Islam to Govern Iraqi Law, Women's Rights

By Palmer, James | National Catholic Reporter, January 27, 2006 | Go to article overview

Islam to Govern Iraqi Law, Women's Rights


Palmer, James, National Catholic Reporter


The changes have come slowly.

For nearly three years, Iraqi women have inched toward greater freedom. In some cases, it has meant breaking from traditional dress. In others, there have been leaps that once would have been unthinkable: driving, taking a job outside the home or even entering marriage counseling.

However, these same women face new limitations later this month when the Iraqi constitution is enacted. Under the charter approved in a nationwide referendum last October, Islam will predominantly govern Iraqi law and religious sects will decide issues involving marriage and inheritance. Currently, those issues are resolved in civil courts.

While some women welcome the introduction of Islamic law, others fear it will lead to restrictions on their personal freedom and civil rights similar to the theocracy that rules in neighboring Iran.

"Muslim women are going to suffer if the civil courts are completely abolished," said Annam Al-Soltany, a lawyer and a member of the Progressive Women's League, an Iraqi group lobbying for constitutional reforms benefiting women. "The civil law offers women more protection, but Iraq is a very religious society, and many people, including women, want Islamic laws and Islamic courts."

While it's impossible to know how opinion splits on the issue, it is not difficult to find women who want strict Islamic law and are willing to speak out about it.

"Islamic law will give women far more protection than the civil law," said Boushra Hassan, a 31-year-old who founded Batool Cultural House for Women in the Kadhimiya section of Baghdad. "Mankind created the civil laws, but God created mankind and the Islamic laws, so it stands to reason that the Islamic laws are superior."

Boushra said she and her staff of seven aim to assist women of all ethnicities and religions in coping with family, spiritual and cultural obligations by offering free classes in computer literacy, child rearing, marriage counseling and Quran studies. The center, which also offers child care, operates with donations from wealthy and generous Iraqis at home and abroad.

While most women at the center say they are devout Muslims and followers of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the revered Shiite cleric with close ties to Iran, they also want the new Iraqi government to include some democratic reforms rather than simply adopting a stringent Islamic society like their eastern neighbor.

For many of these women, the greatest obstacle to personal freedom derives from family pressures.

"I would love to go back to work again, but my husband wants me to stay at home," said Mahmoud Lazem, a 33-year-old former computer programmer with four children who stays at home now, but comes to the center weekly.

At the Iraq Women's Union in the nearby Mansour neighborhood, women draped in black abayas, the traditional billowing garment, and hajibs, or headscarves, operate sewing machines to earn extra money for their families, while others learn to read and write.

Najat Ahmed, 36, one of the women overseeing the union, said she embraces Islamic law, but hopes for more freedoms in Iraq's fledgling democracy.

"Women are precious, like pearls, and God wants to protect us, so he commands we cover ourselves in the abaya like a shell around the pearl," Ahmed said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Islam to Govern Iraqi Law, Women's Rights
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.