Saudi Judge: It’s OK to Slap Wives Who Spend


Saudi Arabia—A Saudi judge at a seminar on domestic violence recently announced that slapping your wife is permissible if the wives spend too much money, Saudi media reported Sunday.

The Saudi English-language daily newspaper based in Riyadh called Arab News, reported that Judge Hama Al-Razine said that “if a person gives SR 1,200 ($320) to his wife and she spends 900 riyals ($240) to purchase an abaya—the black cover that is mandatory for all women in Saudi Arabia to wear—from a brand shop and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment.”

There was an immediate reaction of loud protesting by the women in the audience to Al-Razine’s statement. The audience was also shocked to learn that the statement was made by a judge, the newspaper reported.

Domestic violence has apparently been increasing in Saudi Arabia and the Arab News reported that Al-Razine’s remark was an attempt to explain this. He said that women and men shared responsibility, but that “nobody puts even a fraction of blame” on women, the newspaper said.

Al-Razine also “pointed out that women’s indecent behavior and use of offensive words against their husbands were some of the reasons for domestic violence in the country,” it added.

In the conservative kingdom, domestic violence has also been a taboo, until now. This recent hot topic has groups like the National Family Safety Program campaigning to educate the public about the problem in an aid to prevent domestic abuse.

Women’s rights activist, Wajeha Al-Huwaider, told CNN that Saudi women continuously face such attitudes.

“This is how men in Saudi Arabia see women,” she said in a telephone interview from the Saudi city of Dahran. “It’s not something they read in a book or learned from a friend. They’ve been raised to see women this way, that they’re less than a person.”

Al-Huwaider added that “I’m not surprised to see a judge or a religious man saying that—they’ve been raised in the same culture—a culture that tells them it’s okay to raise your hand to a woman, that this works.”

There was another recent controversy with another judge because he denied a request from the mother of an 8-year-old girl that the girl be granted a divorce from her 47-year-old husband twice.

Last month, after human-rights groups condemned the union, the girl was allowed the divorce.


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