The scarcely believable announcement from cleric Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah has outraged human rights campaigners
Men in Saudi Arabia “can eat their wives if they are suffering severe hunger” under a bizarre new fatwa reportedly announced by a religious leader in the country.
Saudi Arabian grand mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah allegedly issued the guidelines to allow a husband to eat his wife’s body parts in extreme circumstances.
The cleric is reported to have said the ruling represents the “sacrifice of women and obedience to her husband” – but campaigners are understandably outraged.
The announcement has sparked major concerns about the already well-documented poor treatment of women in the country.
A statement reportedly from the cleric’s office said: “A fatwa attributed to the Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, which allows a man to eat his wife or parts of her body if the husband was afflicted with a severe hunger, raised concern and debate over social media since yesterday evening.
“The fatwa is interpreted as evidence of the sacrifice of women and obedience to her husband and her desire for the two to become one.”
The controversial Muslim leader has previously called on all churches to be destroyed under Islamic law.
But his latest declaration is yet to appear on his official website and no confirmation of its legitimacy has been made.
Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia are notoriously scarce.
Until 2011 they were banned from voting or running in public elections and earlier this year all female television presenters were told they must adhere to a strict Islamic dress code.
The country has an abysmal human rights record, including against women, and females are banned from going anywhere in the country, or even opening a bank account, without a male chaperon.
Punishments for breaking such trivial laws include public lashings and humiliations.