Outcry over Muslim clerics’ order that woman marry rapist

Agence France Presse

Lucknow, June 16:

A man accused of raping his daughter-in-law in a north Indian village has been arrested, police said today, amid a growing outcry over an order by local Muslim clerics that the woman marry her rapist and treat her husband as her son. Ali Mohammed was arrested at Charthawal village in the Muzafarnagar district of Uttar Pradsh state and appeared in court today, district police chief Amrindra Kumar Sengar said. He was remanded in custody for 14 days, another police officer said. He added that Mohammed had claimed his daughter-in-law had consented to having sex with him. Local Muslim clerics had said the rape had annulled the woman’s marriage to her husband and had ordered that she marry her father-in-law. “Her father-in-law has used her and she must marry him,” one of the clerics said, citing Islamic Sharia law. “Whatever takes place now, she will remain the symbolic mother to her husband.” Another cleric said the woman had been party to a criminal act and she, too, should be punished. But an Islamic scholar said the rulings by local clerics are not legally binding. “The cleric is acting as an arbitrator, he has no judicial power. Both parties have to accept the decision voluntarily.”