Society & Culture

Cleric apologises for marital rape comment

A cleric who said a man forcing his wife to have sex was not raping her has apologised, following controversy on social media.

Dr Muhammad Iyaz Abdul Latheef, a state-licensed scholar who runs an Islamic question-and-answer group on the messaging app Viber, said his comment had “created confusion”.

In a statement posted on his Facebook page with more than 84,000 followers, Iyaz apologised for the confusion and said “Islam promotes love between husband and wife”.

“The sexual connection between husband and wife should not be a form of abuse to each other. Neither of the partners have the right to deny sex if they do not have a reasonable excuse,” he said.

His comment was criticised on social media, with former Islamic minister Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed saying that it is against the Sunnah (teachings of the prophet) to have non-consensual sex with wives.

“It is against the principles of Islam to brutally force one’s wife to have sex without considering her physical, medical and emotional state! It goes against the Sunnah. A good, loving husband will never do that,” he tweeted.

The Penal Code states that while marital rape exists, the burden of proof rests on the victim, as the judge is asked to presume that consent exists unless it is proved otherwise.

The Sexual Offences Act specifies circumstances that could be considered marital rape including death threats, during divorce proceedings or one partner having a sexually transmitted disease.

Iyaz has previously condemned the Sexual Offences Act for conditional recognition of marital rape as a crime, and advised MPs who voted for the bill to repent. He has also endorsed female genital mutilation.

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Source URL:  Maldives Independent

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