Monday, November 14, 2011

Divorce Islamic Style: Egyptian Divorce Rates Spike With Women's Divorce Law (khula)

There are state laws governing divorce in this country and it can be very complicated, especially with children involved. This is a good thing considering the divorce rates have increased substantially over the past 50 plus years.  And depending on the reasons for the dissolution of a marriage, and the competence of the  lawyers involved, men and women  are treated fairly equally.  Not so for Muslims.  As with most things in Islam, the woman does not fare as well as the man.  If  a Muslim man wants to divorce his wife, he simply has to give talaq and tell her "I divorce you", as long as she's not unclean (i.e. menstruating). There is a three stage process they are supposed  to go through, with a short waiting period in between, but many men out of anger will perform triple talaq without bothering to wait, and the woman is out on the streets. Text-messaging and emailing triple talaq has become so commonplace, some countries like Tajikistan have actually banned it.

Although women are supposed to be allowed to ask for a divorce (khula), it's not quite the same thing.  Unlike men who have very little obligations when they divorce, women are forced to give back everything.  And in countries like Egypt, wives were banned from seeking a divorce until 2000.  Now that it is so easy for both parties to part ways, Egypt's divorce rates have skyrocketed. And the ones suffering the most are the children.

If it's true that divorce cases have increased with the "khula" law, that's a pretty damning indictment against the Egyptian male if so many women are willing to leave their husbands with virtually nothing.
Of course, not only are the women being blamed (as they usually are), fingers are being pointed at the evil West:

According to the statistics presented in the conference, the unconditional divorce law, which allows the woman to end the marriage provided that she waives her financial rights, has contributed to a remarkable hike in divorce rates in Egypt.

With the “khula” law, divorce cases have amounted to 5.4 million and around seven million children ended up in orphanages or in the streets especially after one of the parents or both remarry, said Sameh Mekhlef, head of the Association for the Rescue of the Egyptian family and member of the Egyptian Family coalition.
“We should also steer away from Western values that have a negative effect on the unity of the family and that promote ideas which are strange to our society."
Right.  Islamic values are so much more egalitarian and family friendly.  I think Mekhlef should take a deep, hard look at why women are so willing to leave their husbands if the Muslim life is so perfect.  It has far more to do with the oppression and abuse of women under Islam, than Western values.

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