Editor’s note: This famous short story by the late
Ismat Chugtai (1915-1991) was written in 1941 and banned by the then State
Government on charges of obscenity. Ismat Chugtai challenged this decision and
won her law suit.
In 1979 the Islamic regime of
Pakistan introduced changes in the law of rape, providing Islamic standards of
proof and punishment for this crime. The law concerning rape was made part of
the ordinance, called The Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, VII
of 1979 (the term zina encompasses adultery, fornication, rape and
At the beginning of the
women’s emancipation struggle among the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent
access to education and the campaign against Purdah were the main points.
The late nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries were
characterized by considerable debate on these issues in the Muslim community,
throughout India. The reform effort by men on behalf of women was sparked by the
considerable progress made by other communities in India and was inspired by
changes taking place in Muslim countries of the Middle East.
Farida Rahman MP’s Private Member’s
Bill on a proposed amendment to section V1 of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance
1961 has become a much-talked-about subject because of its unconventional and
contentious nature. Particularly, various women’s activist groups have shown
tremendous interest in it. The subject of the bill raises the whole issue of
women’s rights of general interests.
We seek to have a large international response
to stress to the Secretary- General the outrage that women feel. We also want to
show our solidarity with our sisters in Afghanistan, who have been asking what
we in the international community are doing to assist them. Therefore, it is
important to have NGOs from as many countries as possible sign-on to this
The research project on Women,
Religion and Social Change in Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka currently being
undertaken by ICES provides a unique opportunity to explore the cross-cultural
dimensions of continuing tradition and the process of change as these relate to
women and in this the role of religion. A grey area of uncertainty, prejudice,
and very little research, the role of religion in determining the possible for
individual actors, particularly women, has rarely received the attention it
The legal status of the Muslim women (1) in Bangladesh is defined by the principles
of Sharia through Muslim Personal Law along with the general law which is
non-religious and secular in its character. The Muslim personal law covers the
field of marriage, divorce, maintenance, guardianship of children and
inheritance whereas the general law covers the rights under the Constitution,
penal codes, the civil and criminal procedure codes, evidence act etc.
On 7th June 1988, the members of
the controversially elected parliament of Bangladesh passed the Constitution
(8th Amendment) Bill imposing Islam as the state religion of the country which
broke away from another religious-based country - Pakistan - only 17 years ago.
The four pillars of the Constitution of Bangladesh originally were nationalism,
democracy, secularism and socialism. Secularism and socialism were dropped from
the Constitution in 1977 to be replaced by ‘total faith in Allah’ and ‘social