Saudi judge says OK to slap spendthrift wife
Riyadh — A Saudi judge has told a seminar on domestic violence that it is okay for a man to slap his wife for lavish spending, a local newspaper reported on Sunday.
Jeddah judge Hamad al-Razine gave the example of overspending to buy a high-end abaya, the head-to toe black shroud Saudi women have to wear in public, as justifying a smack for one’s wife, Arab News said.
"If a person gives 1,200 riyals (320 dollars) to his wife and she spends 900 riyals (240 dollars) to purchase an abaya from a brand shop, and if her husband slaps her on the face as a reaction to her action, she deserves that punishment," he said.
The judge’s remarks sparked an outcry at the seminar on the role of judicial and security officials in preventing domestic violence, the paper reported.
The seminar was attended by officials as well as activists on domestic violence, including representatives of the National Family Safety Programme.
Razine acknowledged the depth of the problem of domestic violence, until recently not acknowledged as a serious issue in the ultra-conservative Muslim country, where family problems traditionally remained behind closed doors.
Saudi women have in the past few years become more vocal about the problem of husbands beating wives and fathers mistreating children.
But Razine said some of the blame must be shouldered by wives for their behaviour. "Nobody puts even a fraction of the blame on them," he said, according to the report.