The Mercury

‘Wives should be sex workers to their husbands’

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RAWANG: As a new bride, 22-year-old Ummu Atirah believes she knows the secret to a blissful marriage: obey her husband and ensure he is sexually satisfied.

Ummu and about 800 other Muslim women in Malaysia are members of the “Obedient Wives Club” that is generating controvers­y in one of the most modern and progressiv­e Muslim-majority nations, where many Muslim Malaysian women hold high posts in the government and corporate world.

The new club, launched on Saturday, says it can cure social ills such as prostituti­on and divorce by teaching women to be submissive and keep their men happy in the bedroom. “Islam compels us to be obedient to our husband,” said Ummu.

The club, founded by a fringe Islamic group known as Global Ikhwan, has been dismissed by politician­s and activists as a throwback to medieval times and an insult to modern women of Malaysia. But the group’s activities, which previously included the setting up of a polygamy club, show that pockets of conservati­ve Islamic ideas still thrive.

There is concern that radical groups could garner support among other Muslims, who make up 60 percent of the 28 million population, and upset decades of racial and religious harmony.

“There are still many Muslim women who are ignorant of their rights,” said Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, a female Muslim minister in charge of family policy.

Rohayah Mohamad, a founder of the club, said: “A good wife is a good sex worker to her husband.”

She said that indirectly, “disobedien­t wives are the cause for upheaval in this world” because men were not happy at home. Authoritie­s say Malaysia’s divorce rate doubled from 2002 to 2009. – Sapa-AP

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