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Muslim Women in India feel secure under Sharia Law and do not want Uniform Civil Code, says AIMPLB

AIMPLB has submitted an affidavit to the apex court stating that though triple talaq is "undesirable" and according to Islam it is "permissible"

A woman wearing burqa. Wikimedia

New Delhi, Oct 29, 2016: All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) claimed today that Muslim women in India doesn’t feel insecure under the Sharia law and therefore they do not want a Uniform Civil Code. The statement came amid a raging debate on ‘triple talaq’ practice.

“It is not the personal law board or the women in it, who are against the proposed Uniform Civil Code, but Muslim women in general in the country do not want it. They feel safe and secure under the Sharia law,” Kamal Faruqui, a member of AIMPLB said to PTI.

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According to PTI report, the issue of immediate divorce or the triple talaq practice is at present the subject of a Supreme Court case and with the Centre, and some Muslim women organisations are seeking a ban on the practice on the grounds of being discriminatory to women.

In its opposition to the move, AIMPLB has submitted an affidavit to the apex court stating that though triple talaq is “undesirable” and according to Islam it is “permissible.”

The Board has already started a signature campaign in support of the practice.

According to PTI, Faruqui claimed, “the campaign has already got support from Muslim women in Rajasthan, Gujarat, UP, Bihar, Delhi, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. And, in many cases, where our members are not there, we are getting good support from them, mostly spontaneous.”

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Asma Zehra, an executive member of the AIMPLB claimed that Muslim women from across the country were coming together to demand that the personal law will be protected and they have no issues following the Sharia Law.

According to PTI report, Zehra also asserted that “the incidences of divorce in Muslim community is much lower compared to other ones. Also, women have maintenance rights even after the divorce. They can also go for remarriage to begin a new life. The women feel much secure under the Sharia law and do not wish to be governed under a Uniform Civil Code.”

“We are also getting a good response from women in small villages and cities,” she said.

Zehra also hit out at right wing groups for fueling the debate.

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She further added, “the PM was right when he said this is not a ‘Hindu-Muslim’ issue. This is an issue created by the RSS. As citizens, Indians need to decide whether we want to follow the Constitution, which gives us religious rights, or some vested saffron agenda.”

On the other hand, many women activists have slammed the board for its counter-affidavit, saying the Muslim body has “turned a blind eye” to the plight of women suffering due to this biased practice.

Noorjehan Safia Niaz, co-founder of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), which is one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court against triple talaq, said to PTI, “No one can stop the citizen of this country from approaching the court. That is a right Muslim women also have.”

However, Zehra alleged that the groups opposing the Triple Talaq practice were “tools of BJP”.

BMMA rejecting the charge said, “AIMPLB has been completely obstinate and there is no point talking to bodies like these.”

– prepared by NewsGram Team with PTI inputs.

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African Nations Urge Government to Enforce Fairer Family Laws

The pact, known as the Maputo Protocol, came into force in 2005 and guarantees extensive rights in areas from protection against violence to economic empowerment

family laws
FILE - A woman protests against underage marriage in Lagos, Nigeria, July 20, 2013. VOA

Women and girls in Africa are still being pushed into forced or early marriages, while those in unhappy unions face discrimination when seeking divorce, campaigners said on Tuesday, urging governments to enforce fairer family laws.

The Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR) — a coalition of 50 groups — said while most nations had committed to a pan-African pact on women’s rights, states had failed to enforce laws relating to marriage, divorce, child maintenance and inheritance.

The pact, known as the Maputo Protocol, came into force in 2005 and guarantees extensive rights in areas from protection against violence to economic empowerment.

Anisah Ari from the Nigeria-based Women Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative, a SOAWR member, said while African nations had taken steps in other areas such as tackling sexual violence, family laws were largely being ignored.

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File: Sudanese Women carrying 50kg bag of grains. Wikimedia Commons

“While the Maputo Protocol affirms women’s rights to exercise self-determination and bodily autonomy — free from discrimination, coercion and violence — many African girls and women continue to bear the brunt of discriminatory family laws,” Ari told a news conference.

“For instance, despite the fact that women have a right to inherit their husbands’ properties after death, this is not always assured — leading to protracted legal battles.”

The SOAWR members, which come from 25 African countries, said many nations had enacted progressive family laws in line with the Maputo Protocol, but the laws were not being enforced.

Women’s contribution and access to familial property was rarely recognized during marital disputes, and women often faced an uphill struggle when seeking child maintenance, they added.

family laws
Women wear the Algerian flag during a protest in Algiers, April 26, 2019. VOA

The legally binding pact, lauded as the most progressive human rights instrument for women and girls in Africa, has been signed and ratified by 42 of the African Union’s 55 member states. Three countries — Botswana, Morocco and Egypt — have neither signed nor ratified it.

The SOAWR members — which come from countries such as Tunisia, Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya — said addressing the protection and rights of women and girls in the family was the integral to the advancement of women.

ALSO READ: Africa: New Dresses, Youth Action – Ending Female Circumcision

“Family laws are key as the family unit is where the socialization of gender roles begins. It is where girls first learn their rights and roles in society,” said Violet Muthiga from Sauti Ya Wanawake, a Kenya-based women’s rights group.

“So if we can intervene at the family level to ensure they are protected and treated fairly, we can change perceptions and curb practices like child marriage and female genital mutilation — all of which happen with the family unit.” (VOA)