Turkey’s top religious body sparks Twitter ire with fatwas on violence against women

Women in Turkey took to Twitter on Wednesday to blast Turkey’s top religious authority over a series of fatwas, in which the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has advised women to accept violence at the hands of their husbands and use discussion to solve their problems.

“If it becomes insufferable, then consult with your elders,” the mufti office of Diyanet in the central province of Konya stated the an Islamic legal announcement, which was in response to an online question on domestic violence.

“Young people nowadays can just end things (quickly). We advise you to consult with senior members of the family to overcome this,’’ it said.

A mufti office in the central province of Çorum advised a woman, who expressed fear that her husband would eventually hit her, against panicking, Deutsche Welle Turkish reported.

“If your husband attempts to hit you, ask him (why) - in an appropriate language. Because this isn’t a very big problem, you can solve it by discussion,’’ the mufti office said. “For example, let’s say you made something he likes for dinner, ask him calmly over tea.’’

“If (he) hits you, don’t react. Remove yourself from the environment and go to your room,’’ another mufti office responded online to a question on domestic violence.

Diyanet’s statements arrive amid heated debates in Turkey over gender-based violence after the gruesome murder of a 27-year-old university student at the hands of her ex-boyfriend this week and the government’s plans for withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe human rights treaty against domestic and gender-based violence.

Turkey’s Twitter users wasted no time to express their rage while poking fun at the religious authority.

“If your husband attempts to hit you, then rip that arm off and throw it in front of Diyanet,’’one Twitter user said.

“Ladies if your husband attempts to hit you, ask him why while giving him his tea, but don’t forget to add rat poison to that tea first,’’ another Twitter user said. 

“If your husband attempts to hit you, talk to your lawyer in an appropriate language,’’ one user commented.

“Ladies, there is no sin in shoving the teapot in your husband’s backside if he attempts to hit you,’’ another user said, in a self-made fatwa on the matter.