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India’s Muslim Women criticize justification for Triple Talaq and Polygamy, tag it as ‘medieval’

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) told the court that triple talaq was necessary, saying men have greater reasoning power compared to women

Muslim brides wait for the start of their mass marriage ceremony in Mumbai May 11, 2014. A total of 35 Muslim couples took wedding vows during the mass marriage ceremony organised by a Muslim voluntary organisation, organisers said. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui (INDIA - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) FOR BEST QUALITY IMAGE ALSO SEE: GF2EA830FPC01 - RTR3OO39

– by Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI, Sept 07, 2016: Muslim women fighting to ban “triple talaq” divorce and polygamy from family civil law in India’s top court condemned on Tuesday  justifications given by Islamic clerics as “medieval” and “reeking of sexism”.

India’s Supreme Court is currently hearing a petition filed by women’s rights activists who want the judiciary to declare triple talaq – where Muslim men can divorce by simply stating their intention three times verbally – as unconstitutional.

The Indian constitution allows most religions, including  Muslims – the biggest religious minority group – to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil code.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a non-governmental body which oversees the application of Muslim personal law, opposes any ban on triple talaq and polygamy.

It told the court on Friday that triple talaq was necessary, saying men have greater reasoning power compared to women, and that a man giving triple talaq to his wife was a better option than murdering her or burning her alive.

The AIMPLB also argued that polygamy was a “social need” and a “blessing” as a lawful second wife was better than an unlawful mistress and added that it gave divorced or widowed women more opportunity to remarry.

“Muslim women in India have suffered because of triple talaq where arbitrary divorces declared over postcards or telegrams have been sustained,” said campaign group Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), or the India Muslim Women’s Movement.

“AIMPLB’s argument that a Muslim man can delegate his power of pronouncing talaq to his wife is laughable – this can hardly be expected to happen in real life if the wife wants a divorce but husband doesn’t,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.

The group said the AIMPLB’s justification for polygamy was “bizarre” as it had suggested the practice of a man having up to four wives stemmed from a concern and sympathy for women.

“The truth is Muslim personal laws – like other religious laws – flow from patriarchy and relegate women to second class status,” said the BMMA.

It said triple talaq had been banned in more than 20 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan and Bangladesh while polygamy was prohibited in Turkey and Turkmenistan among other countries.

Muslims make up more than 13 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion people, yet they are among some of the most marginalised communities.

Social indicators amongst Muslim women such as literacy, mortality and employment rates are lower than the national average, say activists.

Triple talaq is unilateral, arbitrary and contravenes both the constitution and the principles of gender justice in Islam, BMMA said. In India, a secular democracy, religious laws could not overwrite the constitutional right to equality, it added. (Reuters)


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  • Manthra koliyer

    Polygamy should not be encouraged

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Christian Blasphemy Suspect in Pakistan Jumps from Building to Escape Torture

Supporters of Pakistani civil society groups protest in favor of the Christian community in Karachi, Pakistan, Feb. 26, 2018. An official said Sajid Masih, a Christian blasphemy suspect, who suffered serious injuries after jumping off a federal building, is now in stable condition. VOA

Authorities in Pakistan are investigating reports that a Christian blasphemy suspect jumped from a four-story building and suffered serious injuries to escape torture in custody.

Officials and doctors say Sajid Masih is recovering from his “fractured legs and jaw” in a hospital in Lahore where the incident took place on Friday.

Masih and one of his cousins were taken into custody for allegedly posting anti-Islam content on Facebook. They were being probed by cybercrime experts of the Federal Investigation Agency, or FIA, at its main office in the eastern Pakistani city when Masih jumped from the fourth floor of the building.

FIA officials denied charges the man was being tortured or abused, saying “no one had even touched” him. They insisted Masih panicked after “he was asked to unlock his cell phone” for screening.

ALSO READ: 69 Years a Slave? Balochistan’s Struggle for Freedom: A Detailed Report

In a video message circulated and shared via social media, Masih has accused several FIA officers of “severely” torturing him and snatching his cell phone in the process. Pixabay

He alleged the officers were coercing him and his cousin into sexually assaulting one another before he decided to jump from the window.

Dozens of Pakistani human rights groups and activists strongly condemned the incident in a joint statement Monday. They raised serious concerns over persistent misuse of Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, specifically against Christian and other religious minorities.

“The law enforcement authorities have not only failed in their duty to protect minorities but have actively participated in violence against them,” the statement said.

The groups called for an independent inquiry into the incident, rejecting the FIA’s ongoing internal probe as unacceptable. Wikimedia Commons


They also demanded that area police withdraw the case of attempted suicide against Masih. Activists say they suspect the police case was meant to cover up and protect FIA officers who made the Christian community member jump off the building.

Insulting Islam and its Prophet Mohammad are extremely sensitive issues in Pakistan and can carry the death penalty, although no one has been executed under the blasphemy laws. Right groups say the laws are often misused or exploited to settle personal disputes.

ALSO READ: Pakistan’s handling of Balochistan is reminiscent of its step brotherly treatment to East Pakistan

Mere allegations of blasphemy have provoked mob lynchings of suspects or their targeted killings in Pakistan. Pixabay

In Monday’s joint statement, activists have also demanded authorities take immediate steps for safety and protection of Masih and his relatives.

Last year,23-year-old university student Mashal Khan was beaten to death by fellow students and others at the campus, accusing him of sharing blasphemous content on social media, charges investigations later determined were false. The incident happened in the northwestern city of Mardan, provoking a nationwide outcry against Khan’s brutal killing.

Earlier in February, an anti-terrorism court sentenced one person to death and 30 others to jail terms, including life imprisonment, for their role in the lynching case. (VOA)