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Spanish journalist, Eva Millet
"There is a very big problem with domestic violence here"
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Monday, 24 July, 2000, 13:24 GMT 14:24 UK
Spanish women's fury at Islamic advice

Critics say the book incites violence against women
By Flora Botsford in Madrid

An association of women's groups in Spain is presenting a lawsuit against a Muslim leader whose book, Women in Islam, gives advice on wife-beating.

The author, Imam Mohamed Kamal Mostafa, is a Koranic scholar who leads services at the Mosque in Fuengirola near Malaga on the south coast of Spain.

Women's groups are demanding that the book, which was recently published, be withdrawn from sale.

The Imam says that his book is directed at the majority of Muslims living outside their country of origin who are, in his words, partially or totally ignorant of the vision that Islam has of women.

Psychological suffering

Under the heading Abuse, the author discusses whether a husband has the right to beat his wife.

Women protester
A Spanish woman protests against male violence earlier this year
He recommends verbal correction followed by a period of sexual abstinence as the best punishment for a wife, but does not rule out a beating as long as it is kept within strict guidelines.

It is this following passage which has caused outrage among 90 women's groups who are presenting a lawsuit to the court in Barcelona where the book was published, demanding that it be withdrawn from sale.

The imam writes that, to avoid serious damage, a husband should never hit his wife in a state of extreme or blind anger.

He should never hit sensitive parts of the body such as the face, head, breasts or stomach.

He should only hit the hands or feet using a rod that is thin and light so that it does not leave scars or bruises on the body.

The husband's aim, he said, should be to cause psychological suffering and not to humiliate or physically abuse his wife.

A spokesperson for one of the groups presenting the lawsuit, the Federation for Divorced and Separated Women, said that the book was illegal under the Spanish penal code and that the imam was guilty of inciting violence against women.

There is a growing public debate about domestic violence in Spain, where the machismo culture is still strong and the number of reported cases of violence against women is growing all the time.

The federation says that so far this year, 40 abused women have come to them for help.

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