Mahmoud Al-Habbash, an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, was interviewed on Palestine TV on September 8, 2018. Al-Habbash said that in some cases, a woman's legal testimony might not be enough because her "mental nature cannot yield an authentic testimony." He said that men are naturally inclined to intervene in crimes such as murder, but that women are inclined to cover their eyes to avoid seeing the terrible sight. Al-Habbash also said that men's psychological and physical nature inclines them to take a "long hard look and check things out" when witnessing acts of fornication, while women are likely to avert their gaze due to their modesty and chastity.
Following are excerpts:
Host: Some people think that [Muslim] women were wronged when it was determined that a man's legal testimony equals that of two women. What is the religious explanation for this, and how can we respond to the claim that women are wronged in this matter?
Mahmoud Al-Habbash, Advisor to Palestinian President Abbas: Due to the real natural differences between men and women, in physical aspects as well as mental aspects, a woman's testimony is not enough in some cases. In those cases, the woman's mental nature cannot yield an authentic testimony. Let me give you an example, even though theoretically, some people might not understand what I'm saying. When a crime of murder occurs… When you walk down the street with your wife, sister, or mother, and all of a sudden, you see a man stabbing another man with a knife. You, by your nature as a man… I am talking in general here. There are exceptions, of course. By your nature as a man, you will intervene and try to save the man being stabbed. You will not cover your eyes to avoid seeing that terrible sight. But what is the first thing a woman would do in this case? She'd cover her face.
Let me give you another example. In cases of fornication, four witnesses are required. By his physical and psychological nature, when a man sees two people committing an act of fornication, he takes a long hard look and checks things out. But a woman, by her modest, tender, and chaste nature, would look away with shame when seeing such a thing.