Religion not an excuse for abuse

The week Kent State students left for spring break, German citizens were in an uproar. One of the country’s judges refused a Moroccan-born woman a speedier divorce than what is common in Germany. The woman requested the action because her husband allegedly beat her.

The judge, Christa Datz-Winter, ruled that where the couple comes from in Morocco, it is common for husbands to beat their wives, noting that the Quran allows the physical abuse.

Datz-Winter simultaneously distinguished a precedent that wife beating is A-OK if it is done in the name of cultural purpose. She simultaneously said misogyny is perfectly acceptable when done in the name of the Quran.

This German ruling is more than sad – it’s appalling. No religion should outwiegh an individual’s right to happiness. No religion should have a copyright on abuse.

The husband’s violation of his wife’s basic right to security is deserving of much more punishment than his “cultural right” – a “right” that shouldn’t be one in the 21st century.

We’re not the only ones in shock that the woman’s requests were denied.

“Our prophet never struck a woman, and he is our example,” Ayyub Axel K”hler, the head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, said in an interview.

The verse cited by the judge says husbands may beat their wives for being disobedient, but its interpretation is only embraced by fundamentalists. Mainstream Muslims have long rejected wife-beating as a “medieval relic,” said K”hler.

There are many problems with this ruling other than the obvious fact that wife-beating is just plain wrong. German law is not Quranic law, and it is not a settled issue that under Islamic law men can beat their wives.

And domestic abuse is more common than you may think. In Ohio throughout 2005, there were 157 domestic violence fatalities, according to the Ohio Courts Summary 2005. Last year, the Portage County Sheriff’s Office totaled a disturbing 266 domestic violence incidents.

Just as joking about rape takes the atrocity of the crime down a notch because the pain it causes has become something to laugh about, this ruling also implies that abuse can sometimes be OK. It’s not. And it never should be.

This is a more obvious example of the injustices women around the world face on a regular basis simply because of their sex. The fact that this ruling was sent down by a female judge also shows that women, too, are unaware of the patriarchal pardons our society often allows.

It’s time to wake up.

It wasn’t even like this woman was charging him with abuse – she just wanted a faster divorce in order to protect herself. The judge should have granted this, and we need to take notice of this injustice and fight the misogynist actions that happen in the United States and the rest of the world.

How? Speak up.

It’s easy to become immune to the attitudes that allow rulings such as Datz-Winter’s to happen. Educate yourself and get involved. The Women’s Resource Center can get you in touch with who to talk to if you or someone you know is being abused. It also has information about who to contact if you would like to help – and you can always volunteer -ÿ(330) 672-9230.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.