There is a tendency in the West to exaggerate the gap between the evolution of Western family laws and the evolution of family laws in Muslim countries. By comparing the changes in the legal definitions of marriage and the relationship of the spouses in French law, the secular laws of Turkey, and the laws of North African countries, this article reveals similar patterns in legal evolution on the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean.
In contemporary debates regarding Muslim identity in South Asia no issue is as prominent or as hotly contested as the character and social role of Islamic law. Though the controversies are directly relevant to present day concerns the questions themselves are neither new nor innocent of colonial influence. The existing corpus of Islamic law in the subcontinent owes a great deal to the legacy of colonial jurists who systematised and gave shape to Anglo-Muhammadan law over many decades.
Part of a series which seeks to systematically list and document information on the worldwide rise of political movements known as ‘religious fundamentalist’ and their consequences for women, it also lists initiatives and writings which counter such movements. The term communalism is widely used across South Asia to describe the systematic misuse of religion for political purposes.
The international network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), was initially formed in response to several incidents urgently requiring action in 1984, all of which related to Islam, laws and women. In Algeria, three feminists were arrested and jailed without trial, then kept incommunicado for seven months. Their crime was having discussed with other women the government's proposal to introduce a new set of laws on the family (Code de la Famille) that severely reduced women's rights in this field.