A leading Muslim cleric in the United Kingdom said that it is "clearly" impossible for men to rape their wives, and it should not be considered a crime.
Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, president of the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain, told the human rights Web site Samosa, "Sex is part of marriage. In Islamic Sharia, rape is adultery by force."
"So long as the woman is his wife, it cannot be termed as rape," he continued. "It is reprehensible, but we do not call it rape."
Sayeed also claimed many married women who allege rape are lying.
UK police officials responded, saying Sayeed's comments undermine the work they do to get women to report marital rape. Rape within marriage has been illegal in Britain since 1991.