UAE Judge: OK to Beat Wives & Kids, But Don't Leave Marks

There are plenty of reasons to go to the United Arab Emirates -- Dubai's palm-shaped man-made islands, its indoor sky slope and the world's tallest building are just a few.

But there's also a huge reason to stay away -- it's legal there for a man to beat his wife and young children. There is one key caveat in the law, however; you can't leave a mark. (So break out those rubber hoses, Dads. We all know they can deliver quite the whoopin' and leave nary a trace.)

According to a report in Abu Dhabi's The National, the Federal Supreme Court ruled earlier this month on a case of a man who slapped his wife and slapped and kicked his 23-year-old daughter. The court actually ruled against the man because the beatings left visible marks, and because the daughter was no longer a minor.

But citing Islam's Sharia Law, Chief Justice Falah al Hajeri said domestic violence is not all bad, and perfectly legal.

"Although the [law] permits the husband to use his right [to discipline], he has to abide by the limits of this right," al Hajeri wrote in a ruling released in a court document Sunday. "If the husband abuses this right to discipline, he cannot be exempted from punishment."

Dr Ahmed al Kubaisi, the head of Sharia Studies at UAE University and Baghdad University, told The National that beatings are sometimes necessary to preserve family bonds.

"If a wife committed something wrong, a husband can report her to police," Dr al Kubaisi told the newspaper. "But sometimes she does not do a serious thing or he does not want to let others know; when it is not good for the family. In this case, hitting is a better option."


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