Religion-Based Claim in Abuse Case Wisely Pierced by Appeals Court

By: Abed Awad, Esq.

The three-judge panel held on July 23 in S.D. v. M.J.R , A-6107-08, that the defendant’s nonconsensual sexual intercourse with his wife was “unquestionably knowing, regardless of his view that his religion permitted him to act as he did.” The ruling is a good first step toward undoing a misperception that Muslim culture condones violence against women. In fact, the ruling is consistent with Islamic law, which prohibits spousal abuse, including nonconsensual sexual relations. For example, there are reported cases where a wife was acquitted of murdering her husband because she acted in self-defense in an abusive relationship.

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