ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The leader of an Islamic council in Pakistan has proposed a bill that would allow men to “lightly” beat their wives as a form of discipline.
Mohammad Khan Sheerani of the Council of Islamic Ideology introduced the 163-page proposal on behalf of the 20-member council, a group that makes recommendations to the Pakistani Parliament in light of Sharia law.
According to the Express Tribune, the bill recommends that “a husband should be allowed to ‘lightly’ beat his wife if she defies his commands and refuses to dress up as per his desires; turns down demand of intercourse without any religious excuse or does not take a bath after intercourse or menstrual periods.”
The group has also suggested that beating should be allowed if “a woman does not observe Hijab; interacts with strangers; speaks loud enough that she can easily be heard by strangers; and provides monetary support to people without taking consent of her spouse.”
The proposed legislation comes in response to the submission of another bill, Punjab Women Protection Act, which the Council decried as being “un-Islamic.”
But some Pakistanis immediately decried the notion, including photographer Fahhad Rajper, whose photos capturing female reactions to the bill resulted in the #TryBeatingMeLightly hashtag campaign.
“#TryBeatingMeLightly is an initiative to empower women amongst us who work towards individual and collective betterment,” Rajper wrote on Facebook. “It’s an opportunity for those to voice their opinions who can’t or don’t.”
On Wednesday, three members of Parliament, Manzoor Hussain Gilani, Dr Noor Ahmed Shahtaz and Muhammad Abdullah also expressed concern over the proposal.
According to Amnesty International, over 4,300 cases of violence against women and girls were documented in the first six months of 2015, over a 1,000 of which were kidnapping crimes and 186 Islamic “honor” crimes.
As previously reported, in 2014, a Muslim man from New York City, whose defense included Islamic and cultural teachings on spousal discipline, was sentenced to 18 years to life behind bars after he was found guilty of murder for beating his wife to death with a stick for making him lentils for dinner instead of goat meat.
“He had told her he wanted a particular type of meat for dinner, goat meat, and she refused,” an attorney for Noor Hussain, now 77, explained to the court. “So he took up a stick to discipline her for not making the meal he wanted.”
Ephesians 5:25-33 states, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies,” it continues. “He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the Church. … [L]et every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”