The Washington Post had a piece on domestic abuse Muslim-style in today’s paper. It stated in part:

“Domestic abuse is hardly unique to Muslim immigrant communities; it is a sad fact of life in families of all backgrounds and origins. Yet, according to social workers, Islamic clerics and women’s advocates, women from Muslim-majority cultures face extra pressure to submit to violent husbands and intense social ostracism if they muster the courage to file charges or flee.

“A major obstacle to recognizing and fighting abuse, experts said, can be Islam itself. The religion prizes female modesty and fidelity while allowing men to divorce at will and have several wives at once. Many Muslims also believe that men have the right to beat their wives. An often-quoted verse in the Koran says a husband may chastise a disobedient wife, but the phrasing in Arabic is open to several interpretations.”

Quoting the verse in question, Andrew McCarthy (it must be Andrew McCarthy Day on Inkwell!) says that the Post has chosen to gloss over the real implications:

“Many verses in the Koran are very troubling.  But we do ourselves and moderate Muslim reformers no favors by pretending those verses are not there, or that they say something different from what they say. Doing that effectively cedes authority to the fundamentalists since only they are willing to abide by what the scriptures actually say.  Better to confront the truth and deal with it, not whitewash it.  There will be no reformation absent a realistic acknowledgment that reform is needed.”