Sunday, 7 February 2016

The plight of young girls and women under Islam

The plight of women as second class citizens under Islamic theology has been highlighted once again by a new report published by the United Nations. This time (and for about time) Iran has come under scrutiny Justice for Iran reports:

The UN has criticised Iran for forcing girls to wear hijab (Islamic veil) at the very young age of 7 irrespective of their religious affiliations. Following a review of the situation in Iran, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) urged the country to “review its hijab laws and regulations and ensure that the right of girls to wear or not to wear hijab is fully respected.”

The UN watchdog for children’s rights condemned Iran for the pre-defined ages of puberty for girls at 9 and for boys at 15 lunar years and asked the State to increase the minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys to 18 years. The CRC also stated that an increasing number of “girls at the age of 10 years or younger” are “subjected to child and forced marriages to much older men.” and urged the Iranian government to “to increase the legal age of marriage to 18 years and criminalize marital rape.”
The report continues:

The UN body said it was concerned about child sexual exploitation and abuse committed under the Iranian law which allows for a marriage between the “father and adopted child, paving a path for sexual abuse of children.” In its recommendations, the committee urged to ensure that those responsible for the approval of forced and child marriage, including judges, parents, guardians, religious or traditional leaders are held accountable.

Meanwhile there is some good news for women in Algeria. :

A new Algerian law came into effect this week punishing violence against women and sexual harassment, in a victory for feminist groups that had fought for years for the legislation.

The law, effective from Monday, had been blocked by the Senate for eight months amid resistance from conservative Muslims who view it as interference in family affairs.

The new law if implemented correctly will result in heavy sentencing. The Star Tribune reports:

If a domestic attack prevents the woman from working for over 15 days, the perpetrator faces two to five years in prison.

If a woman is mutilated, or the violence causes loss of eyesight or a limb, or any sort of permanent damage, the law says the attackers could face from 10 to 20 years' incarceration.

However there remains a long journey for the vast majority of women in the Muslim world before their basic human rights take precedence over medieval , male dominated theology.

This means fighting for the complete separation of religion and the state.


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