Sharia and women’s rights

Charles Levinson provides an interesting account of how Moroccan feminist Latifa Jbabdi won Muslim support for a new family law granting women equal rights in marriage and divorce: “For years Islamists opposed any change to the family law, on the grounds that the old family law was based on Sharia and Sharia was sacred. Well versed in these issues, Jbabdi helped lead a campaign to convince Moroccans that the new law did not contradict Islam. She succeeded and Islamic politicians voted unanimously on her side.”

Jbabdi herself is quoted as saying: “We started asking, is Islam truly against the rights of women? … We undertook a sort of repossession of our Islamic heritage, and read the texts from a feminist perspective. We found that there were many verses that stress equality, and we discovered that Islamic Sharia is not based on ready-made judgments, but rather it is based on a set of guiding principals and ijtihad.”

Women’s eNews, 9 October 2005