Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Baby Steps for Lebanese Shiites

What with the latest political furor and exploding senior military officials in the currently Presidentless Lebanon, this story seems to have slipped through the cracks. (Thanks to Snoop' at SJ)

A Muslim woman is allowed to fight back in self-defense if hit by her husband, Lebanon's top Shiite cleric declared Tuesday in a ruling rare for the male-dominated Islamic society.

Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah issued the fatwa, or religious edict, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

A statement by his office said Fadlallah stressed that although Islam gives men supremacy over women in running household affairs, it "does not approve of a man using any sort of violence against a woman, even in the form of insults and harsh words."

"These (acts) are sins whose doers will be brought to account by God and are punished by Islamic law," Fadlallah said and denounced all kinds of physical violence used against wives as "a sign of weakness" by the husband.

Well that's a step in the right direction, isn't it? Too bad, really. Were Lebanon an even slightly politically stable state this story might have grown legs and become an inkling of change. Further details about Fadlallah:

Fadlallah, 72, is the top religious authority for Lebanon's 1.2 million Shiites, but has followers throughout the Mideast. He is considered a militant by the West for past links to the Hezbollah, but has adopted progressive, nonviolent stances on some issues, surprising some among his conservative followers.

Fadlallah has condemned honor killings, a practice common in some conservative Muslim communities, and also called for peaceful boycott of American products, banned smoking as a religious duty and approved cloning for scientific research purposes.

"We consider that if a man used physical violence against a woman and she could not defend herself except by retaliating with similar violence, she can do so out of self-defense," Fadlallah said in his fatwa Tuesday.


Adrian said...

Send it off to Abu Muqawama!

Jay@Soob said...


The story's been sent though I'd be surprised if he hasn't already seen it. Either way his take on it will be interesting.

Jay@Soob said...

For naught I'm afraid. C'est la vie.

Jay@Soob said...

Strike that. Received with appreciation. Apparently our chum Fadlallah's been talking about the evils of civilian victimization of suicide bombing as well.