Asra Nomani (a Daniel Pearl friend and colleague) writes in the Washington Post of the abuse of women by some Muslim men and the culture /worldview it creates
When dealing with a "disobedient wife," a Muslim man has a number of options. First, he should remind her of "the importance of following the instructions of the husband in Islam." If that doesn't work, he can "leave the wife's bed." Finally, he may "beat" her, though it must be without "hurting, breaking a bone, leaving blue or black marks on the body and avoiding hitting the face, at any cost."
Such appalling recommendations, drawn from the book "Woman in the Shade of Islam" by Saudi scholar Abdul Rahman al—Sheha, are inspired by as authoritative a source as any Muslim could hope to find: a literal reading of the 34th verse of the fourth chapter of the Koran, An—Nisa , or Women. "[A]nd (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them and leave them alone in the sleeping—places and beat them," reads one widely accepted translation.
The notion of using physical punishment as a "disciplinary action," as Sheha suggests, especially for "controlling or mastering women" or others who "enjoy being beaten," is common throughout the Muslim world. Indeed, I first encountered Sheha's work at my Morgantown mosque, where a Muslim student group handed it out to male worshipers after Friday prayers one day a few years ago.
Verse 4:34 retains a strong following, even among many who say that women must be treated as equals under Islam. Indeed, Muslim scholars and leaders have long been doing what I call "the 4:34 dance" —— they reject outright violence against women but accept a level of aggression that fits contemporary definitions of domestic violence. [....]
Much of the problem is the 4:34 dance, which encourages this violence while producing interpretations that range from comical to shocking. A Muslim man in upstate New York, for instance, told his wife that the Koran allowed him to beat her with a "wet noodle." The host of a Saudi TV show displayed a pool cue as a disciplinary tool.
Gaius of Blue Crab Boulevard comments:
There is a problem with extremism and Islamism, which should not be confused in any way, I think, with the religion of Islam itself. Rather it is with a secular movement enforcing extreme notions and interpretations in order to gain secular power. This is hiding behind the mask of religion to advance an unholy agenda.
Muhammad, it is held by every serious historian, never beat his women, but nonetheless the scripture says what it says. Perhaps Islam can reform itself around this awkward passage. But so far the signs are far from encouraging.
Hat tip: Ed Lasky
Thomas Lifson 10 22 06