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Malaysia: Launch of "the Obedient Wife Club"

Publication Date: 
June 3, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR — A group of Malaysian Muslim women say they will fight divorce, domestic violence and other problems -- by appealing to wives to be more obedient, according to one of the organisers.

Maznah Taufik said "The Obedient Wife Club" being launched Saturday is aimed at drawing women who will be taught how to please their husbands better to prevent them from straying or misbehaving.

"We just want to ask all the wives to be obedient wives so that there will be fewer problems in our society," such as infidelity, divorce and domestic violence, she told AFP.

"Obedient wife means they are trying to entertain their husbands, not only taking care of their food and clothes," Maznah said. "They have to obey their husbands. That's the way Islam also asks."

Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country, with some 60 percent of the population practicing the religion, alongside large ethnic Chinese and Indian communities who are mostly Buddhist, Hindu and Christian.

According to local media, the country's divorce rate doubled from 2002 to 2009, with rates higher among Muslims than non-Muslims.

Maznah said it was also the men's responsibility to teach their wives to be obedient.

"Some wives, they just want to get married for leisure but they don't know the responsibility," she said.

"To entertain their husbands is compulsory. If she doesn't do this, the husband will look for another woman... and the house will break down."

Saturday's launch near the capital Kuala Lumpur will include speeches and a show to demonstrate to women how to be good wives, Maznah said, adding that a similar club was set up in Jordan last month.

Maznah is already involved in another controversial venture -- the Ikhwan Polygamy Club, which was launched in 2009 to promote polygamy. Muslim men in Malaysia can take up to four wives.

She is herself in a polygamous marriage, as the second of her husband's two wives.

In 2010, a study by a Muslim activist group found men in polygamous relationships find it difficult to meet the needs of all their wives and children, and that the result is often unhappy and cash-strapped families.

Source: AFP