N.J. Family Court Judge refused Restraining Order because Muslim Religion Requires Wive to Comply with Husband's Needs

WALL, NJ - Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini expressed disgust today that a New Jersey woman’s application for a permanent restraining order against her abusive ex-husband required the Appellate Court to overturn a Family Court judge’s decision that denied her request because the then-husband believed his religion compelled wives to comply with their husbands’ sexual needs.

Hudson County Family Court Judge Joseph Charles Jr. ruled there was clear proof the husband engaged in nonconsensual sex with his wife four times, but that there was no criminal intent or desire because the man was operating under his belief that his actions were not prohibited by his religious precepts.

“ New Jersey has been in the forefront of human rights issues  and it is unconscionable that a judge would give greater weight to religious  rules over the basic rights of a human being and the laws of this state and  country,” Angelini, R-Monmouth, said. “I’m relieved that the Appellate Court reversed this nauseating decision and noted that the judge took ‘an unnecessarily dismissive view’ of sexual violence, but it’s frightening that this matter had to rise to this level.”

Angelini said the Governor's Advisory Council Against Sexual Violence has been proactive in trying to educate people about sexual violence in hopes of preventing instances like this. She encouraged everyone to review the council’s materials available at www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/dow/programs/gacasv.html.

“We have made great strides toward ending sexual abuse, but this court case shows that even in New Jersey, in the 21st Century, there is still much work to do,” Angelini said. “We all need to be better informed and more vigilant about making sure that sexual abuse is never committed, tolerated or ignored.”