Afghani Women See a Setback

Afghani women have seen another set back to their rights this weekend, as a law banning the violence against women failed to pass through the Afghani Parliament.

The Afghani parliament agreed to hear the law again at a later date but it was not said when the date would be. President Hamid Karzai had passed the law be decree and was waiting for the approval of the parliament to put it in place.

The members of the parliament refused to let the law pass because they believe it violates Islamic law.

Some of the sections of the bill that faced opposition were to give an age limit to when women can get married. They wanted to make the official law that a girl must be at least 16 when she marries even though her male counterpart has to be 18.  They said this violates Islamic law an example used was when religious figure Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, married his daughter at age seven.

Another sector of the law was to not punish women who have been raped. The more conservative members of the parliament see rape as adultery, which is not allowed in Islam.

The law also wanted to build shelters for abused women but that also faced opposition. Abdul Sattar Khawasi a member of the parliament called the houses “morally corrupt”.  And Justice Minister Habibullah Ghaleb labeled them and houses of “prostitution and immorality”, some time last year.

The law would have also banned “baad”. This is a practice of buying and selling women to end disputes between men.

Fawzia Koofi, head of parliament’s women’s commission said, “2014 is coming, change is coming, and the future of women in this country is uncertain. A new president will come and if he doesn’t take women’s rights seriously he can change the decree.”

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