In Arab and Islamic countries, domestic violence is not yet considered a major concern despite its increasing frequency and serious consequences. Surveys in Egypt, Palestine, Israel and Tunisia show that at least one out of three women is beaten by her husband. The indifference to this type of violence stems from attitudes that domestic violence is a private matter and, usually, a justifiable response to misbehaviour on the part of the wife. Selective excerpts from the Koran are used to prove that men who beat their wives are following God’s commandments.

In this book, which is the result of a seminar that took place in London in 2003, researchers from Middle East and Latin America came together to compare and analyse ‘honour crimes’ within these various contexts. Although the social contexts on these continents are quite different – Islamic or Catholic countries, besides other cultural differences – the outcomes of the researches are similar: women who were killed either by their husbands or by their own kin. The aim was to demystify such crimes.

This report contains a detailed review of international, regional, and national developments and best practices for ways and means of combating violence against women over the period 1994-2003. The report is not fully comprehensive, some regions or countries have been reported on in greater detail than others, reflecting the information that was available to the Special Rapporteur. (All countries of this bibliography are examined in this report) 

This report documents a number of cultural practices (including FGM, honour killings, and witchcraft allegations) which violate women’s human rights to bodily integrity and to expression, as well as undermining essential values of equality and dignity. These practices and many others constitute a form of domestic violence but have avoided national and international scrutiny because they are seen as cultural practices that deserve tolerance and respect.

A Roundtable on Strategies to Address ‘Honour Crimes’ was held in London from 12-13 November 1999.

This book [in German] was produced as part of Terre des Femmes’ campaign against ‘honour crimes’ and is divided into four sections. The first section contains contributions on religion and honour and the legal legitimisation of such killings in the laws of Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan. The second section examines honour crimes as an international problem that occurs in many countries, and several national case studies are provided, including from Jordan, Turkey, Switzerland, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, and Iran.

Asma Barlas is a reformist religious scholar of Islam, from Pakistan based in the US, who argues that stoning is un-Islamic based on the fact that it is not in the Quran. This is just one document that presents her views on this. Others are on her website,

The authors argue that cultural and personal systems of honour that depend on the behaviour of others are an integral part of the killing of women by their families or intimates. Comparing patterns of conduct in both traditional cultures and English-speaking countries, this study focuses on the basic element of such honour rationales – control, feelings of shame, and levels of community involvement – to establish that such rationales are a worldwide phenomenon.

This article presents a comprehensive discussion of Islamic interpretations of wife beating. Four schools with varying Islamic perspectives on the issue of wife beating are explored. The schools are classified based on the severity of the patriarchal values reflected in the structural relationship between men (husbands) and women (wives) within the family and the general society. Literal, patriarchal, and feminist interpretations of the Qur’anic text are provided.

Examining public attitudes towards violence against women, this paper provides a wider perspective by discussing violence against women in the Arab world and beyond with a cross-cultural overview followed by a focus on Saudi society. It presents the findings of an opinion survey conducted among men and women in the city of Jeddah. It examines their attitudes towards wife abuse and violence against women in the context of Saudi society.

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