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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] Dear CASI members Why has most Western media ignored the issue of Law 137, despite reporting on the recent mass demonstrations in Iraq? Because it's complex, that's why. I wrote this analysis to try and explain to the media. Any comments? Please forward to your media contacts. best wishes Cathy ---------- Western media reported that thousands demonstrated against the Coalition's plans to set up a government for Iraq by appointments rather than elections. So far, so good. But little was said in the mainstream Western media (except in the Financial Times and Washington Post) about one of the actions of the current US-selected Governing Council which sparked such strong feeling: - namely, the repealing of the 1958 (or 1959) unified secular Personal Status Law (or Family Law) under which, I understand, men and women have equal status, in favour of instituting Sharia law, whereby different clerics can write the Personal Status Law (or Family Law) for those under their jusridiction, as they see fit. This action, passed by the Iraqi Governing Council as Law 137 on 29 December, behind closed doors, seems only to have become public knowledge around the 13 January. It's worth the effort trying to clarify the issue, especially as far as the status of women is concerned. I hope I've got this right - if not, please send corrections/references: Women, in particular, would be affected by the repeal of the unified secular law, because religious law can be interpreted by some clerics in a very restrictive way. For example, women may find themselves living in an area where: - they would have to get permission from a family member before being able to marry - their husbands would be allowed to forbid them from working - their husbands would be allowed to divorce them by saying 'I divorce you' three times - an ex-husband would need only to pay for his divorced wife for 3 months, ie. until certain she was not carrying his child, thus affecting a woman's right to alimony. For all his many faults and terrible deeds, Saddam never moved from secular to religious law, never repealed the unified Personal Status Law, which existed in Iraq for over 40 years. See some links below for further information and opinions. Cathy Aitchison -------- http://www.casi.org.uk/analysis/2004/msg00049.html Post to the CASI list, 15 jan, quoting Juan Cole http://www.riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2004_01_01_riverbendblog_archive.html Riverbend blog. Look for January 20th, Still brooding... (NB: she refers to the law as 173 instead of 137) http://www.dawn.com/2004/01/22/int4.htm DAWN, Pakistan, 22 Jan http://www.jordantimes.com/Thu/opinion/opinion2.htm Contradicting a claim. Opinion piece by Michael Jansen in the Jordan Times, 22 Jan, analysing Bremer's possible reasons for encouraging the law change http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A21321-2004Jan15.html Washington Post article, 15 Jan http://www.rowzane.com/000_etelayeha/2401/240117-Press%20conference%20on%20S haria%20Law%20in%20Iraq.htm Press conference of Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq, 16 Jan http://www.arabmediawatch.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=1260 Arab Media Watch, 20 Jan - look for 'Dozens of of Iraqi women demonstrate in Baghdad against threat to their rights', source Agence France Presse http://www.wluml.org/english/newsfulltxt.shtml?cmd=x-157-33779%20&cmd[1 89]=x-189-33779 Women Living under Muslim Laws statement, 23 Jan _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk