- By Edmund DownieEdmund Downie is a Yale University Gordon Grand Fellow currently interning at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. He works on the regional political economy of Asia. Follow him at @ned_downie.
What do chicken-processing factories, noodle factories, and polygamy clubs have in common? Easy — they’re all ventures undertaken by the Malaysian company Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd. Before his death in 2010, the chairman and founder Ashaari Mohamed doubled as the leader of the radical Islamic sect Al-Arqam, banned in 1994 by the state’s National Fatwa Council for what Malaysian newspaper The Star terms "deviationist" teachings. But his passing hasn’t sapped the derring-do of the Global Ikhwan team. Their latest venture deals with that peskiest of pesky social ills — women who, you know, make their own decisions:
A wife must obey and serve her husband like "a first-class prostitute" to keep him from straying and to prevent greater social ills, according to the Obedient Wives’ Club.
The Malaysian branch of the club, launched here yesterday, was formed as an answer to social problems such as infidelity, prostitution, domestic violence and abandoned babies, which its members believed stemmed from a lack of belief in God and the failure of women to keep their husbands content.
The 800 Muslim women who comprise the club have faced a virulent backlash since they announced its creation on June 4. But the response issued this weekend by OWC national director Fauziah Ariffin suggests that the criticism hasn’t really hit home:
I believe we have been misunderstood and misinterpreted. When we said that husbands should treat their wives like first-class prostitutes, we were not putting wives on the same level with prostitutes. We are talking about first-class elite types, not street hooker types.
Our wives provide men with top-level service. However, ordinary prostitutes can only provide good sex, but not love and affection which only a wife can provide.
Oh, I see. Wives should be like Eliot Spitzer’s call girl. Charming.