Stories of Life: Domestic violence

The following article was written by Marij Uijt den Bogaard , a former social worker working for the Antwerp municipality. She was fired after writing reports warning about radicalization in the Muslim community. The article originally appeared on Brussels Journal in Dutch.


Fatima looks embittered.

'You're so naive,' she says, 'tell that to the marines, that goes for you!"

Fatima is a good story-teller, and the subject is the meaning of marriage in traditional Islam; she talks about overcrowded refuge homes with an ever growing representation of her sisters, Muslim women, escaping the violence and severe conflicts inside families. The women are homeless and end up in refuge homes; where they now make up 53% of the inhabitants.

A Muslim background often plays an important role in violence and severe conflicts inside 'immigrant' families, as a result of the Muslim notion of marriage in traditional Islam. According to Fatima Muslim marriage for most immigrant women is a final destination. And this is nothing more or less than a business contract. It entails a certain number of rights and duties, for the husband as well as for the wife, she explains. Children are part of this contract.

Women coming here (the Netherlands) via marriage, grew up in villages with a traditional way of living. Existence knew in the homelands little stimuli for development. No luxury or comfort. Women come to our country because of the difference in prosperity, away from the futureless villages.

For Muslims marriage is obligatory. Thus, if it comes to marriage, then preferably with a man who can offer a leather 3-piece suite, car and washing-machine. So they come and marry, have children, as part of the contract, an arranged marriage. They are not accustomed to think for themselves. Where should they have learned that? Everything is fixed in advance for women in the traditional Islamic village life. Survival depends upon development of qualities like obedience to the parents, Koran and later the husband, performing one's obligations.

From birth to death others regulate her life. Love? That will come later, when children are born. Or not, and then mothers see children as a burden, an inevitable part of the contract. In a loveless marriage upbringing is limited to giving primary care. In traditionally arranged marriages, concluded only for economic reasons, this is too often the case. Primary care means clothes, food and shelter. Affection and giving an education is not included.

As long as the whole family behaves inside its own subgroup , the virtual village in Antwerp North, Borgerhout or other suburbs requiring "particular attention" (aandachtwijk), where many import-brides from traditional villages land, all is well. There's a taboo about problems like violence inside traditional Islamic families. Everyone knows about it, "you" as well as "we", Fatima says.

Is the above mentioned story about an Islamic marriage and its connection with domestic violence stigmatizing? Do I want to insult? No, this description of the situation of women from Turkish and Moroccan origin comes from the many Fatimas I have talked to during my fieldwork in one of the area's for special attention. Their sisters overcrowd the refuge homes, just like the situation is in the Netherlands. Through often arranged marriages, blinded by the leather 3-piece suite, Fatima's sisters land here in Flanders. Within our Flemish cities there are several virtual villages where the prevailing opinions and life patterns are the same as those in the Rif mountains or in the Turkish countryside.

The Fatima's never learned there to stand up for themselves, or to insist on equal rights. Self-determination does not exist. Islam decides what is the role and duty or protection of a women. Her life and the quality of her life is dependent on her husband and nothing can change that, not even in Borgerhout of Antwerp North. The husband rules over her right for self determination. He decides whether she may or may not go out, and that also goes for getting a driving license or making a trip to the other side of the town. Her freedom is for him to decide. And how about it, if Fatima wants more?

Then, sooner than in a Flemish family, physical violence may occur. Because Islam opens it up for interpretation, leaves the possibility open. And it is allowed by her direct social environment.

Does this mean that every Muslim husband beats his wife? No, of course not, but it does mean that a little to many Muslims do. Refuge homes are overcrowded! It also means that Muslims justify this as allowed by the Prophet, Koran, imam and Islam. Whenever they address Flemings or the media, spokesmen of the Muslim condemn this, of course. But this does not mean that they urge revision of sexist texts of the Koran within their own subgroups. Nor preventive campaigns are organized against violence on women by immigrant moderates.

In an interview with The Brussels Journal, Theodore Dalrymple already put his finger on the fact that inside our western society there are groups of people living in a totalitarian climate. God forbid that we allow totalitarian enclaves to grow in Flanders! If we do tolerate this, these enclaves will flood us, and we will loose our freedom. So we should not evade the discussion with the traditional Muslims about the results of economical migration via marriage and domestic violence on the grounds of the set phrases and contra-arguments. We do not want to stigmatise, but we know that Fatima is right. Marriage-migration comes down to economic aspects and leads to overcrowded refuge homes with women seeking refuge against serious conflicts and domestic violence. Result of arranged marriages on economic grounds, with an increase of every form of social underprivileged poverty, as appear from school drop-outs, poor positions on the labour market and overcrowded sanctuaries.

Of course, women in the virtual villages talk among themselves about these and other problems.

Once a young woman with headscarf asked my advice. Her husband used co come home in the most impossible hours and then dinner had to be ready, or she risked a severe admonition to hurry up! The Islamic advice of one of her sisters was: in the first place read the Koran often, and kindly but restrictedly draw the attention if her husband to the fact that he ought to behave like a good Muslim and that her opinion should be observed also. And above all, pray to Allah.

I hope that women in the refuge homes see the difference between Flemish assistance, based on legal rights, and Islamic advice. For this difference is a socially important discussion, as spokesmen of all sorts and conditions of men undoubtedly will claim that those overcrowded refuge homes came into being because the normal assistance did not sufficiently take into account the cultural background of Muslims in general. In other words: again society is to blame, the threshold for assistance is too high! Assistance ought to be more directed on islamic customs? For the sake of women, I hope not!

We dare not breathe a word about reality, when husbands slap women because dinner is not ready on the table. He can do that, she should read the Koran mentioning that right. We also don't say that assistance is especially not accessible because it lies outside the virtual village.

Without a proper knowledge of language, it is difficult to travel independently. For that reason social support that openly disapproves of violence always remains unattainable for the women who, fleeing domestic violence of traditional Muslims, land homeless in refuge homes.

Whenever the media report these problems, they immediately put the finger on questions of exclusion from the labour market and housing. Nobody ever mentions the low level of independence of these women, their low education, their restricted knowledge of language, limiting their chances for a job, and their growing numbers in social housing. They always point to society and the holy trinity of discrimination, racism and exclusion. Never to the influence of Islamic, traditional culture and convictions in the family and the life of women. Even less do they mention the social responsibility we all bear.

Apart from overcrowded refuge homes, as a result of our tolerance, helpless people are killed. Five children, victims of a mad woman who, according to her sister in the media could not cope with the lovelessness of her contract. And a father, who did not understand what is was all about, in light of his absence during a month in Morocco. Who wishes this fate to a parent, be it a father or a mother? Nobody.

But what do we do, so tolerant as we are. We look the other way! Sure of our business – understanding culture and convictions is good – fits into the leftist way of thinking. Whoever disagrees with this, is completely wrong, is at the least a dung-beetle or a racist. "Violence is not at all colour-bound, is no exception in all sorts of families", says the Left-wing. Yes, true, but not with approval of the social environment or based upon fundamental disparity, seen out of convictions as a right of the man over the women.

Of course we do not point our finger to a deeply distressed man, who lost five of his children, or to the connection between culture and convictions. And certainly not to the possible connection with this hypothesis and the mother's action, who took her children with her on her voyage to death. Human grief never has a colour. But that does not free us from our social responsibility to put this theme on the agenda. To resist taboos on what can or can not be discussed. And to form, starting from a realistic view, a correct image about cause and consequence. About the position of women inside traditional Islam and overcrowded refuge homes. Past the spokesmen and tittering women with headscarves and wisecracks, claiming that this "is not Islam". For it most certainly is, in light of reality. Others Fatima is right when she says "tell this to the marines".
Time for a little less naivety and more openness about the rules of the game in our society, applied to everybody, regardless of origin and above every ideology.

Source: Brussels Journal (Dutch)

See also: Stories of Life: Speaking Dutch, Stories of Life: Working with a Moroccan Colleague


ChrisLA said...

Knowledge is power. The more knowledge victims and social workers have about the nature of Muslim domestic violence, the better they will be at coping with it and defeating it. A Canadian psychologist, Dr. Sharifa Alkhateeb, has developed the "Muslim Wheel of Domestic Violence" which illuminates the surprisingly broad scope of abuse within families -- including abuse of the children. It can be viewed at

It should be translated and used in every aid office dealing with Muslim families.

Anonymous said...

This is a typical case of Islamaphobic Terrorism and desperate measures by a threatened civilisation. Domestic Violence is present in every society and every civilisation in the history, but it seems that here in the west domestic violence only happens in Islamic families. It truly is a sad day for the western civilisation and the starting of the end of Great Europe.

This news makes me laugh and I really cant believe the west is actually making this an issue think they can bring Islamic down fall..

BBwwwwaaaahh hhhhaaaawwwahaaahh

Anonymous said...

infidal & is a typical islamo moron. It's clear that the vast majority of abused women are from the islamic side. So are the vast majorities of honor killings. and europe is becoming infested with these lowlives from islamic hellholes of the world.

personalrep1 said...

The greatest myth that’s been created concerning Islam is that of the great silent majority of moderate Muslims. THERE ARE NO MODERATE MUSLIMS.

How can any Normal person read the Koran with it’s language of pure hate, terror, violence – a blue print of murder, war, slaughter and not immediately realize that these are not the words/teachings of any ALLAH – not the teachings of any ALLAH - The Creator of the Universe - a God of Peace and Goodness but the words and teachings of a 7th century Arab chieftain – Muhammad.

All Muslims believe that every word of the Koran is the divine word of ALLAH. Not only is the Koran the divine word of ALLAH but the LAWS OF ALLAH TO BE OBEYED WITHOUT QUESTION.

To any rational, normal person reading these Kornic verses (and these are just a small sample of the 1000’s and 1000.s of the total teachings of hate, terror, cruelty, depravity etc that are Islam.) the claim by Muslims that they are reading the words, teachings, laws of ALLAH is insanity. There is no Islamic fundamentalism, Islamic fascism, political Islam, jihadists etc who have hijacked the religion. There has been no hijacking. These demented souls are following exactly the teachings of the Koran – they are following in the footsteps of their founder – the man of evil – Muhammad. In the end – IT’S ALL ABOUT ISLAM.

How can you be a normal person and believe in a religion that preaches a Paradise of big breasted, big eyed sexual nymphs called Hurs that you can molest with eternal hard ons for all eternity in the presense of God who teaches you how to engage in orges, group sex etc.

How can you be normal and believe that by fulfilling Kornic teaching 9:111- “Lo! Allah hath bought from the believers their lives and their wealth because the Garden will be theirs: they shall fight in the way of Allah and shall slay and be slain” you will go to this demented sexual whorehose of God and not directly to hell and damnation.

9:111 is the teaching that has been used by Muhammad and his lieutenants to mobilize the suicide bombers, the beheaders, the jihadists to kill and slaughter millions. An estimated 270,000,000 people have been murdered by Islam because of 9:111 over the past 1400 years.

No ALLAH would ever teach 9:111 for if ALLAH gave such a law He would be the greatest killer in all the universe – not an ALLAH of love and peace and goodness but a mass murderer on the scale of a Hitler or Stalin or Muhammad.
No ALLAH would ever create the depraved Paradise of Islam described as:
“Men with protracted erections and engaging themselves in sex present a scene worth watching: most of them, if not all, remain locked, like the dogs, with the Hurs and the young boys for a protracted period of time. Lying on the top of the Hurs (this position changes, on the basis of the men’s fancy), and riding the boys from their back, they create a scene that no human has seen before in his lifetime. In a sentence, it is a mass orgy.
Allah loves orgy, but it does not cause arousal to His own sexual desires, as He is impotent. He, however, visits His honored guests from time to time to make sure they have been doing fine in the Gardens. He helps them with guidance where they need it in order to make their stay in them most pleasurable. After all, this is what He had promised them all along. “
Larry Houle

Anonymous said...


THe prophet of Islam had said that no one knows what paradise looks like. His descriptions of heaven were made to appeal to humans. If Muslims really believed they would get 72 virgins when they died, the whole world would have exploded from millions of suicide bombers.

By the way, there is a growing grass roots movement ((many are non-Muslim)) that is questioning the official investigation of 9/11

Anonymous said...

This is a description of heaven from the Koran.

"They shall recline on jewelled couches face to face, and there shall wait on them immortal youths with bowls and ewers and a cup of purest wine (that will neither pain their heads nor take away their reason); with fruits of their own choice and flesh of fowls that they relish. And theirs shall be the dark-eyed houris, chaste as hidden pearls: a guerdon for their deeds... We created the houris and made them virgins, loving companions for those on the right hand..."

Muslims believe the Koran to be the word of their god. Not Muhammad. So according to you the muslim god is a liar.