Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, July 06, 2007

Iranian Supreme Leader open to reinterpretation of women’s rights

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, has suggested a possible reinterpretation of Islamic law to allow for more women’s rights, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

While the Ayatollah was stern in his stance such a move would not be based on Western conviction, he emphasized the importance of the changing context of Islamic law in modern society.

“Some issues about women, which exist in religious jurisprudence, are not the final say. It is possible to interpret new points through research by a skillful jurist,” Khamenei said.

In Iran, women must have the permission of a male guardian before working or traveling. Women are also banned from becoming judges and have half the importance in court testimonies compared to men.

The apparent change in the Ayatollah’s message follows heavy criticisms on the detainment of several women activists who protested against the country’s oppressive laws, such as the equal distribution of inheritances, the equal weight of testimonies in court and the elimination of polygamy in Iran.

Women in Iran have more rights than many of their counterparts in other countries in the region. However, while women can drive and vote, as well as run for public office, gender discrimination is firmly entrenched.

For the full article, click here.

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