ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (CBS/AP) Apparently, it is perfectly OK for a man to beat his wife and young children, according to the UAE's highest judicial body, as long as the thrashing doesn't leave any physical marks.
The decision by the Federal Supreme Court shows the strong influence of Islamic law in the Emirates despite its international appeal in which foreign residents greatly outnumber the local population.
The court made the ruling earlier this month in the case of a man who beat his wife and adult daughter. The court stated that the man crossed the line suggested by Sharia Law because the daughter was not a minor and the wife sustained visible injuries.
The beating left the wife with injuries to her lip and teeth and the 23-year-old daughter suffered bruises on her knees and hand. In ruling against the defendant in that case, Chief Justice Falah as Hajeri stated that there were conditions when domestic violence was acceptable, according to the New York Daily News.
But Justice al Hajeri said the man "abused this right of discipline" and therefore was not "exempted from punishment."
Islamic law allows for "discipline" if no marks are left. It also says children who have reached "adulthood" - approximately puberty - cannot be struck.
The ruling was reported Monday in the Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National.