Friday, November 6, 2009

West Bank: Female Judges

From ABC News Online:
Two Palestinian women have become the first female judges in the Middle East to preside over a traditional Islamic court.

Sharia law is traditionally seen as the domain of men, but in the West Bank towns of Hebron and Ramallah, two new judges are hoping to bring changes to the way courts treat Muslim women.

Judge Asmahan Liwheidi is one of the women presiding over an Islamic court.

It took a certain man, Sheikh Tayseer al Tamimi, effectively the Chief Justice of the Palestinian state, to pave the way for the women's success.

Against all opposition he challenged the belief that women could never be Sharia judges and allowed Asmahan Liwheidi in Hebron and Khulud Mohammed Faqih in Ramallah to sit the judges' exam.

Surprisingly many Muslim men support his decision, including Bilal Dofesh, who is in court because he and his former wife want to remarry - a move which is traditionally not allowed under Sharia law.

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