Muslim Wheel of Domestic Violence

Using Isolation

  • husband says that as the “qawwamun” (manager) of his wife, he has the God-given right to control her every movement, who she sees and talks to, what she thinks, what she reads
  • wives are made to get permission to use the telephone, go grocery shopping, visit parents
  • even if marriage contract gives her full mobility, husband ignores it
  • Minimizing, Denying, Blaming
  • directing children to lie about/trivializing the abuse
  • denying the abuse by calling it “discipline”
  • saying the wife caused the abuse
  • tells wife that divulging episodes of abuse equals violation of her Islamic responsibility to respect her husband’s privacy and God will condemn her for it

Using Children

  • children told they are being beaten to prevent becoming too “American”
  • father threatens to get custody from Islamic court, send children overseas, marry them off young or kidnap them
  • children’s trauma symptoms used as excuse to batter wife
  • father encourages children to insult, disrespect mother
  • husband says he has to abuse mother to stop child abuse

Using Male Privilege

  • husband’s dominance and inflexibility extolled as Qu’ranically mandated requiring obedience in all matters
  • wife’s opinions, aspirations, plans considered as “Western” and un-Islamic
  • children verbally/physically abused as “right” of Muslim father
  • wife encouraged to fear husband
  • repeats bogus Hadith [religious text] about women bowing to men

Using Economic Abuse

  • refusing to allow wife to get education or training
  • refusing to let her get a job
  • demanding she quit a job
  • taking her entire paycheck while Islam allows her to keep it all
  • hiding family income
  • Using Coercion and Threats
  • threatening to marry another wife
  • threatening “God-ordained” wife beating (Qu’ran 4:34)
  • threatening to leave her without money
  • threatening to spread the word that she is an adulteress
  • making her drop charges to preserve extended family’s reputation

Using Intimidation

  • grossly dirtying her kitchen several times a day
  • having the local Imam [clergyman] tell the wife that the abuse is her fault
  • customs are disguised as religion
  • hiding/destroying important documents
  • taking all her jewelry and selling it
  • apologizing to others for her disobedience
  • collecting, displaying weapons
  • stalking

Using Emotional Abuse

  • belittling/calling wife unfit Muslim mother
  • making fun of her inadequate Islamic knowledge
  • calling her names/calling her crazy
  • making her believe she is incapable of directing her own life
  • telling abused women they must be quiet, docile, obedient to uphold family honor
  • lying to her extended family in letters
  • saying her lovemaking is inferior to Americans



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