Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, February 29, 2008

Egyptian men angry over appointment of nation’s first female marriage registrar

This week Egypt, appointed the Middle East’s first woman “maazun,” or marriage registrar, Agence France-Presse reported Thursday. The appointment has sparked controversy in Egypt, particularly from men who see their status being challenged.

Amal Soliman, a 32-year-old graduate in civil and criminal law, is the first woman to be authorized to perform wedding ceremonies and sign marriage and divorce contracts. Soliman appears to have the full support of the national government, which is eager to portray an image of equality in a country that has a rocky history of women’s rights. Justice Minister Mamduh Mari emphasized that Soliman’s nomination was based on her abilities and not her gender. Ali Saman, former head of Al-Azhar University’s religious dialogue committee, further supported Soliman’s case for the position. “I’m not shocked at all, it’s purely a legal job, reading Koranic verses and conducting a marriage,” Saman said. “A maazun is a judicial assistant, a notary… so it’s a job that women can do.”

This support, however, was not seconded by some men in the streets of Cairo. “I completely reject the idea,” Mahmud Ali, a 40-year-old man, told reporters. “There must be religious texts forbidding this… there are also obstacles on the social level, she would always take the woman’s side.” Angry sentiments such as this were not rare, with similar opinions being voiced by many men across the country.

For the full article, click here.


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