Wednesday, November 14, 2007

When Sunni become Shiite for women's rights

from AFP (France)

Nada had no choice. The Sunni Muslim Lebanese woman decided to become a Shiite because that branch of Islam guarantees that her daughters will one day be her sole heiresses. "If I became a Shiite it was not out of conviction." Had she not converted, the girls' uncle would receive the bulk of her inheritance when she died, in line with Sunni laws ... Sheikh Mohamad Noqari, director general of Dar al-Fatwa, the highest Sunni religious authority in Lebanon, confirmed that some Sunnis were becoming Shiites. "It is true that some Sunnis are doing this," he said. "But if someone converts from one Muslim confession to another for material reasons, it is not really correct." But for Sheikh Jaafar Fadlallah, from the Shiite Sharia Islamic Institute, "nothing should prevent a Muslim from converting to the (Islamic) branch that suits him best." Shiite authorities said that about 350 Sunnis become Shiites every year in Lebanon, where the Sunni and Shiite communities each form slightly less than 30% of the country's four-million population.

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