Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Parliamentary Women’s Freedoms in Jeopardy

Kabul, Afghanistan
February 15, 2006

The Christian Science Monitor reported on a conservative member of Afghan parliament’s desire to implement Shari’a law by requiring women traveling for more than three days to be accompanied by a male escort. The request came after the member, Al-Hajj Abdul Jabbar Shalgarai, saw two women members of parliament without their husbands at the recent donor conference in London.

"We have given women the right to educate themselves, to take part in government, to participate in political life. But there are special rules," said Haji Ahmed Fareid, a parliamentarian and Islamic religious scholar.

For female parliamentarians hoping to improve the lot of women in this conservative Islamic country, the return of Shari’a rules - even if they are not specifically stated in the Constitution - is a troubling sign. After all, it was this same Shari’a principle that the Taliban regime used to prevent women from going to school, to market, and to work.
Many women feel that strict interpretations of the Islamic law are not appropriate for the modern lifestyle of women. Sahera Sharif, a female parliamentarian from Khost, said, “Islam is a social religion, it is good, and broad, and it covers everything in our lives, but unfortunately, when there are rules that affect men and women equally, the men in our society only address these rules toward women." Click here for the full story.


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