MMDA: Kandy Forum Says Reforms Needed To Enhance Social Status Of Muslim Women

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While emphasizing the need to enhance the social status of Muslim women in particular, the Kandy Forum has proposes changes in the areas of minimum age for marriage, consent of the bride, polygamy, mahar and dowry, divorce, maintenance and exclusion of women as administrative officers in the controversial Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA).

Prof. M A Nuhman

Prof. M A Nuhman

In a statement signed by Prof. M A Nuhman, Prof. S H Hasbullah, Prof. M A M Sitheeque, M M. Niyas,, Prof. M S M Anes, J MMubarak, Dr. M Z M Nafeel, Dr. A S M Nawfhal, Dr. A L M Mahroof, J M Niwas and U M Fazil said, “It is the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Law that has been mostly contested and it has been admitted that there are anomalies in there to be rectified, particularly provisions that are discriminatory against women, contrary to the Quranic intension of gender equality, but based on age old social practices, disregarding the tremendous social changes the Muslim community has undergone during the last hundred years in Sri Lanka as in many other Muslim countries,” the statement said.

“We think that these changes are vital to enhance the social status of Muslim women in particular and the development of Muslim community in general,” they said in the statement.

The Forum proposed the adoption of a pluralistic approach in revising the MMDA, without restricting to a particular mathab (sect) and to incorporate all the appropriate and progressive aspects of Personal Laws of different mathab in order to give more importance to Quran and Sunna than individual mathab.

We publish below the statement in full:

Muslim Personal Law Reform in Sri Lanka

Proposals by the Kandy Forum

Muslim Personal law reform has become a more controversial issue recently due to the alleged involvement of European Union and the appointment of a Cabinet Sub Committee for review the subject. Muslim Personal Laws which have been in existence for a long time in Sri Lanka has come in for debate from different sections of the community and necessary reforms have been expected for some time. Many attempts made in the past to make reforms were futile, due to a section of the community is against any reform in MMDA as they believe that it is divine and unchangeable, and the Muslim political leadership is also evasive in this important matter.

Constitutional Amendments and Muslim Personal Law Revisions being contemplated at present, and we understand that the committee appointed in 2009 by the then Minister of Justice headed by the former Supreme Court Judge Mr. Saleem Marsoof is about to submit their report. Whilst the Quran and Sunna Perspectives have to necessarily stay intact, the practical provisions made to accommodate the contextual situation at the time need to be examined in detail for possible revisions.

It is the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Law that has been mostly contested and it has been admitted that there are anomalies in there to be rectified, particularly provisions that are discriminatory against women, contrary to the Quranic intension of gender equality, but based on age old social practices, disregarding the tremendous social changes the Muslim community has undergone during the last hundred years in Sri Lanka as in many other Muslim countries.

Given this situation the Kandy Forum has tried to study the MMDA in consultation with some Islamic scholars and look at making recommendations for reform so as to assist those involved in the reform process.

Whilst the Quran and Sunna perspectives have to necessarily stay intact, the practical provisions made to accommodate the contextual and situational adjustments at the time need to be examined in detail for possible revisions, considering the nature of our social mosaic that we live in. We wish to state that the proposed revisions here are within the frame work of sharia as interpreted by several ulamas and Islamic scholars in Sri Lanka and abroad. Sharia has continuously been a subject to various interpretations by different madhabs in the past and various Islamic scholars in the contemporary world as appropriate to their socio-historical context.

The Kandy Forum proposes changes in the following areas of the MMDA, namely (1) minimum age for marriage, (2) consent of the bride, (3) polygamy, (4) mahar and dowry, (5) divorce, (6) maintenance and (7) exclusion of women as administrative officers of MMDA. We think that these changes are vital to enhance the social status of Muslim women in particular and the development of Muslim community in general

1. Minimum age for Marriage

Child marriage is not religious but an age old social practice in different communities all over the world including pre-Islamic Arabia and in the Muslim world that prevails in many countries even in the modern age. According to a UNICEF survey more than 700 million women alive today were married as children. Child marriages are high in some Muslim countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is considered a social evil that deprives girls of their multi-faceted social developments.

The subject of Child Marriage has come to the focus due to the Request by European Union to ensure Child Marriage Regulations of the Human Rights Commission be adhered to. Islam, the Quran, does not prescribe minimum age for marriage but it prescribes maturity for marriage. Maturity implies not only physical as many think, but also psychological and social where a girl should have sufficient physical and psychological maturity to maintain a family, bear and care children. In the circumstances of the Quran and Sunna being not specific about the Minimum age of Marriage, which is interpreted as a mode to keep it open by Allaah in his wisdom, the contemporary need to specify age limit due to the present complications, the need to safeguard the very young girls being forced by circumstances, monetary or otherwise into marriage had to be balanced with the need to accommodate the small percentage of youngsters who had to get married early for exceptional reasons.

However, according to MMDA minimum age of marriage for a girl is 12 but under the general law it is 18 that is the widely accepted norm. The section 23 of the MMDA says that “a marriage contracted by a Muslim girl who has not attained the age of twelve years shall not be registered under this Act unless the Quazi for the area in which the girl resides has, after such inquiry as he may deem necessary, authorized the registration of the marriage.” According to this provision the marriage of a girl who is below 12 is also valid but not registered unless the Quazi certified it.

In view of the above the Kandy Forum came to a consensus to recommend that

(1) The unconditional age of marriage could be 18 years
(2) The conditional age of marriage to accommodate the request of the person and both parents to be 15-17 years. This concession need to be closely supervised by the Quazis subject to satisfying the Physical, Psychological and Medical Fitness of the Person for the said purpose.

2. Bride’s consent for the marriage

The consent of the bride for a marriage contract is fundamental in Islam. There are ample evidences for that; the prophet himself nullified the marriage without consent of the bride. However, the MMDA does not require the direct consent of the bride, she does not present at the Nikah and does not singe in the marriage register. Only the wali has the authority to act on behalf of the bride. Section 25 (1) (a) of the Act says that:

“for the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that no contract of marriage of a woman belonging to the Shaffie sect is valid under the law applicable to that sect , unless –

(a) A person entitled to act as her wali –

  • is present at the time and place at which the contract is entered into; and
  • communicate her consent to the contract and his own approval thereof, or

(b) the Quazi has under section 47, authorized the marriage and dispensed with the necessity for the presence and the approval of the wali.”

A number of cases of marriages without consent have been reported by field researchers and there is no provision in the MMDA to find out whether the bride has really consented or not.

In this context, the Kandy Forum wishes to state that a Muslim woman should enjoy equal right as a man enjoy, in determining her personal life and she shouldn’t be a silent party in a crucial contract such as her marriage. Therefore, the MMDA should have provision to get the direct consent or verify the consent of the bride and to get her signature in the contract.

In keeping with the Sunna Traditions it is recommended that Nikaahs must have provision for the free consent of both the persons to be received by signature in the presence of the witnesses.

3. Polygamy

Like child marriages polygamy also an age old practice in different communities all over the world including pre-Islamic Arabia and in the Islamic world. Although Islam, the Quran, did not prohibit the practice of polygamy, it imposes severe restriction on it. It restricts the number of wives a man can have at a time that is limited to four; was very progressive in a social environment where a man enjoyed no restrictions to have any number of wives at a time. And also Quran imposes a condition that he should be able to treat his wives equally and justly and the Quran categorically says that “ you are never be able to be fair and just as between women, if it is your ardent desire (4:129). It is obvious that Quran does not encourage polygamy but its intension is to curb it imposing severe restriction on it in order to abolish it from the society in the future. On this interpretation Tunisia abolished Polygamy and countries like Egypt and Malaysia have imposed severe restrictions on it.

The MMDA does not require the husband to get the consent of the wife/wives to marry another woman and his capability to treat his wives equally. According to the section 24 (1) – (4) of the Act “ a man who wishes to marry 2nd, 3rd or 4th time must give notice of his intention to do so to the Quazi of his area as well as the Quazi of the area where his wife/wives live, and the Quazi of the area where the intended wife resides. Such notice must be exhibited in all the Jumma mosques of the areas and any other prominent places. Without the Quazi’s certificate of the receipt of such notice the marriage shall not be registered.” But the Act does not impose any obligation on the Quazi to find out whether the husband is in fact able to treat all his wives equally and justly.

Polygamy is clearly described in the Holy Quran as being restricted but allowed for those who really need same and very much discouraged by describing the difficulties of the exercise. The Legal provisions of prior notice and other requirements is seen to be practiced very much on the breach and as such our Forum wishes that stringent regulations are formulated to practice the provisions in its totality.

4. Mahr and Dowry ( Siithanam / kaikuli)

In a Muslim marriage mahr is religious obligation and dowry is a social practice. However, in actual practice mahr has become ritualistic and symbolic while dowry has become obligatory in Muslim marriage in many parts of Sri Lanka.

According to the present Act the amount of mahr should be mentioned in the register and it may and may not be paid at the time of the marriage. Kaikuliis mentioned as optional and not obligatory to enter the details of item. (Form No. IV section 18 (2))

Kaikuliis defined by the Act as follows: “kaikuli means any some of money paid, or other movable property given, or any some of money, or other movable property promised to be paid or given, to a bridegroom for the use of the bride, before or at the time of the marriage by a relative of the bride or by any other person.” (Section 97). This section excludes immovable properties like house or land which are usually given as dowry to the bridegroom.

As kaikuli is un-Islamic some people suggest that it should be removed from the Act. Although kaikuli is un-Islamic, it is a widespread social practice that adversely affects women; its entry in the marriage register will help the women to recover it when the marriage terminates by divorce or death of the husband. However recovery of unpaid mahr and the given dowry from the husband is not easy under the Act. Therefore, it should be amended in order to safeguard the divorced women.

5. Divorce

Although divorce is permitted in Islam, it is the least desirable thing in the married life. Prophet Mohammed (Sal) has said that “with Allah, the most detestable of all things permitted is divorce.” However, divorce is an increasing practice in the Muslim community in Sri Lanka due to various factors but mainly because it is comparatively a simple action for a husband.
Two types of divorce are recognized by the MMDA.

Divorce by the husband (thalaq)

According to MMDA (section 27 and the rules 1 – 9 of the second schedule, that stipulates the procedures of thalaq) thalaq is unconditional, that is, the husband need not to give any valid reason for thalaq and need not to proof it. He has only to give notice of his intension to the Quazi of his area. If the reconciliation efforts by the Quazi fail within 30 days the husband shall pronounce thalaq before the Quazi and two witnesses and the thalaq will be granted at the end of 3 months if the repeated efforts by the Quazi for reconciliation fail. For a husband thalaq is a simple process.

Divorce by the wife (Fasah/ Kulah)

MMDA provides provisions for two types of divorce (fasah/kulah) by the wife (see. Section 28 (1) and (2) and the rules 1 – 15 in the third schedule)

Fasah is a type of divorce granted to the wife on her request (without the consent of her husband) on the basis of fault on the part of the husband. The faults may be ill treatments, failure of maintenance, desertion, insanity or impotency etc.

Kulah is a type of divorce granted to the wife (with/without the consent of her husband) if she unhappy with her marriage, although no fault on the part of the husband; and she agree to give compensation to the husband or consideration to the husband in return for her freedom. Although this term kulah is not used in the Act, the section 28 (2) refers to this type of divorce.

But the procedures 1 – 15 stipulated in the third schedule should be strictly followed. The wife has to proof her complaints with evidence supported by not less than 2 witnesses. It is not possible for a wife to get kulah divorce without the consent of the husband.

The general criticism of MMDA on divorce is that it is discriminatory in nature. Men have more freedom to divorce their wives but women have more restrictions.

Family Laws of the Muslim countries like Tunisia, Algeria, Indonesia and Somalia have imposed some restrictions on divorce by men. It is said that the Personal Status Code of Tunisia adopted in 1956 is the most progressive legislation in terms of women’s rights in the Arab world.

Provision needs to be made in the New Amendments to bring all the above types of Divorces including the Right of the wife to request a Divorce without reason and on the Return of the mahr only. Once this is done it will tilt the scales very much more towards the Muslim women in this aspect as is desired by the religion.

6. Maintenance

According to Quran and Sunna the maintenance of a wife and children is an obligatory duty of the husband during the married life and after divorce. Maintenance includes providing food, cloth, shelter and medication etc.

A divorced wife can claim two types of maintenance namely iddath maintenance and Matah

According to MMDA 47(1) (d) a divorced wife can claim maintenance during the period of iddath or if she is pregnant at the time of the registration of the divorce, until she is delivered the child.

The amount is decided by the Quazi according to the means of the husband. It is noted that the maintenance for a short period of iddath is inadequate and it should be extended until the divorced wife remarried.

Matah is a lump sum payment of compensation or consolatory gift which is given to a divorced wife by the husband. However, it is not legally recognized by the MMDA and it is not obligatory for a husband to make a lump sum payment to his wife on divorce. Some Quazis decide it on their own discretion. Some women groups recommended that not only in thalaq divorce but also in fasah divorce the wife should be paid matah compensation.

In some Muslim countries, for example Indonesia, the property acquired during the marriage life is regarded as joint property of both husband and wife and on divorce it is divided according to the Law. There is no provision for this in the MMDA. In this Context the Kandy Forum recommend to revise the relevant section of the MMDA in order to provide sufficient amount of maintenance and compensation to the divorced wife.

7. Administrative Officers of MMDA

To administer Muslim marriage, divorce and maintenance there is a supreme body of The Muslim Marriage and Divorce Advisory Board under the chairmanship of the Registrar general with nominated Muslim members not less than four nor more than nine, Registrars and Special Registrars of Muslim Marriages, Quazis, Temporary Quazis and Special Quazis and the Board of Quazis with five Muslim members

According to MMDA all of these officers should be male Muslims and no Muslim woman can be appointed to these posts. It is obviously discriminatory against women and also against the fundamental principle of equality in Islam. While Muslim women play leading roles in various positions in political, social and judiciary sectors all over the world it is ridiculous to think that they can’t be appointed as Registrars of marriage and Quazis in Sri Lank, while in Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Egypt and Palestine, Muslim women occupy the post of Quazis and Judges. According to several Islamic scholars it is not against Sharia. Quran and authentic hadith are not discriminatory against women.

The question of the possibility of Women serving in the different levels of the system of MMDA has been put forward by different sections of society and taking into consideration the success of such exercises in different Muslim countries, the involvement of Muslim Women into service is recommended.

MMDA does not stipulate any minimum educational qualifications to Quazis who carry out similar function of a judge in a civil court. There are a number of complaints against Quazis of their inabilities, partialities and corruptions. Therefore, the qualifications, qualities and the status of Quazis should be enhanced.

There is a final question that has to be addressed. The MMDA specifies that the Sri Lankan Muslims should be governed by the sect (mathab) traditionally they belong to. Mathabsare based on the interpretations of Quran and Sunna by individual Imaams and each mathab differs from the other in various important aspects of Islamic Personal Law. In this context, should the Muslims be governed by the sect (mathab) traditionally they belong to as specified by the MM DA.? Or can they follow Quran and Sunnaof the Prophet with their own rational interpretation appropriate to the modern context?

Kandy Forum wishes to propose to adopt a pluralistic approach in revising the MMDA, without restricting to a particular mathab and to incorporate all the appropriate and progressive aspects of Personal Laws of different mathab in order to give more importance to Quran and Sunna than individual mathab.

Signed by

Prof. M A Nuhman, Prof. S H Hasbullah, Prof. M A M Sitheeque, Mr. M MNiyas,, Prof. M S M Anes,Mr. J MMubarak, Dr. M Z M Nafeel, Dr. A S M Nawfhal, Dr. A L M Mahroof, Mr. J M Niwas, Mr. U M Fazil.

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28 Responses to MMDA: Kandy Forum Says Reforms Needed To Enhance Social Status Of Muslim Women

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    Very constructive proposals. An opportunity to show that Islam is accommodative framework

    Zarudeen
    November 20, 2016 at 8:22 pm
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      Prof. M A Nuhman and Kandy Forum Members, RE:MMDA: Kandy Forum Says Reforms Needed To Enhance Social Status Of Muslim Women “The Kandy Forum proposes changes in the following areas of the MMDA, namely (1) minimum age for marriage, (2) consent of the bride, (3) polygamy, (4) mahar and dowry, (5) divorce, (6) maintenance and (7) exclusion of women as administrative officers of MMDA. We think that these changes are vital to enhance the social status of Muslim women in particular and the development of Muslim community in general.” Thank you for your leadership in clarifying this issue of MMDA and its discrimination against Sri Lankan Muslim Women. The Mullah and Ulema have their own agenda, and they will use religion to advance their Tribal “Traditions”. Culture and Religion are two separate things. You have given the examples from the Quran and in addition from Tunisia, Bangla Desh and Malaya. The Mullah and Ulema in South Asia do not even let Muslim Women go to the Mosque for social interaction and networking. Please also include these a Muslim Women’s Rights. After all, during the Prophet’s time women were allowed to go to the mosque.

      Amarasiri
      November 21, 2016 at 7:07 am
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        Prof. M A Nuhman and Kandy Forum Members, RE:MMDA: Kandy Forum Says Reforms Needed To Enhance Social Status Of Muslim Women. Religious Extremism and Wahhabism: The Counter Reaction Against the West and Western Hegemonism. This is spilling into Sri Lanka and the rest of the world.Separate Culture from Religion. God does not care much about culture, only Religion and how is supposed to be worshipped. So, treating women badly is not part of the equation. How Saudi Arabia Financed Global Terror The invasion of Iraq has fuelled anti-western sentiment in Saudi Arabia, strengthening grassroots’ support for terrorist organisations. Allan Gerson has sued Saudi charities, banks and members of the royal family for two trillion dollars. He accuses them of financing the September 11 attacks and Bali bombing: “We have seen evidence of money that went from Saudi sources through various entities in Europe to support terrorist cells.” These allegations are strenuously denied by Crown Prince Abdullah, ruler of Saudi Arabia. However, there is a growing gulf between the governing elite and their subjects and many Saudis are angered by America’s unwavering support for Israel. “The more the Palestinians are oppressed and the more the Americans support Israel, the more popular bin Laden and his like becomes,” explains Saudi writer Sulayman Al-Hattlan. “Osama stood up for people who were quiet … He told the States I’m not afraid of you,” admires one student. Her friend agrees: “If Bush makes us choose between our religion or hurting our people, we’re going to choose our religion.” Images of the bombing of Baghdad can only galvanise support for Islamic fundamentalists prepared to bank-roll Al-Qaeda. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCUbFJeRfME

        Amarasiri
        November 26, 2016 at 10:20 am
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    It is good to see people making a huge effort to bring much needed reforms that will benefit those who have had no voice, nor protection. Every Muslim father, brother, uncle, and male family members MUST do their part to support these reforms, so that their daughters, sisters, nieces, and female family member will be protected and their interests safeguarded by these laws. Too many Muslim women are left destitute after a divorce, and dead beat fathers are allowed to continue with their lives, with no thought for the children she struggles to take care of. Young children have no say or can even mentally comprehend being married to a man, and it should be considered child abuse. Raise the age limits to 18 years minimum, and give these poor girls the chance to grow up, and meanwhile be children. We cannot have these primitive laws that go back to medieval times. The world has changed since then, so must the rules.

    Manel
    November 20, 2016 at 8:29 pm
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    Interest to reform MMDA is appreciative. However to the dismay, there seems to be no female participation in Kandy forum. Doesn’t that show that Muslim women are still backward or forcefully kept backward? Generally when talking about marriage, ladies are the first to come forward and air there views. With more and more love and respect, other communities want Muslims to come forward with enhanced female participation. Though it’s not law; naturally it’s ladies that communicate love, kindness and compassion in any community. Muslim women are closed for that and isn’t it discrimination? Their interest for religion inspired Sharia seems to be an obstacle for their women’s achievements.

    sr
    November 20, 2016 at 10:59 pm
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    Yes, highly appreciate and it’s a great move by the learnt people of the Muslim community. Silently many Muslim girl children are suffering due the bad practices in the community and lack of protection of the law of the country. Yes, it’s high time all have to change for the good of all. In my near and wilder circles there are multiple incidents where the men left and the girls are suffering, and under going immense hardships with children to care for. Quazi courts system is one way street, and an absolute disaster which is an easy route for the men to escape from their responsibilities. It’s the absolute responsibility and duty of the educated and enlighten one in the community to press the government to give a fair deal to the Muslim women and all the women in the country for they are our mothers, sisters, daughters and wives.Does any decent and good human being ever think of causing pain and harm to them? For sure, those who do wouldn’t have Allah’s mercy here and the next world.

    Zain
    November 21, 2016 at 12:17 am
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    This is a clear conspiracy “due to the alleged involvement of European Union”. AND Why not name those Islamic scholars who assisted in entire processes and recommendations. The intellectuals who appointed this study group should have invited ACJU to study and recommend changes. “Given this situation the Kandy Forum has tried to study the MMDA in consultation with some Islamic scholars and look at making recommendations for reform so as to assist those involved in the reform process.” Why didn’t the committee study marriage n divorce law of Saudi Arabia, while studying others Islamic countries???

    Joe
    November 21, 2016 at 2:00 am
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    The subject of Child Marriage has come to the focus due to the Request by European Union to ensure Child Marriage Regulations of the Human Rights Commission be adhered to. These muslim academics were silent about their own women until the Catholic/christians – eurpeans wanted it. If Sinhala buddhists proposed it, many muslims would have talked extremism, lack of human rights and bashed buddhists. Some muslim societies in the world are more democratic than the Sri lankan muslims who seems to be extremist with respect to their social rituals. Any way, some of the muslim Academics mentioned for the article are former LTTE supporters.

    jim softy
    November 21, 2016 at 3:24 am
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      JIM Softy As you correctly pointed out participation of sinhalese buddhists in this discussion might hinder rightful cause of Muslims ladies and children. our participation in this forum may fill Muslim extremists armory with extra weapons to agitate continuation of this discriminatory law saying that this is the conspiracy of majority Sinhalese buddhists in order to suppress their religious rights. CT took all the pains to give wide publicity to minister wijedasa’s statement on local youth joining with ISIS group. but keep very silence on same minister’s statement on abuse of MMDA by Muslim community. in Matala area one Muslim man taken away thirteen years old sinhalese girl got married her.I think this Muslim man should be prosecuted and punished as Australian law authority did recently for same kind of incident.That may hurt Muslim community but that is the very sensible thing to do. but in this forum some like Amarasiri and so called native wedda might argue that no issue as this child from para sinhalese family as such this is not an issue to prosecute Muslim culprit.some might say former president and gota might involved in this incident. whatever it is as per the information available this poor child has been taken as domestic servant by Muslim family and raped her and got married her as her parents have no option but to give their consent.very unfortunate incident..All media should give full publicity and forced police to act past and punish culprits.

      ranjith(sprrw)
      November 21, 2016 at 5:50 pm
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        ranjith(sprrw) “That may hurt Muslim community but that is the very sensible thing to do. but in this forum some like Amarasiri and so called native wedda might argue that no issue as this child from para sinhalese family as such this is not an issue to prosecute Muslim culprit.some might say former president and gota might involved in this incident.” You have got it wrong! Amarasiri is against DOUBLE STANDARDS, whether by Para-Muslims, Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamils etc. The problem Amarasiri has with MMDA is that it a Double Standard Act, that is targeted at the Para-Muslim girls and women,and occasionally a Para-Sinhala or Para-Tamil girl gets trapped in this. Thre should be one uniform Law for All Paras, in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, independent of their Para Beliefs. Many a Para-Sinhala have used this MMDA loophole to get around their first wife and getting a second wife, by becoming a Para-Muslim. Changing Religion does not get rid of Para-identity of the Paras. The Para-Sinhala “Buddhist” also target young boys to be Samanears, robing them of their childhood, to brainwash early,and some of them grow up being misfits in society, and became an insult to Buddha, like Ganasra of BBS. Child Ordination -Through A Mother’s Eyes! https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/child-ordination-through-a-mothers-eyes/ Can somebody write about Child Raping -Through A Mother’s Eyes?

        Amarasiri
        November 21, 2016 at 7:50 pm
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          FOR para sinhala comments I have replied you several occasions. as such no comment this time. I will meet you Mr. sudunaluma latter. by the way I appreciate very much your handling of incident at presidential secretariat at other day. you behaved like old policeman gentleman one.goodbye for now.

          ranjith(sprrw)
          November 21, 2016 at 11:09 pm
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        It is said that ‘love is blind’. That may be the only reason why they both ran away. Religious beliefs, language and other social incompatibilities usually become secondary issues under such circumstances. Also, what you report is only an isolated incident and is not the norm. It is most likely the young girl was disillusioned and decided to elope with her lover, out of her own desire. We don’t have the full story to derive a reasonable conclusion. The only thing we can deduce is that their marriage was consensual, and therefore neither party could be apportioned the full blame. For all we know, the alleged rape and abuse to slave like treatment including parents disappointment, is only used to spice up the fallout and create a negative opinion on the Muslim man. For all we know, there can be no smoke without a fire, and thus blame should be shared by both parties to the conflict.

        Roger
        November 21, 2016 at 10:36 pm
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      We all know its the international BBS terrorist network pressured Europe to bring this change

      AJ
      November 22, 2016 at 5:11 am
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    Hi Joe, Joe, you are a real Joe. Man, would you give away your minor girl child in marriage in her tender age in which she is learning the ropes of the life to lead a good life? Take it seriously, Marriage is not a joke, it’s big responsibility and commitment for those who are getting married, else it would be living hell, and it’s already the case for many girls in our country. I’m telling you through the real life cases that I have seen. Hence, we must see to it, there should be good and strong laws for their protection and to give them good lives. Man, what’s wrong in EU telling this to us? Man, even my kid telling me some thing good, I would listen, for that matter, even a man on the street. Man, the above Forum people are well educated and have real life experiences so that they could sit out with the religious scholars, and could produce good out come for all these issues. They have the Quran, the Rasullah’s Sunah, and gain insight from the laws of other Islamic countries like Malaysia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia etc to get this job done.

    Zain
    November 21, 2016 at 3:34 am
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    “In this context, the Kandy Forum wishes to state that a Muslim woman should enjoy equal right as a man enjoy,” It is welcomed to advocate the equal rights. But why the words “In this context”? Is should be in all contexts. Further a child is not a woman. Equality with men is not enough for a child. Child needs the state’s protection. “(2) The conditional age of marriage to accommodate the request of the person and both parents to be 15-17 years. This concession need to be closely supervised by the Quazis subject to satisfying the Physical, Psychological and Medical Fitness of the Person for the said purpose.” If you are the mother of the child how would you allow male only Quazis to make the child stand on the stage of Trumps owned beauty pageant drills in Bikini to exam the medical, mental and physical fitness? Never other than fully certified medical professionals anybody should be allowed to examin to evaluate a child’s mental and Physical status and it should not be for other than for the treatment of diseases, special education and employments. Any underage age marriage took place for a child should be subject to unconditional revocation by the child on the attainment of legal age to make decisions. Any recognized polygamy has be to from the woman side too. If a man can marry four women, women can too. It should be in writing. Further a non muslim woman married to a Muslim should be granted option to select a her prefered legal system on her first encounter for legal judgement. A Muslim woman should be allowed marry any man she likes and to hold on to the Muslim faith, if that’s she wants. She should be allowed to elect Muslim law implemented on her marriage, provided her partner consents to that. There should not be any law or religious authority force her to marry a man she doesn’t like or stop her from marrying a man she likes. Then only a Muslim woman gets equal right like a Sinhala or Tamil woman.

    Mallaiyuran
    November 21, 2016 at 5:05 am
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    For the sake of fairness and justice, need one law for everyone in the country. Nothing should be based on religion or race. We all should be equal in front of the law.

    Ding
    November 21, 2016 at 5:38 am
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      Further, under Polygamy laws, if four wives with equal status, if exercised their rights, resulting in the death of the husband, does MMDA laws pardon the incident? in reference to the recent incident in Nigeria. How does the national laws interpret it? Considering the interests of young girls are appreciable.

      Adrian
      November 21, 2016 at 12:48 pm
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    Britain’s Underage Muslim Marriage Epidemic https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4017/uk-muslim-underage-marriage Things began to change in Europe after things like above were reported.

    De Silva
    November 21, 2016 at 6:02 am
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    Why allow Kaikuli (Dowry) if it is UN-Islamic? Mentioning it in the Marriage Register helps divorced women to claim it back is not only a very strange and lame argument but also gives recognition to an Un-Islamic practice. Do away with Kaikuli altogether and ensure that the Mahar is paid at the time of marriage.

    Muhandiram
    November 21, 2016 at 8:52 am
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    MMDA was instigated to induce an split between Tamils and Muslims. While organizing islandwide pogroms against Hindus in the 1950s, this law was concocted putting together some obsolete Hindu and Muslims faiths. The reasons was Hindu women were married to Muslims men, so they were naturally subjected to Dowry and Kaikully. No Hindu father is willing to “send his daughter even to a thief empty handed”. I am not creating that phrase, but this how men in Tamil villages say it. If a Hindu woman had gone without it her guilty feelings kill that she brought him shame and a evaluation in his fellow men as worthless. This feeling is well showing in this “Sirai” movie song – where woman who has come to her husband empty handed is emotionally promising him that she will conduct her life in a manner useful to him as she the best dowry he deserve to be presented. “Saaream en Seethanam …Naanee un Varathatchanai”(I have only this beautiful voice as my property …. this girl is your dowry.. I will be sitting next to you and be sining my entire life to make you happy) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLASINXmP5c. The law of the country does not relieve the people pain out of these problems but they use it to take forward the politicians political ambitions. Those who robbed $18 billions are still the heros of these people. MMDA is oppressive Hindu – Muslim practices made into law by Sinhala Politicians. The issue of Muslims women has been there for some time. Why this sacrifice of women took place was to satisfy oppunistics Muslims political leaders and to have them pass standardization like destructive laws. Few months ago Ahamed Nazeer was entering into Tamil Girls schools celebration and demanded a leadership in that where he had nothing. Hakeem accused of making deals with Old King, when TNA asked to form a government in East, pawning Tamils and Muslims of East for him to escape out of crime he is accused of committed against women. Lankawe politics are olden days Dark Rooms art where dark and ugly negatives of truth are converted into beautiful false pictures and presented to ignorant mass. The muslim women are the real underdogs. Now the political circumstances of the country is putting Muslims also at disadvantage like Tamils. So these learned Muslim mene are trying to use again the temporary underdog situation of Muslims politicains to change the MMDA as Sharia Religious law instead of once and for all freeing the woman.

    Mallaiyuran
    November 21, 2016 at 7:29 pm
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    Jimmy Softy From colonial times to now Europe and the Whites in general suffer from a Whiteman’s syndrome, “wanting to save brown women from brown men”, nevermind what/how the white treats their own white women. One of the main justifications given to invade Afganistan was to save the Afgan women from the Afgan men, in order to save them from the brown men the Americans (the Whites) had to kill their husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins, nephews etc, and afterwards maybe rape these saved women because now they were safe from their brown men.

    Muslim Kella
    November 21, 2016 at 7:43 pm
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      Muslim Kella “a Whiteman’s syndrome, “wanting to save brown women from brown men”,” If you don’t save the brown women strangers will. Its your duty as a Muslim Kella to save all brown women. It does not mean you can marry all of them and then divorce them by uttering talaq three times.

      Native Vedda
      November 22, 2016 at 5:37 am
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    How can a girl of 15-17 give consent for conditional marriage at the whim and fancy of a quazi whose attitude would vary? Subjective discretion should not be allowed not even parent’s. Would it be right for a quazi or parent vote on behalf of a 17 year old? Voting is hardly personal and can be reversed max in 7 years! This is a life long commitment and for me even 18 is not enough, that is why the rest of Sri Lankan men and women have decided to marry closer to 30 (average age of marriage). PUT YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF A WOMAN AND REFINE EVEN THOSE PROGRESSIVE CHANGES PROPOSED BY PROPOSED BY YOU!

    A Sri Lankan man
    November 22, 2016 at 2:17 am
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    Thanks for addressing the issue. It is well timed to arrest the hijacking of Islam by so-called ‘fundamentalists’. Best wishes to continue the good work.

    sivasegaram
    November 22, 2016 at 1:30 pm
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    Appreciate very much the effort of the kandy Forum to address this important issue. Islam is a progressive religion and gender equality is much stressed in the teachings of Islam but unfortunately some primitive practices are still carried on unabated. It’s timely effort by the scholars to have addressed these matters. Like to see these reforms are brought to the attention of the public and political leaders. Our Muslim political leadership need to take this matter further. Educated Muslim women folks need to take part in the debate.

    Macbool Haroon
    November 23, 2016 at 7:54 pm
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    One small question to the Forum is if a girl under 18 years indulges in pre=marital sex and gets pregnant and she decides to marry the man who pregnated her do you recommend she abort as she cannot marry till she is 18? Will the so called intellectuals of the forum come up with the answer

    colin
    November 25, 2016 at 9:27 pm
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    The Kandy Forum which consists of Professors,Doctors and other Professionals its three days since I posed the above question to you’ll but you seem to be maintaining a deafening silence which seems to be killing. I’ll repeat it for clarity” If a couple of lovers indulge in pre-marital sex(Its happening often in many circles) and the girl becomes pregnant and also if they are below the age of 18 years,say if the boy is 17 and the girl 16 plus what happens to the child born out of wedlock?Should the mother abort?Or will that poor innocent child be called a “bastard”( a child born out of wedlock defined in the dictionary) All these questions will arise as they cannot marry until they are 18 to be recognised as legally married man and wife

    colin
    November 28, 2016 at 9:45 pm
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    Kandy forum fellows seems to be a set of lunatics. It’s ok if girls marriage age advanced upto 16. But going out of Shafie mazhab 99% of Sri lankan Muslims belongs is ridiculous. Don’t how many fellows who signed as kandy forum pray five times a day Salaat. These academic s of the world are ignorant of Shariah laws. It’s very obvious from their proposal of making women Qazis and judges where as Islam PROHIBITS Women as Imams in Salaat and Khutba. Let the MMDA prevail as it’s mostly in accordance with Quran and Sunnah. If any adjustments needed let it do in the age of marriage for girls and in the Quality and piety when appointing Quazis. Let the so called juhla women and academic juhla ignored as they are bothered of pampering their nufoos of worldly life and not the akhirat.

    Seyyed Reza Quraish Moulana
    December 1, 2016 at 10:59 am
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