Wife-beating is OK by Koran, says French Imam

20th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 20 (AFP) - A Muslim cleric's comments that wife-beating is authorised by the Koran has sparked a fierce backlash in France, with Justice Minister Dominique Perben warning Tuesday that the cleric "will have to explain himself."

PARIS, April 20 (AFP) - A Muslim cleric's comments that wife-beating is authorised by the Koran has sparked a fierce backlash in France, with Justice Minister Dominique Perben warning Tuesday that the cleric "will have to explain himself."

Abdelkader Bouziane, the imam of a mosque in the eastern city of Lyon, caused the uproar when he told the April issue of a local magazine, Lyon Mag, that he was polygamous, believed that "beating your wife is authorised by the Koran," and expressed the hope that "the entire world becomes Muslim."

The mayor of the Lyon suburb where Bouziane's mosque is located, Andre Gerin, made public a letter he wrote to the interior ministry in which he said he planned to start a lawsuit against the imam "for disturbing the public order and that of the republic (of France)."

Justice Minister Perben, speaking on state television, said justice officials "can and must do something" and added that other people had also vowed legal action.

A junior minister in charge of gender and professional equality, Nicole Ameline, said she was going to call together various associations tackling domestic violence "to examine what action is necessary."

Those associations may join the legal onslaught, she told radio station BFM, adding that the imam's comments were an "insult to the republic" and deserved heavy punishment.

Sources close to the organisation that runs the mosque, Es Salem, said Bouziane had defended himself by claiming the interview had not been properly conducted, and had received the order to either publish a retraction or start his own lawsuit against the magazine.

In January, an imam was given a suspended sentence in Spain for inciting violence against women in a 1997 book that gave detailed instructions to Muslim men on how to beat their wives.

© AFP

                                                               Subject: French news

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