Aussie Cleric Slammed Over Domestic Violence Views

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - Australia's prime minister has joined
Muslim leaders in condemning a cleric's comments that husbands are
entitled to smack disobedient wives and force them to have sex.

Samir Abu Hamza made the comments in Sydney during a lecture in
2003, but they were first reported Thursday after they appeared in
a video posted on the Internet.

During the lecture on marriage delivered to a male audience, Hamza -- who has previously had no national profile -- ridiculed Australian law that regards forced sex within marriage as rape.

He also said a man was entitled to use limited force as a last resort to punish a disobedient wife.

While Australia is a relatively tolerant and multicultural society, ethnic and religious rifts occasionally flare, with the treatment of women under Islam a flashpoint in the majority-Christian nation.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd condemned Hamza's comments, saying
violence toward women was permissible "under no circumstances."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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