Muslim community leader explains why he called domestic violence a "last resort".

A prominent Muslim community leader has been hauled through the headlines this morning over an interview in which he referred to domestic violence as “a last resort”.

Keysar Trad, President of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, made the comments on Sky News program The Bolt Report on Wednesday night after being questioned about a verse of the Quran that deals with spousal conflict.

“I’ve studied that verse in depth and I’ve discussed it with a number of Islamic scholars,” Mr Trad told host Andrew Bolt. “What this verse is saying is playing on the psychology of the man, saying ‘violence is a last resort’. The first thing you must do is counselling.”

The verse is designed, he said, to have a “calming effect”. That before a man even considers raising his hand against his wife he should “bring her a box of chocolates” or take her out to dinner to resolve the issue.

Viewers, social media users and the press pounced, many accusing Mr Trad of trivialising or even condoning domestic violence.

But speaking to Mamamia this morning, the Sydney man denied the accusation and said he simply wasn’t permitted enough time during the Bolt interview to properly explain the issue.

“I would like to make it very clear that, no, Islam does not condone violence against women,” he said.

“What I tried to elaborate, even though I unfortunately used the words ‘last resort’, it’s not a resort that you’re ever meant to get to.”


The verse in question, 4:34, is commonly interpreted as, "But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance - [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them."

But echoing his assertion during the original interview, Mr Trad argues that the way the verse reads - that violence is a last resort in conflict resolution - is not how it is meant to be practised.

"What the verse is trying to get you to do is [encourage men] to calm down and not get violent, and talk the issues out. And when you talk the issue out it gives both parties the opportunity to decide whether they want to stay together or not," he told Mamamia.

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It's all too easy with any religious text, he says, to take what it says on face value.

"The Koran is a historic text, and you can not change that text but you can look at what it means," he said.

"All I can do is explain. If someone asks me [about a verse] I tell them, 'This is how it's meant to be implemented, that this is how it is understood by Muslims'. When you look at any law, you look at how it is meant to be implemented and how it is meant to be understood."

Watch the full segment here.

Having been faced with this morning's backlash, Mr Trad says he can appreciate why his comments may have caused such a reaction.

"Look, maybe I should have said, 'Look I'd rather not comment on this topic', that may have been the wisest answer," he told Mamamia.

"Maybe I should learn to do that in the future."