Illustration: DysonIllustration: Dyson

Muslim clerics need to work harder to understand the needs and rights of Muslim women in Australian society.

TAXI drivers around the world are known as a source of comment and (sometimes) wisdom. So when I found myself in a taxi driven by a Lebanese Muslim, I decided to seek his opinion on reports in this newspaper about discrimination against women by Muslim clerics. After some preliminaries, he said: “Your hijab is not proper. You have some hair showing.”

“Why are Lebanese men always so bossy?” I replied. I showed him The Age article when we were stopped at a red

light. “That’s nonsense,” he said. “Sure, some imams are pretty ignorant, but

they are usually the ones who have appointed themselves and say all sorts of stupid things, but most imams try to be helpful.”

The report last week by the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council of Victoria drew some alarming conclusions. It said some imams condoned rape within marriage, domestic violence, polygamy, welfare fraud and the exploitation of women.


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