Saudi Arabian national television has aired a video showing a family therapist teaching men how to beat their wives "correctly."
In the tutorial, Khaled Al-Shaqby says he is "aware that this issue is a thorny one, which contains many hazards." But he adds: "Allah willing, we will cross this bridge safely."
The video aired in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, then was translated and released in the U.S. by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute.
Al-Shaqby points out that men should not resort to violence as a first option, but should "discipline their wives first" before using violence. While admitting that some men use rods, sticks or sharp objects to beat their wives in order to discipline them, he advises against it. He suggests using a twig or a handkerchief to hit the wife, merely as a symbol to express their anger at the disobedience.
Human rights groups and women's organizations are outraged by the video, which comes after a draft proposal by Pakistan's Council of Islamic Ideology that husbands be allowed to beat their wives, as long as they do it "lightly."
Council chairman Muhammad Kahn Sherani said, "If you want her to mend her ways, you should first advise her. … If she refuses, stop talking to her … stop sharing a bed with her, and if things do not change, get a bit strict."
A "bit strict," he clarified, would include "[hitting] her with light things like a handkerchief, a hat or a turban, but do not hit her on the face or private parts."
The council's draft proposal has met with a furious response in Pakistan, including calls for it to be disbanded.
A Pakistani photographer has launched #TryBeatingMeLightly, a photo series showcasing Pakistani women's reactions to the proposal. Some of those include:
#TryBeatingMeLightly, I'll become the destruction you will never foresee.
#TryBeatingMeLightly, I'm the sun. Touch me and I will burn you like hell fire. I am light, you will try, but you can never stop me. You can never contain me. I am the kind of woman they name hurricanes after. I dare you, #TryBeatingMeLightly
#TryBeatingMeLightly, and you'll regret it for the rest of your miserable life.
The Council of Islamic Ideology advises Pakistan’s government and lawmakers on Islamic issues. Its proposals are recommendations, and not legally enforced.