NEW YORK — 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 this week 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.
Noor Hussain, 75, originally from Pakistan, was sentenced on Wednesday by Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Matthew D’Emic, who also convicted Hussain of second degree murder in May. According to the New York Post, D’Emic had considered a manslaughter verdict, but concluded that Hussain had intentionally sought to kill his wife.
Hussain was arrested in April 2011 after he beat his wife with a stick as she lay in bed at their Brooklyn apartment. According to his defense attorney, Julie Clark, Hussain was upset that his wife, Nazar, 66, had made lentils for dinner and declined to make him goat meat.
“He had told her he wanted a particular type of meat for dinner, goat meat, and she refused,” she explained to the court. “So he took up a stick to discipline her for not making the meal he wanted.”
Clark argued that Hussain “comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife.” Reports state that Hussain contended that he was entitled to discipline her because she disrespected him by arguing and cursing.
The medical examiner determined that Hussain’s wife died of a brain hemorrhage after being beaten 20 times. Trial evidence included photos of the deceased woman’s swollen and bruised face, as well as the blood-splattered bedroom where she was beaten.
District attorney Kenneth Thompson told reporters that he believed the sentence was justified because of the severity of the crime.
“This defendant viciously attacked his wife as she lay in bed, unable to defend herself,” he said. “Now the defendant has been held accountable for this brutal and cowardly act. “
Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch states that Hussain’s beliefs are not novel to the Muslim religion, quoting from the Quran:
“Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them.”
“Islamic scholars, of course, generally say that Qur’an 4:34 only allows men to discipline their wives by beating them lightly, so as not to leave a mark,” Spencer stated. “The problem is that ‘lightly’ is in the eye of the beholder, and once the principle that a woman can be ‘disciplined’ by violence is allowed, the door is opened to what happened to Nazar Hussain.”
Hussain will be eligible for parole after 18 years, when he will be 93.