Australia Muslim leader says beating women is permitted

The president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Keysar Trad, has gone on air to say that beating women is permissible, although it should be the "last resort".

Speaking to Sky News presenter Andrew Bolt on Wednesday, he defended a modern interpretation of a verse from the Koran which read: "It is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive areas."

Mr Trad said this was the "last resort".

"What this verse is saying really is playing on the psychology of the man saying violence is a last resort," he said.

"The first thing you must do is counselling ... Before you even consider using your hand, before you consider an act of violence, have you checked box number one, which is counselling, have you checked box number two?

"So what does counselling entail? Maybe next time you should bring her a bunch of flowers, maybe next time you should bring her a box of chocolates, maybe next time you should take her out to dinner."

After his comments drew outrage, Mr Trad went on the Channel 10 morning show Studio 10 on Thursday to defend his statements.

"Maybe I did not choose my words very carefully," he said.

"I have been defending women's rights as far as I can from my position as a member of a minority. I have a sermon tomorrow and that will be part of my sermon, to clearly and categorically condemn violence.

"We are a peaceful religion."