Law reform

The custom of arranged marriages is generally endorsed by South Asian communities of all religious affiliations. The system may have some advantages if due regard is given to the wishes and preferences of the intended spouses, and if dowry considerations do not turn the exercise into a commercial transaction — both very big “ifs.” It is the ugly side of arranged marriages that has made headlines in the British and American press several times in recent years.
One of the most frequent questions I am faced with in the process of my dialogue with men regarding the personal laws and women’s rights is whether or not we, women - think Mehr is a provision which is an unjust imposition on men. They further ask whether or not we, women - who demand equality for ourselves be against this provision?
Three important changes in English law in the past quarter of a century have opened the doors of the English matrimonial Courts to Muslim spouses resident in England. Prior to 1973, the English Courts exercised divorce jurisdiction on the basis of domicile; spouses resident but not domiciled in England could not invoke the jurisdiction of the English Court to terminate their marriage.
Soon after I began my study of the religious life of the Lebanese Shi’a residing in the eastern section of Dearborn, Michigan, I occasionally heard rumors that mut’a (temporary or pleasure marriage) was being encouraged by the religious leaders (shaikhs) in the community.
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 prostitution).
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.
Only the blind overlook the worsening condition of women under the Islamic regime.
Most commentary on the condition of women in the Middle East assigns a central place to the role of Islam. In fact, there have been important variations, as well as persistent similarities, in women’s conditions in Muslim societies. To make sense of the varieties of women’s real, concrete historical experience, we must avoid confusing analytic and polemical goals.

Current writing on women in the Middle East exhibits two equally vigorous, but so far divergent trends.
A ‘Family Code’ law has been introduced which removes many of women’s basic human rights. She also speaks about contraception, the problem of abandoned children and the consequences for women of the insistence on virginity at marriage.

Marie Aimée: I would like to start with this new law, which is known in Algeria under the name “Family Code”, (not the name of it, that is “Law on Personal Status”) a title which is also used in Tunisia and Morocco.
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.
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