It appears we wasted a heck of a lot of precious U.S. blood in Iraq. Not only has the country continued to be a hotbed of sectarian violence after US troop withdrawl, it's now considering passing a barbaric law that will set women back centuries, and rights activists are hopping mad.
The current legal age to get married there is 18. With the okay from your parents you can marry at 15. That will all change if the Jaafari Personal Status Law (named for the sixth Shiite imam Jaafar al-Sadiq) is introduced. Although it does not specifically mention a minimum age that girls can marry, it does refer to a specific age in the "divorce" section. The age of Mohammed's child bride Aisha- 9.
.. setting rules for divorces of girls who have reached the age of 9 years in the lunar Islamic calendar. It also says that's the age girls reach puberty.
Since the Islamic calendar year is 10 or 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, that would be the equivalent of 8 years and 8 months old.Other parts of the bill that encourage male-domination:
Men will have all the control when it comes to marriage proposals for their daughters.
Men will have all control over their wives when it comes to sexual relations. Raping wives will be legal.
Women will need permission from their husbands to leave their homes.
Women will have fewer rights when it comes to post-divorce child custody.
Men will have an easier time taking on more wives.
The bill is apparently catering to the majority Shiites who were persecuted under Saddam Hussein's reign of terror, and some believe tied to the upcoming elections.
Baghdad-based analyst Hadi Jalo suggested that election campaigning might be behind the proposal.
''Some influential Shiite politicians have the impression that they should do their best to make any achievement that would end the injustice that had been done against the Shiites in the past,'' Jalo said.Naturally, Sunni females aren't too happy about the proposal.
.. lawmaker Likaa Wardi believes it violates women's and children's rights and creates divisions in society.
''The Jaffari law will pave the way to the establishments of courts for Shiites only, and this will force others sects to form their own courts. This move will widen the rift among the Iraqi people,'' Wardi said.
Secular Shiites are just as opposed.
Qais Raheem, a Shiite government employee living in eastern Baghdad, said the draft bill contradicts the principles of a modern society.
''The government officials have come up with this backward law instead of combating corruption and terrorism,'' said Raheem who has four children, including two teenage girls.
''This law legalises the rape and we should all reject it.''
Hopefully they will reject it, but who knows.