Wednesday, July 20, 2005

My Left Wing :: Part II: Women in Iraq: We invade and they lose their freedom

SanJoseLady from "My Left Wing" asks what our invasion has done for Iraqi women. The answer may disturb you!

My Left Wing :: Part II: Women in Iraq: We invade and they lose their freedom: "The draft constitution emerging in Iraq will tie the rights of women to Islamic Law. What exactly does this mean? From the LA Times:

Under Islamic law, daughters inherit a lesser share of their fathers' wealth than sons do, and divorce is easy for men, who can simply say three times that they divorce a woman to accomplish it. Women, on the other hand, must go through an elaborate and often embarrassing presentation of domestic circumstances with a cleric.

Worse, this draft constitution seeks to remove the requirement that women hold at least a quarter of the seats in the National Assembly. Women now make up 31 percent of the seats, and if the 25 percent requirment is lifted there is a strong possibility that there will be few if any women elected to office in the new 'Democratic Iraq.'

If that isn't alarming enough, the Times article also points out that the emerging Iraqi government is theocratic, and there are clear indications that both Sunni and Shiite are comfortable with removing the secular laws that protected women under Saddam.
Here is more from the Times article:

Some women in the assembly have begun to circulate a petition to change the new language, and Iraqi women's groups have begun to lobby to change the provisions. But they are expected to meet substantial resistance from clerics, both Shiite and Sunni, who have long wanted to reinstate the practice of resolving domestic matters in religious courts. Men on the committee supported the changes, arguing that it was more fair to eschew percentages. Some argued, somewhat disingenuously, that they would prefer a 50% quota but no one would accept that, so why have any number at all?

And then this:

Similar language on Islamic law is being added to every provision in the constitution after a push by Muslim clerics to emphasize Iraq's identity as an Islamic state.

There can be no 'Democracy' in Iraq if over half the population sees their rights reduced under a 'constitution.' Our invasion of Iraq has created the means to destroy secular law and replace it with religious law which will have grave effects for the women of Iraq and all of the Middle East.

From the International Herald Tribune:

If it holds, the shift away from the more secular and equitable language of the interim constitution would represent a victory for Shiite clerics and religious politicians, who now wield enormous power and had chafed at the influence exercised by the Americans over that earlier document.

The Americans had insisted that Islam be designated as just 'a source' of legislation, for example. Several writers of the new constitution say they intend to, at the very least, designate Islam as 'a main source' of legislation..................................."

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