Friday, September 28, 2007

Muslim Women in India Seek Secular Justice

by Aditi Bhaduri from The Pakistan Christian Post

Imrana, a 28-year-old mother of five from the village of Charthawal, was raped by her father-in-law while her husband was absent in June 2005. Even though India is a secular country, Muslim leaders insist on following Sharia, or Islamic law, in such personal affairs as marriage, divorce and inheritance. It was to this system of justice that Imrana first turned. The village council--composed of five male village elders--ruled that her marriage be dissolved because Imrana had become haram (sinful). The Darul ul Uloom Madrasa, an Islamic seminary with an influence among South Asian Muslims, upheld the verdict and issued a fatwa echoing the ruling ... Since Imrana's case became public, women`s groups across the country have organized protests, demonstrations and petitions. Under pressure, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which advocates for greater rights for Muslim women, began distancing itself from the ruling of the Sharia court and the fatwa-issuing Deoband seminary.

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