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memri
August 6, 2004 No.
760

MEMRI TV Project Special Report: Battered Saudi TV Host and Abusive Husband on MBC TV

Al-Baz: "He Said to Me: 'I Didn't Come to Beat You - I Came to Kill You… Say the Shahada'"

Ranya Al-Baz, a Saudi TV host of a women's issues talk show, was severely beaten by her husband, Muhammad Bakr Yunis. On April 4, 2004, Yunis left her in a hospital in a state of unconsciousness. The story received extensive media coverage in the Arab world, and the abusive husband was arrested. He was first accused of attempting to kill his wife, but the charges were subsequently reduced to the use of severe violence. Yunis was sentenced to six months imprisonment and 300 lashes.

However, Ranya decided to pardon her husband – a measure allowed by Saudi law. Yunis was spared the lashes and was released in early July after three months imprisonment.

On April 29, with bruises still on her face, Ranya gave a rare televised interview to journalist Mahmoud Sa'd of the Saudi TV station MBC.

Yunis: 'Prophet Muhammad Forbade Beating a Wife on Her Face. But at the Same Time, One May Beat a Wife as Punishment'

On August 1, almost a month after his release, the abusive husband was also interviewed on the same show. In the interview, Yunis was shown excerpts from his wife's April interview and was asked to comment. He said he regretted the physical damage he caused his wife, but he justified the beating itself with religious reasons. He said that Islam forbids beating a woman on her face, but allows beating as a means of punishment.

To view or download broadcast-quality excerpts from the interviews with both the battered wife and abusive husband, see clip no. 184 on http://memritv.org/clip/en/184.htm.

Sheik Abd Al-Hamid Al-Muhajir: It's Better that She be Hit

It is noteworthy that Arab TV stations frequently air rulings by Muslim clerics who explain how and when a husband is allowed to beat his wife. Recently, Syrian TV aired a lecture by Sheik Abd Al-Hamid Al-Muhajir who asked rhetorically: "[In the case of] a wife who endangers her husband and her own life, what's better, that she gets slapped or that she ruins her family, herself, and society?"

To view or download broadcast-quality excerpts from the interview, see clip no. 173 on http://memritv.org/clip/en/173.htm.

Sheik Muhammad Al-Massir: 'I Advise the Wife not to Annoy Him so Much'

Egyptian Sheik Muhammad Al-Massir of Al-Azhar University also explained the circumstances in which a husband is allowed to beat his wife. If a woman is disobedient, he explained on the Saudi-based channel Iqra TV, " a woman for whom marital life is important suffers when she is left alone in the bed. If we get to a point where abandonment [in bed] does not pain her and words do not deter her, we may have come to the stage of beatings."

To view or download broadcast-quality excerpts from the interview, see clip no. 102 on http://memritv.org/clip/en/102.htm.

On March 22, 2004, MEMRI released a Special Report titled "Muslim Clerics on the Religious Rulings Regarding Wife-Beating," which can be found at Muslim Clerics on the Religious Rulings Regarding Wife-Beating