Ranya Al-Baz, a Saudi TV host was severely beaten by her husband, Muhammad Bakr Yunis. On April 29, 2004, she was interviewed by MBC's Mahmoud Sa'd. On August 1, 2004, Sa'd interviewed the abusive husband and aired again excerpts from Al-Baz's April interview. The following are excerpts:
Ranya Al-Baz: I felt he was coming to beat me. I thought I could threaten him, I said: "Don't beat me." I told him that if he beat me I would go to my parents' house and tell my dad, and so on.
He said a very strange thing that he had said to me before but never acted on it. He told me: "I am not coming to beat you. I am coming to kill you."
He grabbed me by my neck and flung me to the ground. He started strangling me, staring at me. I don't know if they were the eyes of a murderer or a look of hatred. It was a strange look. I've been with him for six years and never saw such a look from him or from anyone else.He continued to strangle me and I felt all vital signs disappearing from me. Then he released me and said, "Say the Shahada." I felt this was the end. I was half conscious and started to say the Shahada. I said it three times. Allah be praised, while he was hurting me he told me to say the Shahada, because he felt he was going to kill me. Saying Allah's name gave me comfort in those moments. I said the Shahada three times and he started strangling me again. I don't remember what happened later, I found myself in the hospital, in the ICU... I don't know how my face got broken. I don't know how he beat me, I don't know anything. All I knew was that I was in the hospital with my relatives holding my hand and saying they were by my side.
Muhammad Bakr Yunis: Never in my life, have I attacked a wife, and you should know that I have another wife whom I have never attacked.
Sa'd: You are married to another wife?
Yunis: Yes, I am married to another wife.
Sa'd: Before Ranya or after?
Yunis:Yunis: Before Ranya.
Sa'd: Ranya then is your second wife?
Yunis:She's my third wife.
Yunis:Yes, the third.
Sa'd:For how many years?
Yunis:Let us not digress from the subject we are discussing.
Yunis: I oppose the idea of a man demonstrating his strength on his wife. I oppose this very much. It is impossible that anyone would accept it. I would not accept it if my sister's husband beats her, except for one case: if she did something deserving a beating.
Sa'd:In general, when am I supposed to beat my wife?
Yunis: I take you back to the Prophet Muhammad, who forbade beating a wife on her face. At the same time, one may beat a wife as a punishment, but the purpose of this punishment is not to hurt her as much as it is to warn her not to do something bad.
Sa'd: Muhammad, do you claim that the Prophet ordered this kind of beating?
Yunis: No, the Prophet forbade such beating and, by the way, this is what I regret. I regret the anger that overtook me, but what caused this anger should stay between her and me.
Sa'd:: Okay, but let's go back. You claim that a woman should be beaten for such and such reason when she does this or that... Tell me what a wife must do in order to deserve beatings, and I mean any wife, not yours. You said earlier that it is allowed to beat your wife in certain circumstances or following a certain behavior. What, for instance?
Yunis:The home is sacred and this sanctity should not be violated. When a wife lets a man in your house in your absence, is she not worthy of punishment? I believe she deserves to be punished. When the wife discloses things that Allah ordered that they must remain between her and her husband, is she not worthy of punishment? The punishment varies from person to person and from one case of anger to another. We all get angry.
She went upstairs (to my sister-in-law's apartment) without telling me. I searched for her and did not find her, but I found her by the door, when she came back and said: "Where were you?" She answered: "I went upstairs." I told her: "You must tell me where you are going!" The truth is that in my opinion any woman, not just a wife...
Women, as we say colloquially... How nice it is when a wife chooses her words carefully while speaking to her husband. This is the husband who will bring you into paradise. The Prophet Muhammad said that if it were possible to bow down before anyone other than Allah, he would order the wife to bow down before her husband. I dont use this Hadith to show that a wife must blindly obey her husband. But a husband has rights.
Sa'd: The woman as well.
Yunis: Allah ruled that obeying the husband is important. I never order her to do something wrong, never.
Sa'd:Who told you that...
Yunis: I mean... The whole issue is...?"He has put love and mercy between you." I am very peaceful by nature. Very peaceful.
Sa'd: What did she do, she went upstairs?
Yunis: Yes, she went upstairs and I slapped her.
My sister (the singer) Wad is one of my younger sisters, and I love her very much. She is dear to my heart. A man who does not jealously protect the honor of his womenfolk does not deserve to be called a man. Many times it pains me... I will give you an example, if you ask ten Saudi men: "Would you allow that your sister to become a singer," be assured you will find nonethat allows it, and if you find one, he will not be sure of his position. She chose a very difficult path. Be assured that I pray to Allah that she leave this path of her own free will, because she will loose more than she will gain. She is not going to become a singer like the Algerian Warda or Um Kulthum.
We in Saudi Arabia, Allah be praised, live under our wise government. Here disputes are resolved according to the Islamic law.
Sa'd: Islamic law?
Yunis:Yes, Islamic law, not womens rights or human rights. Womens rights were protected 1400 years ago in Islam?
Sa'd: Religious law protects human and womens rights much better than man-made laws?
Yunis: Hannan [Wad] told the judge: "I will not sing." She swore before the judge that she would not sing. And now? When I speak about my sister? Can you imagine, Hannan and Ranya, a sister and a wife, both are under my responsibility. Whoever does not jealously protect the honor of his womenfolk has no place in this world...
Sa'd: Did you object to her working as a TV host?
Yunis: Be assured that I had no objection to Ranya being a TV host but following these events? If she were a journalist who does her work in a credible manner, she would not have brought her domestic affairs to the media.
Sa'd: Are you sure she cant work as a TV host again?
Yunis: After these events, I think not.
Sad: Okay, aren't you afraid you will beat her again since she provokes you to beat her?
Yunis: Be assured that this time I will not beat with my hand.
Sa'd: So what with, a knife?
Yunis: No, this time I will beat her by marrying another wife.
Sa'd: This is a knock-out, and you are used to this?
Yunis:After all, (polygamy) is permitted. Is there anything nicer than what is permitted by Islamic law? I think its beautiful. I believe that a man? Love that is not crowned with marriage means deceit of decent girls. It is nice to love and to get married. (Polygamy) is permitted and nothing is better than that which is permitted.