While Fareed quoted misogynistic and disputed hadiths to support his claims, hard evidence from this country paints a very different picture. A 2007 survey found out that 1 in 3 Maldivian women aged 15-49 years of age have experienced physical or sexual abuse, while 1 in 6 had been sexually abused when they were under 15 years of age. Perpetrators in an overwhelming majority of cases of child abuse and violence against women are men.
It's not clear what Fareed is trying to achieve with this attempt to rouse disrespect and contempt for women. But, given the increased violence that Maldivian women and children live with, Fareed is sending a very dangerous signal to the perpetrators and, society at large.
The underlying reasons for violence and sexual abuse of women are complicated, but social scientist say they relate to the maintenance of hegemonic masculinity, which depends on the sexual, physical and emotional degradation of women. In many cultures, becoming a man and learning to disdain women go hand in hand. Cultural patterns, thus, enable men to learn to instigate and justify the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of women.
Fareed and others like him, notably the 'scholars' of Adhalath Party, are the crudest examples of these patterns at play. Whenever the status of women have been raised in the Maldives in recent times these people have raised objections, usually in the name of 'Islam'. This is to frighten critics into silence. But these same people have ever uttered a word against the high prevalence of child sexual abuse in the Maldives, a fair share of it perpetrated by religious teachers and imams. Notably, not a single religious scholar raised their voice against the recent rape of a 14-year old girl by six men. Although the rapists confessed their crime they remain at large to this day, free to threaten and harass their victim and her family.
Fareed's sermon provides an implicit justification for these rapists, and feeds the disrespect and contempt of women necessary to maintain the cycle of violence against women and child sexual abuse in this country.