Libyan women’s fears after sharia law announced
Summary of story from National Post, October 24, 2011.
The announcement that Islamic sharia law will be the basis of legislation in newly liberated Libya has raised concerns, especially among women.
The decision was announced in a speech in Benghazi on Sunday by interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil.
“Any law that violates sharia is null and void legally,” he said, referring to a law imposed during Muammar Gaddafi’s regime that banned polygamy, which is permitted in Islam.
The law of divorce and marriage… This law is contrary to sharia and it is stopped,” Abdel Jalil said.
Many Libyans expressed surprise that he gave such prominence to sharia law before addressing important issues as security and education.
Libyan feminists expressed their frustration, with one woman describing the announcement as ‘shocking and insulting…after thousands of Libyans have paid for freedom with their lives’.
‘We did not slay Goliath so that we now live under the Inquisition,’ she added.
Adelrahman al-Shatr, one of the founders of the centre-right Party of National Solidarity, created just last week, called the decision ‘a disaster for Libyan women’.
He said it was premature to announce policies of the new state prior to consultation with other parties and the people of Libya.
“These declarations create feelings of pain and bitterness among women who sacrificed so many martyrs,” in the eight-month battle against Kadhafi loyalists, he added.