzerland, I think, but roughly the same in the eastern part of the EU).

  3. sacharissa says

    BBC’s Panorama did a programme on UK Sharia Councils last year where an undercover reporter was told not to report an abusive husband to police. They also interviewed a lot of women who had bad experiences with the Councils. The programme is still available on the Panorama website although viewers outside UK may not be able to see it.

    Also, I agree with the above. You could make an interesting TV series by investigating responses of different religious groups. I’d watch it. I’d probably even buy the DVD.

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