Sunday, March 8, 2009

Female Islamic Judges

From the New Zealand Herald:
"The Islamic courts were among the last male-only bastions in Palestinian society, where women have been presidential candidates, police officers and even suicide bombers.

But Khuloud Faqih, 34, and Asmahan Wuheidi, 31, made history last month when they became the first female Islamic judges in the Palestinian territories.

Across the Arab world, only Sudan has had women judges in Islamic courts, while Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, all relatively progressive states in the region on women's rights, do not.

Muslim courts in the Palestinian Authority rule over family affairs such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and custody, relying on Islamic jurisprudence rather than secular rules.

Palestinian feminists have praised the female judges but say the move will not make a dramatic change, because the judges still rely on Islamic laws that ultimately favour men."

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