A Muslim police chaplain has faced criticism after he reportedly said women commit “a major sin” if they refuse to have sex with their husbands.
Musleh Khan, the Toronto Police Force’s new chaplain, held a web seminar entitled ‘The Heart of The Home: The Rights and Responsibilities of A Wife’, in which he also implied getting married to 9-year-old girl is permitted in Islam.
Mr Khan’s comments have provoked anger in Canada and the Canadian Council of Muslim Women said his “appalling” words “really set us back”.
“The wife should make herself available to her husband, after the marriage has taken place,” Mr Khan said while disussing marital sexual relations during the seminar, first held in March 2013.
“She should not withhold this right from her husband without a valid excuse, sickness for example. If she refuses without a valid reason then she has committed a major sin.
“The wife must beautify herself for her husband… and not deny him the right to children.
“Sisters, it’s part of your act of worship towards Allah that you try to respond to this as best you can as part of your duties as the wife.”
Discussing the nature of marriage, Mr Khan highlighted Mohammad's relationship with his 9-year-old wife Aisha as an example of how to act during a union.
“The husband has got to be somebody that’s very tolerant and he’s got to have wisdom. He’s got to know how to speak to a person like this, a 9-year-old wife. How to build a relationship with someone like this,” he added.
During a Q&A session following a separate lecture in 2015 in Ontario, Mr Khan was asked why marriage to 9-year-olds “is allowed”. “What is the real age to get married if it’s so different everywhere you go?” he was asked.
Mr Khan answered: "The maturity level [of 9-year-olds] is completely different to how it used to be. If the prophet did it, you have to believe that it was permissible. It has its time and place.”
In a statement after the details of the seminars came to light, Mr Khan admitted his comments were “inappropriate if used out of context”. He also said there nuances were lost in the translation of Aarbic into English over the word 'obey'.
Toronto Police Association president Mike McCormack agreed Mr Khan “needs to clarify his comment” and said “a lot of our members have an issue with that type of issue”.
Alia Hogben, executive director at the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, told CBC News: “I think it’s appalling. We’ve been fighting for Muslim women’s rights and something like this really sets us back.
“It is not the Muslim view. Some people, as in any other religion or any other religious communities, think women should be quiet and all the rest of it but that is not the general view within Islam."
Mr Khan recently met with Toronto police chief Mark Saunders to discuss the issue, and CBC News reported he will remain in the role pending a full investigation.
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