Coburg's self-styled cleric Samir Abu Hamza said despite Australian rape laws it was impossible for a man to rape his wife even if she refused to have sex with him.
In a recorded lecture entitled "The Keys to a Successful Marriage", delivered to his male worshippers but now broadcast on the internet and viewed by several thousand people, Mr Hamza said Islamic law allowed men to hit their wives as a last resort, but they were not to make them bleed or become bruised.
He said under Islamic law, as described in a koranic verse, it was a man's right to demand sex from his wife whenever he felt like it.
"If the husband was to ask her for a sexual relationship and she is preparing the bread on the stove she must leave it and come and respond to her husband, she must respond," Mr Hamza told his male followers on the video sermon.
Baking bread? I am thinking Jack Nicholson, Jessica Lange, in the Postman Always Rings twice?
He then mocked Australia's criminal laws, which required consent for sex to be lawful. "In this country if the husband wants to sleep with his wife and she does not want to and she hasn't got a sickness or whatever, there is nothing wrong with her she just does not feel like it, and he ends up sleeping with her by force . . . it is known to be as rape," Mr Hamza said. "Amazing, how can a person rape his wife?"
In the contradictory sermon, delivered in Melbourne or Sydney about 2003 but posted late last year, Mr Hamza initially instructs his listeners "don't hit your wife". But he goes on to say exactly how men should hit their wives, according to his interpretation of Islamic teachings.
He said Islam cursed "those people who hit the animal on the face, (but) what about hitting your wife?"
"First of all advise them," he said. "You beat them . . . but this is the last resort.