Saturday, December 3, 2011

Iranian women do not like the new "Family Protection Bill"

And no wonder, the original bill re-enforces the Qur'anic tenet that allows Muslim men to take up to four wives(4-3), and they don't have to ask permission of any of the other wives to do this. Isn't that nice of Muhammad, to allow for this kind of gender equality.

This may blow up in the faces of the ruling party, we shall see.

From Payvand Iran News December 1

Iranian women fight controversial 'polygamy' bill

On a summer night in 2008, the wives of some Iranian members of Parliament started receiving phone calls. “Would you mind if I married your husband - just for a week?” asked the female voice on the end of the line.

The callers argued that taking another wife is a Muslim man’s right. By allowing it, the MPs’ wives would be performing a good Islamic deed. Some of the wives hung up in shock.

But marrying the MPs was the last thing the callers actually wanted. In reality, they were women’s rights activists opposed to a controversial “Family Protection Bill” which the Iranian government proposed in 2007.

The activists say they discovered that at least 65 male members of the country’s 290-strong parliament had two or more wives. This is despite the fact that polygamy contravenes the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Iran has ratified. Article 23 stipulates that states must ensure that men and women have equal rights when marrying or at the dissolution of marriage.

If passed, “The Family Protection Bill” would reduce Iranian women’s rights even further, allowing men to take up to three additional wives without the consent or knowledge of their first spouse. Iranian law currently allows Muslim men to have up to four wives, but only after obtaining a court order demonstrating the permission of the first spouse and his ability to treat them all equally. For women who depend entirely on their husband’s income, sharing that with a second, third or fourth wife can mean severe financial hardship.

According to Shi’a Islam, Iranian men can already take any number of “temporary wives” without informing their first wife. The length of a temporary marriage is defined in advance and can last anything from hours to decades. Temporary wives generally face social ostracism, and their children may face difficulties in accessing public services such as education because if the marriage is unregistered, it may be hard for the mother to prove paternity.

Roya Kashefi of the Association of Iranian Researchers works closely with women’s rights activists in Iran.

“In Islam, family is the most important element within society,” she says.

Which Qur'an is she reading?

Read it all

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