This development is ironic in light of a recent report that ran at Bikya Masr, which played up women’s access to divorce as a reason that was said to attract them to convert from Coptic Christianity to Islam. But as Sharia takes hold in Egypt in greater strength, that may yet turn out to be one more deception, one more strategically stated half truth to gain converts by hook or by crook.
One who converted for the divorce rights under the current, separate personal status laws for Muslims may be sorely disappointed at some point in the future. “Egyptian lawmaker proposes to limit women’s right to divorce,” from ZeeNews, March 18 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):
Cairo: An Egyptian lawmaker has proposed a controversial draft law to limit the legal provisions for women to divorce or separate from their husbands.
Mohamed al-Omda, deputy head of the People’s Assembly’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, has submitted the draft to cancel a woman’s right to divorce (Khula) or separate from her husband, privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper reported today.
Khula is the right of a woman in Islam to divorce or separate from her husband.
The term “Khula” is used here somewhat interchangeably in two senses: in the sense in accordance in Sharia, and as an umbrella term for women’s access to divorce, even where lawmakers intend to roll back that option for women.
In the bill’s explanatory memorandum, Omda said women’s right to divorce through courts was granted to satisfy the National Council for Women (NCW), which was chaired by former first lady Suzanne Mubarak, allegedly to save women from persecution in eastern countries.
Sharia has been under siege since then, Omda claimed. In 2000, the parliament issued a law on the regulation of litigation procedures in personal status matters.
The law applied Sharia, in which the woman can obtain a divorce if she returns the financial settlement her husband paid her when they married. If a husband refuses to divorce his wife, the woman has the right to petition a judge in order to obtain to a divorce.
This law applies only to Muslim women as Christian women have a separate personal status law.
In recent months, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has launched an attack on laws regulating personal status in the country.
They accuse the NCW of implementing Western strategies to spoil the family and social life in Egypt.
Last week, a number of Islamist MPs criticised the Khula law and the law regulating child custody, saying they contradict Sharia.