Where are all the Western Islamic apologists who claim that Islam grants women equality with men? Zayed, call your office! “Muslim clerics roar at Kenyan chief justice,” by Musdaf Abdullahi for AfricaNews, October 5 (thanks to Twostellas):
Muslim clerics differed on the move taken by the Kenyan Chief Justice (CJ) Willy Mutunga. Mutunga wants to introduce post of female magistrate in the Khathis court which majority of the Muslim leaders term as disrespect to their faith. “This is a religious institution not a secular one and therefore it must be treated with respect.” said Sheikh Abdullahi Abdi the chairman of National Muslim Leaders Forum (NAMLEF).
The C J argued that some other countries have women representatives in their Khathis courts and Kenya should not be left behind. He also argued the move is one of the actions in the judicial reforms.
“I am happy about the ongoing debate over women in the Khathis court and there is no reason as to why they should not be represented– Mutunga said. But the idea was flouted by the Secretary General of Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) who is also nominated MP, Sheikh Mohammed Dor.
Dor said the constitution recognizes different faith groups in the country and Islam is one of these groups that have its norms which must be respected. “Khathi court is not a secular court. They are religious Muslim courts that are guided by the teachings of the Holy Qur’an .the [sic] Holy Qur’an contains the commandments of Allah it should not be altered by anyone” Said Dor.
Chief Khadhi sheikh Ahmad Muhdhar concurred with the CJ despite many Muslim scholars opposing the move. He said the work of a khadhi is to follow Islamic laws in discharging her duties although he added there are some trifle “˜technicalities” which can be dealt with. He added that the work of a Khadhi pertain matters of personal status like marriage divorce and inheritance which a woman can handle.
“Kenya is not the first country to establish such position in its Islamic courts, there are countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Turkey among others that recognizes the post of a female magistrate in their Khadhis court.” The chief Khadhi said.
The idea was vehemently opposed by the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslim (SUPKEM) Director General Abdiladif Shaaban. “The CJ has to be cautious on such matters. There are some Islamic rituals that are conducted in the mosque by men only, so I am urging the Mutunga to desist the move, said Shaaban.