22 October, 2017

Muslim Women: Second-Class Rights Holders In Sri Lanka’s Quazi System

By Shreen Saroor

Shereen Saroor

Shreen Saroor

Despite volumes of research and recommendations for reform, Sri Lanka’s Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act of 1951 (MMDA) and the Quazi court system remain untouched and continue to oppress Muslim women. Muslim women face issues such as domestic violence, exploitation, child marriage, and the prospect of their husbands taking multiple wives, all without the means for legal recourse. Although Sri Lanka is a party to human rights treaties like CEDAW, CRC, ICESCR, and ICCPR that bans discrimination against women and protect the rights of the child, Muslim women are not afforded equal protection. Article 16(1) of the 1978 Constitution allows provisions under the MMDA to remain in effect despite inconsistencies with fundamental rights provisions.

This article discusses the flaws of the Quazi court system from the perspective of women who have been silently suffering. I interviewed 38 Muslim women who took their cases to Quazi courts and 12 Quazis for this article. The women’s stories revealed a consistent pattern of Quazi courts tolerating violence and injustice against Muslim women. The women I spoke to highlighted the following concerns:

Quazis lack legal training

The MMDA allows any male Muslim of good character and position and of suitable attainment to be appointed to serve as a Quazi in a territorial jurisdiction for a specified period. Initially, Quazis were mostly elder, educated individuals with standing in their communities. Today, it is not the case; those with social capital rarely seek this office, and some do for recognition and power.

Most Quazis lack formal legal training. There is no requirement for Quazis to understand the MMDA. Unlike District court judges who begin with legal education and training under a senior lawyer and learn by experience how formal court judges dispense justice, Quazis lack training either before or after appointment. They receive only a day or two of cursory training by the Judicial Service Commission. Despite their lack of training, Quazis are usually reluctant to refer difficult cases to Magistrate Courts or to the Board of Quazis.

The tradition of appointing laypersons as Quazis, instead of lawyers, flows from the notion that Quazis serve as a mediator rather than a judge in informal proceedings. However, the consequence is Muslim women being denied access to their legal remedies, such as under the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 (DVA). Indeed, none of the 12 Quazis I interviewed had any knowledge of the DVA. To improve the system, some community activists have suggested that only lawyers should be appointed as Quazis, or that they should receive adequate legal training in areas affecting Muslim women’s rights.

Quazi courts are hostile spaces for women

Quazi courts are intended to function as informal, friendly, and non-threatening forums for dispute resolution. In practice, however, Muslim men have used the flexible family-focused system to get away with criminal behavior in the private sphere. Many women described Quazi courts as extremely unfriendly spaces where they have no voice. This purported “justice space” is thus used to control women’s private lives and conceal domestic violence.

Quazi courts have no jurisdiction to deal with domestic violence as provided for under the Domestic Violence Act. However, in practice, many women seek redress for domestic violence from Quazis and when they do, are told that they “invited” such violence by raising in public a “normal” aspect of married life. In many cases, Quazis have told women to go back to their husbands, while their husbands are gently told to treat their wives better, irrespective of the severity of abuse.

The Quazi system is male-dominated. Women are barred from holding any position of authority as Quazis, jurors, marriage registrars, or on the Board of Quazis (BOQ). There was a strong demand from many Muslim women and community activists I interviewed for women to sit as jurors and judges in the Quazi courts and BOQ. The women felt this would lead to fairer hearings and verdicts.

Half of the women I interviewed highlighted privacy concerns with the open community court system. Men can listen in as women describe their intimate relationships and cruel and degrading treatment by their husbands. A couple of the women said that after discussing “private issues” before Quazi courts, men later tried to sexually exploit them.

Some women said their husbands blackmailed them, or otherwise obstructed them when they tried to go to a Quazi court with complaints. Despite informing Quazi courts about these threats, Quazis did not take any action against these men.

Quazis delay proceedings to deny women’s claims

If a complaint originates from a woman, especially in relation to a man taking another wife, Quazis often delay giving a verdict. They postpone hearings and fail to provide maintenance settlements in writing, in effect forcing women to accept their husbands’ second or third marriages. In cases where women have filed for divorce, the final settlement is sometimes prolonged for many years. The cases that were settled promptly were the ones in which men filed for divorce to marry another woman. Many women struggled to get a Fasah[1] even against men who were known in the community to be criminals; by contrast, men accusing women of “unacceptable behavior” could secure divorce (Talaq) within six months.

Enforcement of Quazi verdicts is also a challenge. Women report that their husbands fail to make maintenance payments for many years, with Quazi courts, the Board of Quazis, and Magistrate Courts ineffective in enforcing payment. Quazis lack power to enforce or monitor their rulings. Though Magistrates issue warrants to apprehend the men, police seem to ignore these cases. Women often have to find out their husbands’ whereabouts and inform police themselves.

Quazis pressure women to accept their husbands’ conduct

Quazis pressure women to accept their husbands’ conduct, such as a second or third marriage, rather than help the affected to get a divorce with maintenance. Some women have been accused of not fulfilling their “wifely” duties (which could be as trivial as not cooking a meal on time), thereby justifying the husband marrying another woman. Quazis have told women that if they are unwilling to accept their husband’s second or third marriage, they cannot ask for compensation or maintenance. The women I interviewed questioned how Quazis could be expected to challenge their husbands’ behavior when they themselves have multiple wives.

Several women I interviewed said they would not seek divorce despite facing severe domestic violence and instead sought reconciliation or maintenance from the Quazi courts. Among their reasons, these women feared that if they initiated divorce, they and their children would lose the right to maintenance or compensation. When women do seek divorce, Quazis have on several occasions advised them to take Fasah, a type of divorce that disqualifies them from compensation or maintenance.

Quazi mechanisms lack accessibility

All districts[2] except Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu have at least one Quazi, and Puttalam has a specially appointed Quazi for the evicted Northern Muslims. Now that Northern Muslims are returning, Muslim women in Killinochchi and Mullaitivu have to travel to Vavuniya or Puttalam for Quazi court hearings. In Mannar Island, Quazi hearings are conducted only thrice a month, while in Jaffna, they are conducted fortnightly. This renders the justice system inaccessible and expensive for returnee women, who are already struggling to restart their lives. Women with children find it particularly difficult to leave their children and travel alone to Quazi courts.

Women also face difficulty accessing the Board of Quazis (BOQ) for appeals, and thus cannot remedy incorrect or unfair Quazi court rulings. Women find it difficult and cost-prohibitive to travel alone to Colombo to access the BOQ. As a result, the women I interviewed said that mostly men were able to use the BOQ and that they used it to drag out cases and avoid a final settlement, delay maintenance payments, and delay divorce agreements. To increase accessibility, one community leader suggested mobile BOQs to service each district every three months. Alternatively, there is a circuit sitting of the BOQ in Kalmunai to hear the appeals from the Eastern Province, which the writer feels should be extended to other districts.

Conclusions

Muslim women are doubly oppressed by the legal system. As has been written elsewhere[3], the MMDA facilitates discrimination against Muslim women. The Quazi system sharpens the blow, with Quazis lacking proper legal training or gender sensitivity to make the pronouncements that deeply impact Muslim women’s lives.

The women I interviewed felt that women in other communities had better access to relief under general Sri Lankan laws[4], particularly the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) than they did in Quazi courts. They stressed that Muslim women should be given legal assistance to challenge Quazi verdicts and avail of protections under the DVA rather than be compelled to live in violent relationships and life-threatening environments.

The women I interviewed welcome reform initiatives to the MMDA and Quazi courts that are currently being debated at the local and national levels. Their stance dispels any notion that reforms are being driven by the international community rather than by Muslim women themselves. However, as the group most-affected by the proposed reforms (and the ones that have to live with the future system), the women I spoke to demanded that Muslim women be consulted in shaping reforms. As stakeholders, they seek a system that is fair, easily accessible, efficient, procedurally flexible, and sensitive to their needs. With careful reforms, informed through consultations, Muslim women can finally gain equal legal status and access to justice in Sri Lanka.


[1] Fasah is a kind of divorce allowed in the MMDA based on fault of the husband (e.g., ill treatment, failure of maintenance, desertion, insanity, impotency). This type of divorce disqualifies the woman from receiving compensation (Matha) or maintenance.

[2] Currently there are 65 Quazi courts operating island wide

[3] http://scroll.in/article/817034/in-sri-lanka-muslim-women-are-fighting-back-against-unfair-marriage-laws

[4] Sri Lankan General Marriage Ordinance (GMO) prohibits Muslim marriages taking place under GMO.

*Shreen Abdul Saroor – founder member of Mannar Women’s Development Federation and Women’s Action Network

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Latest comments

  • 16
    4

    Muslim Women

    We are happy to see Muslim women freely expressing their ideas, without fear of being beheaded as in some Muslim countries. We hear daily about women being subjected to honour killings, burning and such barbaric punishments reasons that only a barbaric people who believe in an unseen, unheard, unsmelt, unfelt, omnipotent, omniscient God, who seems to have no tolerance and Omnicruel.

    Ladies you may Thank Allah that you are born in Sri Lanka, a Buddhist country. They dare not touch you here. We are not going to allow that kind of barbarity here in our resplendent island. If ever that happens, even Rev. Gnanasara will be on our side to punish the culprits.

    So carry on without fear. Let a thousand flowers like you bloom and May Allah protect you from his stupid followers.

    • 15
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      Dear Shreen Saroor,

      RE: Muslim Women: Second-Class Rights Holders In Sri Lanka’s Quazi System.

      “Despite volumes of research and recommendations for reform, Sri Lanka’s Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act of 1951 (MMDA) and the Quazi court system remain untouched and continue to oppress Muslim women. Muslim women face issues such as domestic violence, exploitation, child marriage, and the prospect of their husbands taking multiple wives, all without the means for legal recourse. Although Sri Lanka is a party to human rights treaties like CEDAW, CRC, ICESCR, and ICCPR that bans discrimination against women and protect the rights of the child, Muslim women are not afforded equal protection. Article 16(1) of the 1978 Constitution allows provisions under the MMDA to remain in effect despite inconsistencies with fundamental rights provisions.”

      Thank you, May almighty Allah bless you for all your efforts to rescue the Sri Lankan Muslim girls and women from the oppression of the Tribal Mullahs and men who wants to follow the Arabian Tribal customs, to their advantage, based on their interpretations, to their advantage.

      Please recruit and gather Muslim women as well as other non-Muslim women for your cause. Expose, expose and expose the injustices.

      Do the Mullahs and men follow the Prophet’s Sunnah, Traditions.? Did any of them marry an older women, or an older widow? No. They do after young girls 12 years old, carry out legalized rape, in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Ari Lanka, the Land of Native Veddah Aethho, and discard their older wives.

    • 2
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      Dear Shreen / Lakshminarayan

      All (At least most of the) Muslim scholars whole heartedly wish for changes in MMDA, simply because MMDA is not fully Islamic legislation based. It contains many civil law and incompatible administrative system as you mentioned un-trained Quazis also one of it. Just see around the world in India Hindu women asking the Islamic marriage law to be nationalized for their safety and protection.

      I would like to highlight only single point here, Islam is the religion which gave equal rights to women 1400 years ago even so called Democratic champians USA has given the voting rights to women somewhere in 1960s. You may have heard how much Islam protect a women ONE AND ONLY religion or law in the world which order for punishment (80 Slashes) to the one who spread roamers about un-found sexual misconduct of a woman, not only the physical abuses Islam protect a woman even from mental abuses as well.

      I kindly urge both of you to study the women in Islamic perspective, before prejudicing the things (Not in the format of orientalist view, in its actual format explained by the experts of Quran and prophets traditions).

      All human made law have loop halls. How many rape cases, child abuses, ill treatments, domestic violences happening in our motherland we never blame the civil law of the country.
      Culprits to be punished whoever wherever it is regardless of religion and ethnicity.

  • 15
    4

    A quotation from God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

    “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully”.

    The key word here is misogynistic. This is a description of the God of the Old Testament. So, you see, Shreen, names have changed but not much else since that time.

    That is why we Hindus worship bulls. They are not that bad and much more useful too.

    • 2
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      “The fool has said in his heart that there is no God”

    • 0
      1

      The Bulls give the dung too which is very useful.

      • 0
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        15% of the worlds CO2 emissions come from cow dung.- go check on the web what MacDonald has promised by 2020.

        • 0
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          [Edited out]

  • 12
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    Shireen

    Yourself & Shabra Sahid should coordinate a Muslim women’s caucus in order to engage with other groups working on similar issues.
    Please do not delay.

    This struggle is as old as Patriarchy – Information regarding MMDA abuses must be made mainstream.

  • 10
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    In the UK not just first generation immigrant Muslim women but second generation Muslim women suffer domination and violence by their husbands. They live in ghettos and not even allowed to get out of their house.

    • 8
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      http://www.itv.com/news/2016-12-05/muslim-women-struggling-to-integrate-in-uk/

      Britain has been warned today it is becoming more divided as diversity increases.

      Dame Louise Casey, the government’s immigration adviser, claimed that successive governments had failed to help growing numbers of immigrants to integrate.

      She said her investigation into the issue, the Casey Review, would be difficult to take for Muslim communities in particular – where poor English skills and the dominance of men are holding women back.

      The report showed that 16% of Britain’s Muslim population cannot speak English well, or at all.

      Further figures show 22% of Muslim women have poor English skills, while 57% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women don’t work.

      Dame Louise, speaking to ITV News in Sparkhill, Birmingham, argued that reasons behind so many Muslim women being out of work may partly be cultural.

      “We have some women living in this country who don’t understand what their rights are – often because they don’t speak English, or that they don’t understand what the rules are”, Dame Louise said.

      “To be blunt, a lot of the men are quite happy to keep them that way”.

      Aysha Iqbal, of Sparkhill’s Women’s Support Network, agreed, saying there were “certain barriers” holding back Muslim women.

      Last updated Mon 5 Dec 2016

  • 20
    1

    Thank you Shreen. In the short time I have known you I have come to appreciate your unwavering commitment to minority rights, especially women’s rights.

    On the matter of the rights of Muslim women I have been very clear in my mind that things are not well. However, I have been reluctant get engaged, indeed even inform myself, because I have felt that would be treading on the toes of a minority community deserving sympathetic treatment. Your writings have made me alive to the fact that the problem is serious and cannot be ignored. Your descriptions at this week’s workshop on political violence and women made me deeply aware of the problem of girls as 12 being married off to much older men and divorced by age 16, leaving behind teenage mothers with young children and no one to look after them.

    Something has to be done but what can be done. And what can be done without being seen to intrude into the affairs of a minority community?

    May I respectfully suggest that we ask Muslim women to decide what should be done without letting men have a say and pass it into law. After all there are many Muslim women like yourself, Ferial Ashraff, Afreeha Jawad who are intellectually sharp, independently minded and conscientious. This is something that affects the rights of Muslim women and doesn’t affect the rights of anyone else, so Muslim women alone should decide.

    • 3
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      S.R.H. Hoole

      May I respectfully suggest that we ask Muslim women to decide what should be done without letting men have a say and pass it into law.

      If women want to decide only for themselves without considering anything related to husband’s or mens’ requirements, women should stay without getting married and they should promote LGBT rights. In the west, women organized as Feminist groups and their needs were mostly those anti-men women who were Lesbians and those who wanted to behave like Men. So, Feminism failed.

      Women should enjoy femininity. In Asia and among muslims, it is completely a different case. Women are an object of men.

      I think, women should be conservative. It does not mean Men can decide totally and compltely for women.

      they should have compassion on their wives considering their grand mother, mother, sisters and daughters as women.

    • 8
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      Prof. Hoole is quite right in saying that Muslim women should do all that they can to sort these problems out within the Muslim community. I have said all that I could here , in relation to another articel on the same subject:

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/mmda-personal-laws-at-the-expense-of-fundamental-rights/

      There are other issues relating to sexuality which are rather more recent, and may be need discussion, but elsewhere, surely. The LGBT issues that “jim softy” attempts to bring in should not be allowed to intrude. These Muslim women are fighting for their dignity in what will always be regarded as “normal family life”.

      Challenging that concept of “normal family life” is justified to ensure that there is no tyranny imposed by this “normality”, but the fact is that sexual activity is biologically there to ensure the continuation of the species. Within the species there may be those who are “differently oriented”. They needn’t be harassed, but they ought to stay out of this particular debate.

      The problem is that LGBT activists are getting more and more open, and, speaking for myself only, seeing pictures of this sort puts me off.

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/lgbtqi-rights-in-sri-lanka-long-way-ahead/

      The photograph of the author was less “extreme” some time ago?

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/lgbtqi-rights-in-sri-lanka-long-way-ahead/

      Is this the same author or a different one. The name seems to change from Shaminda to Shamindra?

      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/calling-jayantha-dhanapala-a-liar-or-the-tragedy-of-lankan-public-life/

      I’m getting confused myself!

      The desire of those conservatives who want to link the issues is unfair. Within the Anglican Church there is a long-standing demand fo women to be ordained as priests. This ought to be non-controversial and should go ahead without allowing it to be linked to LG priests and bishops.

      To do otherwise is to be unfair by half the human race: to all females. I hope this makes sense, because even I’m getting confused now!

  • 14
    0

    Thank you for highlighting the issues among Muslim women, Do not give up!

    There are thousands of Muslim women get abused among poor families.
    It is much better when it come from the horse’s mouth. Latheef and Farook are so vibrant in attacking Gnasara, But nothing for the abuse of Muslim women!

    It is not just Muslim women, every Sri Lanka woman must be empowered to stand up to their rights and dignified treatment!

    • 10
      5

      srinath.gunaratnam

      “It is not just Muslim women, every Sri Lanka woman must be empowered to stand up to their rights and dignified treatment!”

      That’s bit rich coming from you.

      If you really care about women, please do visit the sweat-shops and plantations, stop sending women to Medieval Middle East countries, and hope you remedy what the armed forces have done to Tamil women in the North East. Remember there are about 95,000 young widows in two provinces.

      Further, stop exploiting women when you visit them, instead find them decent jobs.

      • 5
        6

        War widows are in South too! Well you only see what you want to see,
        That is how the myth of Tamil Peelam was created!

        • 5
          3

          srinath.gunaratnam

          “War widows are in South too!”

          Yes sad but true, what are you doing about it? Isn’t it the responsibility of the state/government to look after them?

          ” That is how the myth of Tamil Peelam was created!”

          What is Peelam? I don’t see this word in Mahawamsa. Do you let me know the page?

        • 3
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          That is valid to you too…

          “Well you only see what you want to see,”

  • 7
    0

    Yet another excellent exposure of the weaknesses of the out-dated, 65 year-old MMDA by yet another intreprid member of the Muslim Female Intelligentsia in Sri Lanka. Our sisters are crying out for justice. They are not asking for any special privileges.

    Do the Muslim Males believe that the wrath of Allah SWT will be unleashed on them if they amend the Fiqh Laws framed in 1951 to make them more appropriate and compatible with the present context ? Laws that will empower the Muslim Wife and enable her to be in a much stronger position to face any trials and tribulations of the future if and when necessary ? May be even as the head of her family ? Laws that will reduce her vulnerability as a woman to external forces ? Should we not take cognizance of the fact that we are minority living in a predominantly non-Muslim country and that we should not blindly borrow Fiqh Laws instituted in Muslim-majority countries ?

    Or are they deep inside afraid of losing the dominant position and psychological grip that they currently enjoy in Muslim Society solely because of their gender and nothing else ?

    Many articles have been written by learned Muslims confirming the fact that the concept of gender equality is alluded to in the Holy Quran. One or more of the following sections of the Quran 3:195, 4:124, 16:97, 33:35, 40:40 and 49:13 is often mentioned in this regard. We must ensure that the words of the Almighty are reflected more sharply in the MMDL.

  • 18
    1

    I was going to write to ask why we never have women who happen to be Muslim writing to CT on any issue; and specially issues pertaining to the Muslim minority in SL. I am glad you wrote about Muslim women’s issues in SL. I get sick and tired of seeing the rantings of some of the muslim men here who seem to think ISIS is such an amazing role model and forcing women to wear backward Saudi Black Niqab or fully covered clothing for Sri Lankan muslim women is ok. For Lateef, Harees, Hilmy etc Muslims do no wrong and everything is an evil Jewish American plot or a BBS plot.

    PLEASE KEEP WRITING.

    • 13
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      Riyas, I totally agree with your comment. The ignorance on real SL Muslim issues whilst blaming every Muslim issue on Israel is called wilful blindness, they know the exact problem but they lack courage to challenge the status quo such as ACJU.

  • 6
    2

    The issue is lack of education and ignorance.
    Same issue as in the UK and the rest of the world.

    Educated Middle/upper class Muslim women enjoy a good life.

    walk down Oxford street in London ….or Shopping Malls of Sri Lanka

  • 10
    10

    Thank you sister for speaking up.

    However, don’t you think it is best to sort these things out within the community?

    Tamils and Singhalese with their own agendas make use of this.

    Anyway please keep writing. SL is a free country we Muslim women have equal rights. Thank Allah (PBUH) for that.

    • 5
      2

      Fathima Fukushima

      However, don’t you think it is best to sort these things out within the community?

      How many centiries 14 0r 18 ?

      that is not long enough to solve this ?

      Prophet Mohomad was engaging in incest. Now, it is Saudi Arabian Tribal customs.

      • 4
        3

        jim softy dimwit

        “Prophet Mohomad was engaging in incest. Now, it is Saudi Arabian Tribal customs.”

        Here is an excerpt from The Sunday Times:

        Sunday, September 15, 2013

        The growing problem of teenage mothers

        By Aanya Wipulasena

        ………

        ……….

        Meanwhile, according to Sarvodaya Suwasetha Sewa Society Director, Bianca Abeygoonawardena, there is an increase in the number of pregnancies caused by incest relationships. “Most of the teenage mothers come from unsettled families where the mother is working abroad or are from separated families. Also the attitude of a father plays a focal role,” she added.

        Ms. Abeygoonawardena said that in most cases involving incest relationships a daughter was being exploited by the father, step father, sibling or a close relation because of the absence of a mother . “When the relationship between the father and mother is not strong the father sometimes turns his attention on the eldest daughter. In some cases the father has been sexually abusing the daughter for a long period of time before the mother gets to know or the victim seeks help,” she said.

        In some instances, she said, because of the poverty of these families the daughter keeps silent for fear that the father would be taken in by the police thereby depriving the family of a breadwinner. “Sometimes the mother also tries to keep the pregnancy a secret or is threatened by the father to keep it concealed. Because of this fear, the pregnancy doesn’t come to light.”
        She said they have come across victims who are younger than 15 years of age. Some girls, she said, don’t even know that they have been raped or pregnant until a long time has lapsed.

        “We see that the lack of a healthy relationship between family members affect teenagers in many ways. Even in the urban setting when children do not have someone to talk to, they involuntarily get drawn to affairs and even sexual relationships with people who show the slightest interest in them,” she warned.

        …..

        …..

        • 1
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          [Edited out]

        • 0
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          So very concerned??
          As if it does not happen in tamil villages of lanka. This happens throughout the world

          start a business to become one of the richest men in world.

          Manufacture chastity belts with lock and key and custody of key by Native Vedda and his crony party who are above sex-appeal.;)

    • 0
      0

      ‘SL is a free country we Muslim women have equal rights.’

      Fathima, (aka Lorenzo from LW) You changed sex already, now what would the folks at LW say?

    • 0
      3

      Fatima Fukiushima
      First of all why don’t you get rid of your hijab/burka that you are wearing so that not only Singhalese and the Tamils but the Muslim women too can all see how pretty you are and be inspired to get rid of those so called agendas you say we are burdened with .

      • 0
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        [Edited out]

        • 0
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          [Edited out]

  • 11
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    It is wonderful to see a brilliant young Sri Lankan tackling this complex issue head on . We need more such ladies to be actively involved in Sri Lankan affairs, thus making our ineffective, corrupt politicians redundant.

  • 1
    2

    Thank you Shreen Saroor for a wonderful article. I hope the Sri Lankan judiciary takes notice. “Most Quazis lack formal legal training” appear almost compulsory in the Quazi Court. They have only a Madrassar qualification and all that it entails is a knowledge of the Qu’ran. The Muslim Marriage Laws are totally unacceptable and unjust for Muslim women and should be repealed. We have well honed Sri Lankan Laws, based on Natural laws, Common Sense and Precedence which should be embraced and made applicable to all Sri Lankans, whatever their religion.

  • 5
    1

    I was surprised and happy to see someone within the community speaking out. Thank-you for your enlightening fact base views. It seems that usually only loud conservative males speak for the community as if they have some divining insight or knowledge of real social problems. Be a person of whatever practicing faith, problems cannot be hidden in a secular multicultural nation. Take the terrible cases of alcoholism and child abuse that affects families of people working in the middle east. Take pedophilia amongst clergy of many religions. These are serious social issues one cannot hide or deny. One cannot say don’t talk about these if society were to progress from medieval mindsets. Thank-you again.

    • 2
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      Mano,
      “problems cannot be hidden in a secular multicultural nation. “
      Syria is multicultural when seen in your sense of definition.
      just after 9/11 when Bush was about to invade Iraq we all saw Surgeon President Assad (qualified in the UK and practiced at UK) and his born and grew up in the UK wife on TV. She told the wold at large look at me in my Charleston dress we are not uncivilized.
      if you followed all sides (especially Edward Samuel “Ed” Miliband PC,(Jewish heritage) and Labour party stupid vote for Libya and against Syria bombing) the rest is history we all know.

      At New Delhi they say: Never get into a fight between husband and wife because they would hit you – let them solve it themselves or part as friends.
      In western and middle east history Muslims have never followed treaties once they were sent home and returned to fight again. Henry 8 fought 3 wars on behalf of his first catholic wife against Islam and won it for the roman emperor (the nephew of Catherine of Spain his wife who bore no child)

  • 4
    2

    Awesome Srheen… I am born to Islam too but walked away from it many years ago, mainly cos of issues like these and worse…

    Very well done, lady, I wish I could help more… May the Power be with you!!!!!

  • 4
    1

    Shreen Saroor – you fail to say these Muslim women you interviewed, which socio economic class they belong to. Reforming MDA and Quazi courts is going to take a long time and not the only panacea. Even If you reform them that is not going to change anything for these Muslim women.

    What need to be done in parallel is to increase the literacy of these women and also form some sort of Muslim Women’s organisation/society locally in each town and encourage them to leave home and meet and socialise and discuss there issues.

    I am also not sure you are suggesting reform to Quazi courts.

    They should be banned and Muslims should seek follow the law of the land

    • 2
      1

      Rajash, in short, there should not be separate laws for different communities. It invites chaos, and grossly unfair because only the laws approved by parliament should be applicable to all its citizens and not laws approved by committees.

    • 0
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      “”They should be banned and Muslims should seek follow the law of the land “”

      Whose land?
      Even for the western woman what you suggest is Utopia.

      The world was built by men for men only- that is how sad it is.
      Every part of a womans body is sold and men just a few acrobats while most men have a good time.`Sex-Appeal`
      Tell one woman leader of the world who cared for women?
      Once they come to power they become men. Most women dislike strict but kind in heart women- fact because they cannot play the game of emotions and get away.Right here at london I know a couple of great women who are directors of charities having billions and are great team players within the company. She would come down and meet a very poor customer which never happens at charities. She would not take the job of CEO because that is for folk to watch the ceiling. She is respected by almost all men workers since she is a team player and stands by the team decision.most men who hold that position watch the ceiling say do this to their junior who cannot because they do not have the tools.The man goes out to play golf because that is where he picks up business he says so.
      Hillary should have been locked up- very soon she would go mad when Americans from democratic party cross over – Trump plans to take the country back to the days of Dutch Aristocrat Roosevelt (the man in the wheel chair) when America was non interfering minding its own business rich – The giant never got up even to the cry of London being blitzed. Truman was an unelected creep who saw the sub-continent people still sleeping with animals.The Muslims in the harem seduced him and there Pakistan east /west was created- now we live that dream world- which you know.
      Read Kipling once again and go for the Burmese woman (satire at its best) with Wiggie by your side for wisdom.

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        now you are confusing women’s right with having parallel courts and laws such as Sharia law as and Quazi courts

        under Islam women are cursed. So follow the rule of the land and liberate your Muslim women.

        Yes there is a glass ceiling for women to break in the corporate world.

        That does not mean you segregate the women form men and condemn women to be slave as in Islam. How will that solve the problem.

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    Quazi should be a sharia trained individuals. not any layman.
    this is a requierment. If not its not acceptable.

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    The best thing is keep public infomred against injustice to wmen.

    domestic violence against wives and women are also should be a priority issue.

    Some photos coming from Pakistan, INdia etc., are unbelieveable.

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      jim softy dimwit

      “The best thing is keep public infomred against injustice to wmen.”

      Let the police interview your former wife first.

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    Gender based violence is very common in every society throughout the human civilization.Violence against women are more and worst in USA, the fully developed country where the freedom for fairer sex is the highest in the whole world.unfortunately in every 2 seconds there is a case of rape and murder perpetrated against females.
    Violence against women is much less comparatively in some Arab countries due to the severe punishment meted out to the culprit.
    According to Sreen Sroor mistreatment to Muslim women is no exception in Sri Lanka, and she blames on Quazi system.I want to ask her which law has protected the womens right ? Is it Roman Dutch law,E English law or the Thesa walamai law of the Tamils? She has generalised some of the injustice done to Muslim women in Sri Lanka when they were actually in need of justice.
    I think Sreen is inconspicuous about Islamic law based on the Holy Quran which was revealed to prophet Mohammed more than 1400 years ago.Out of 114 chapters in the holy Quran one whole chapter four (4) defines the rights of woman in Islam.The rights and the duty of woman marriage,divorce right to women,maintenance and inheritance clearly explained in chapter woman- Sura Nisa.Those who want to get facts the rights religion Islam given to Muslim woman can please refer to chapter 4 and verses 4,11,12,13,34,35 and 36 of the holy Quran.There is no compulsion in Islam,and nobody forces anyone to enlighten.The holy Quran explicitly give facts to those who want to inculcate the knowledge.
    Once the prophet Mohammed has said,” The best among you are those who are true husband’s to your wives”.
    One thing I agree with Sreen The Quazi is appointed by political affiliation.Thats true.Thats a practical problem in the implementation.The Quazi must be a knowlegeable person with thorough understanding of the holy Quran and it’s law.He also should be a well read person of prophet Mohsmmad’s sayings – hadeeth’ A person with lack of knowledge cannot give verdict without a good understanding of Sharjah law.
    Finally we Sri Lankan too suffer due to the lack of vision and mission of the police leaders since independence.The policy taken by leaders of different parties plundered our nation to bankruptcy.The method of implementation of a policy or law go wrong when some people were given immune to the system.So you can’t say Quazi law is wrong but how it is implemented is wrong. Thank you.

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    Well written. I don’t see a difference between Nazi and our Quazi. If the religion does not offer a solution, better to follow another religion. God is one, only religion is different, serves the same purpose. Those who circumcise also go to heaven, so does others who doesn’t. Those pray ten times a day also go to heaven, so does others who doesn’t. God doesn’t discriminate. Then why live like a slave of the ancient belief’s?

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    Jim Softy

    ‘I think, women should be conservative. It does not mean Men can decide totally and completely for women.’

    I think women must speak for themselves and not be slaves to men.
    I think they should be protected by law not sold at an auction at childhood.

    I think what Native Vedda said is true .You are an Medieval Dimwit!

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    Author should first preach her story at Bangladesh where 2 women are at war.
    there are top intellects who would tear her to bits.

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    Bangaldesh and Lanka send single women to Middle east not India and pakistan.

    This woman the author does not wear a burka .

    So the obvious fact is extremely conservative faith Islam Muslims have caste/class

    As always Boris was right its Shia Sunni wars… but the Guardian like CT hid the other part- London, Paris New York which he aired.

    CT your game is up even J Snow is laughing at the rats.

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      You damn coward. You are not a Marikar. No one spells with ” 2 r’s” .They are either Marikar or Marikkar.!!!
      Your stupid comments do not deserve a response

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        [Edited out]

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    Shreen Saroor

    All decent free thinking people will support the fight by women to equal and fair treatment. More so women from the Islamic faith who are fighting additional battles.

    It is a nonsense that we are now in the 21st Century and still trying to achieve free and fair parity. To have 50% of a population governed by subjugation is indecent and despicable.

    I support this just battle, just as I hope all decent men would..

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      [Edited out]

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        jam jar

        “[Edited out]”

        Brilliant

        Thanks for keeping it brief.

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    Shreen Saroor,

    [Edited out]

    Sri Lankan Muslim women enjoy all rights given to them in the Shariah.
    1. Allah treats both men and women as equals and they have a right to acquiring knowledge.
    2. They are rewarded equally as regards their worship and good deeds.
    3. They have the right to choose their future spouse. No love affairs and dating ,but when it is
    arranged, they can meet and see each other and speak and decide. In case of forced marriage
    a girl can complain to the Quazi.
    4.After marriage a woman keeps her maiden name,this is a must.
    5.She has a right to inheritance, and she can spend it in the way she wants, but on what is allowed.
    6.Husband has no right to her wealth unless she gives it freely. Even maintenance of children is
    from husbands earnings,
    7.She has the right to ask for a divorce (KHUL) and there is no question of the husband refusing.
    8. Allah has made the guardianship rule in the interests of the women,which I do not have to specify.
    If there are large numbers of women who are not getting their rights,they can speak up in this forum
    I speak with knowledge of the jurisprudence of marriage and divorce,as I have worked along with a
    Quazi for five years. Our court maintained the decorum of a place dispensing justice,since the Quazi
    was a lawyer and with a knowledge of Shariah.
    I do agree most courts do not function well, and that of course is fault of everything in this country,where
    their is politicization, and the best are not appointed to these responsible posts. And then everything is
    according to whims of politicians, most of them who have not passed the GCE !!!
    Islam gave rights to women fourteen centuries ago.
    If you can prove me wrong, come with proof from Quran and SUNNAH.

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    Dear Shreen Saroor,

    Please recruit and gather Muslim women as well as other non-Muslim women for your cause. Expose, expose and expose the injustices.

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