A ruling from the Federal Supreme Court of the United Arab Emirates was announced on Monday, October 18, 2010, where the Court found that it is okay for a man to beat his wife or child in order to discipline them, he just can’t leave any marks. The defendant had beaten his wife and 23 year-old daughter leaving the wife with injuries to her lips and teeth and the daughter suffered bruises to her knees and hands. While the Court’s ruling went against the defendant, Chief Justice Falah as Hajeri said there were instances where domestic violence was acceptable: as long as no physical marks are left behind and children who have reached adulthood (approximately puberty) cannot be struck.
The legal system of the UAE is far more progressive (by western standards) than those of most Middle-Eastern nations. For example, women are allowed to drive cars and alcohol consumption in permitted. This is not to be unexpected in a country where international resident outnumber the local population, due primarily to the UAE’s position as one of the largest produced or oil in the world. However, the UAE is still largely influenced by Islamic law and the Court’s ruling is consistent with Sharia law. Given it’s international status, should the UAE by expected to meet the societal and legal norms of the west? Doesn’t it have a right as a sovereign nation to conduct its affairs as it seems fit?