A religious leader from Gaza was asked on Palestinian Authority TV for advice on how to fix a troubled marriage. His advice? That a husband should beat his wife in a way "that does not make her ugly" (video below).
Hassan al-Laham, a mufti, or Muslim legal expert who gives rulings on religious matters such as Sharia law, also told husbands to remember that they "did not buy [their wife] as a slave ... nor did [they] buy her at the market," The Daily Mail reports.
The show's host asked al-Laham to explain the steps to saving a marriage from divorce, which al-Laham said is to be considered a last resort in Islamic culture.
Explaining his advice for husbands to beat their wives, al-Laham said the prophet Muhammad tells Muslims: "The hitting is not meant to disfigure, harm or degrade. The hitting will be like a joke. He will hit her jokingly."
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The mufti added: "The hitting is a kind of reminder that the love and friendship that Allah commanded is still found between [the couple]," also reasserting that the beating "should not break a bone or make the face ugly."
In the segment, al-Laham also advises, "Warn [the wives] and separate from them and hit them, and bring an arbitrator from his family and an arbitrator from her family," before discussing divorce.
Al-Laham said that before a husband beats his wife, he should give her "polite warnings" and demonstrate "good relations, dialogue, respect and humanity." He suggests that any warnings be done "inside the home" so the couple doesn't show their problems to the outside world, and recommends that the couple sleep in separate beds.
The watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch flagged the program, according to Fox News. The group's director, Itamar Marcus, said Palestine Authority TV, the network that ran the segment, is viewed in Palestine as being more moderate than Hamas, the terrorist group that runs Gaza.
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"They actually think this is a moderate message -- that it is OK to beat your wife," Marcus told Fox News. "This is their perception."