Malaysian authorities plan to ban a book about sex published by a group of Muslim women who call themselves the Obedient Wives Club and advocate subservience to husbands, an official said yesterday.
The Malay-language book titled Islamic Sex is not available in stores, but is believed to have been read by hundreds of members of the club formed this year by a small Malaysian Islamic sect that practices polygamy.
The book contains no explicit photographs, but was written by the club’s 56-year-old founder to -describe her experiences and opinions on marriage. It has passages on how couples should physically and spiritually approach sex and claims most women only satisfy 10 percent of their husbands’ sexual needs.
The government’s Islamic affairs department studied the 115-page book and recommended banning it because it could cause confusion among Malaysia’s Muslim majority about acceptable religious teachings, a Home Ministry official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.
Authorities have not decided when to formally ban the book, but people caught in possession of it could be fined up to 5,000 ringgit (US$1,600), the official said. Anyone who makes copies of it for sale can be imprisoned for three years and fined 20,000 ringgit.
Representatives of the Obedient Wives Club did not immediately answer calls to them yesterday.
Club leaders showed the book to journalists last month in an attempt to dispel what they called misconceptions that it was obscene and demeaning. They said the book was intended to be a spiritual guide exclusively for club members to help them comprehend sex better.
Many Malaysians have denounced the club, saying it makes a mockery of modern gender roles.
Club leaders have said a wife should serve as a “good sex worker” and a “whore” to her husband.
The Obedient Wives Club is believed to have at least 800 members in Malaysia and has established branches abroad in Indonesia, Singapore, Jordan and Britain. Many club members are in polygamous marriages, insisting the practice helps husbands to avoid committing adultery. Islam allows men to take up to four wives.