Australian imams condemn prejudiced study
Researchers found imams biased against women
The Australian National Imams Council condemned a recent study that accused Muslim preachers of sanctioning domestic violence and polygamy and stressed its support of women rights.
The study accused Muslim imams, or preachers, of promoting domestic violence and spousal rape as well as sanctioning polygamy, which is illegal under Australian law.
The study found that preachers applied Islamic law only when it served men and hindered police investigations in cases of domestic violence. It also found that imams gave men the green light to rape their ex-wives under the pretext that they are still religiously married even if legally divorced.
The study by the Islamic Women's Welfare Council in Australia's southeastern state of Victoria was based on a series of interviews with lawyers and police officers, though the researchers noted that the ANIC had declined to be involved with the study. They presented their findings at an Islamic studies conference earlier this month at the University of Melbourne.
An ANIC statement Friday condemned the study’s findings and said it was based on the individual mistakes of a few preachers.
"This study is not objective," ANIC president sheikh Moez Nafti told AlArabiya.net, adding that he did not agree with outcome.
When asked about polygamy, Nafti said that a group of imams had called for sanctioning it but that ANIC refused because Australian law prohibits it.
"The media took advantage of the situation to give the impression that all preachers are like that," he said. "We understand Australian law very well and we are not trying to change it. We don't believe that problems facing the Muslim community will be solved through that."
Nafti also expressed his disappointment that NCEIS did not invite any imams to the conference even though the conference basically tackled issues related to imams.
"This disregards the role of imams in the Muslim community," he said.
Several attempts by AlArabiya.net to reach the study’s authors were unsuccessful.
(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)
We understand Australian law very well and we are not trying to change it. We don't believe that problems facing the Muslim community will be solved through that
Moez Nafti, ANIC president