A fundamentalist Muslim group has republished a video online of an imam declaring a wife is committing a ‘major sin’ by refusing to have sex with her husband, despite outrage from feminists and senior ministers.
Nassim Abdi was condemned after telling an Auburn mosque in western Sydney a woman would be ‘cursed’ by angels for withholding marital intimacy.
The Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association, a fundamentalist Sunni group, pulled the video from YouTube on Tuesday after Daily Mail Australia contacted it about the sermon, which state Attorney-General Mark Speakman called ‘repugnant’.
It reposted the video, however, with an Arabic subtitle over a section where Mr Abdi said: ‘If the man calls the wife to bed and she refuses, the angels curse this woman and he sleeps with her whilst he’s angry, the angels curse her until she wakes up.’
Mr Abdi also published a clarifying video claiming he had made a ‘slip of the tongue’ and he did not condone rape in his sermon titled: ‘Prohibitions regarding intimacy in marriage.’
‘In regards to marital rape, or any other type of rape, 100 per cent I do not condone, I do not accept rape in marriage or outside of marriage or any other type of rape,’ he said.
‘The problematic statement which was a clear slip of the tongue and an accidental one, was that he sleeps with her whilst he’s angry with her.’
In his original sermon at the mosque, above the Bukhari House Islamic Bookstore in Auburn, Mr Abdi said a wife had a duty to make herself available to her husband’s sexual demands.
‘If the husband calls the wife to be intimate and there’s no legitimate reason for the woman to say no, then she must answer the call of her husband,’ he said on Friday night.
‘She must answer the call of her husband and if not she has committed a major sin.’
Mr Abdi preaches a seventh-century fundamentalist version of Salafist Islam from Saudi Arabia with the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah Association, which also advocates aspects of Sharia law.
Long-time feminist Eva Cox described him as a ‘nutter’, while stressing Islam was not the only religion with fundamentalists who disrespected women’s rights.
‘Somebody needs to inform the preacher that he’s preaching something which is illegal,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Preaching something which is illegal maybe should be banned.
‘I’m sorry we’ve got these nutters.’
Macquarie University research professor Catharine Lumby, a gender adviser with the National Rugby League, described the sermon as ‘hate speech’.
‘That kind of speech should be investigated. I believe in freedom of speech but I believe in limits to freedom of speech where violence is being advocated,’ she said.
‘It is absolutely against the law in this country what he’s advocating.
‘It’s a form of hate speech.’
Both feminists from an academic background stressed that fundamentalist Christians, too, had described women as the sexual property of men and said the sermon was not a reflection on all Australian Muslims.
Mr Abdi has previously declared it sinful for Muslim women to show their ears in public and for parents to allow their children to listen to music in the car.
He has also called for Muslims to stop their daughters going to university because it could lead to premarital sex.
Professor Lumby said Mr Abdi’s sermon could encourage Muslim men to commit domestic violence.
‘I would say it’s incitement to commit a criminal offence: if your wife doesn’t submit, then you still have the right to take her. That is a crime under Australian law,’ she said.
‘Shocking. The more I think about what this fundamentalist preacher said, in a way he’s advocating a form of domestic violence.’
New South Wales amended the Crimes Act this year to give three-year jail terms for inciting violence based on race, religion or sexuality.
However, it didn’t specifically target the comments of religious preachers.
Attorney-General Mark Speakman said Mr Abdi’s remarks were a matter for police.
‘Non-consensual sex is a serious crime which should be reported to the police,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.
‘Respect for all women is a central value of Australian society.
‘The views expressed by this preacher are repugnant to those values.’
Marital rape didn’t become a crime across Australia until 1994, with South Australia in 1976 becoming the first state to criminalise sexual assault in a marriage.