Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Palestine: Female Judges

From Globe & Mail:
"Judge Khuloud al-Faqeeh's biggest fear when she became one of the first two female Palestinian Islamic judges was that men would refuse to stand before her. As in every Arab and Muslim country with the exception of Sudan, only men passed judgment in Islamic courts.

“They expect a man with a beard and a turban,” said Judge al-Faqeeh, smiling wryly from behind her desk as her hand made a circular movement above her cream-coloured satin head scarf.

Considered by many in this male-dominated society to be too emotional to serve as judges, women in Islamic courts were there to receive judgments, not to give them. The results were frequently unfair. But after the appointment of two women judges to Islamic courts in the West Bank last month, Palestinian women have begun to find an understanding ear – and more equitable judgments.

Women across the Muslim world consider the Palestinian women judges a milestone for women's rights. But some disagree, arguing that Islamic law prohibits equality of the sexes."

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