Iranian women’s groups and other rights organisations are fighting a much discussed proposed law which they say would encourage polygamy by allowing a man to take a second wife without the permission of the first in certain circumstances.
The proposal comes at a time when the country has been rocked by protests, in which women have played a major part, following the disputed re-election last June of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Although Sharia law permits a man to take up to four wives, polygamy is not widely practiced in Iran and women have enjoyed greater rights and freedoms than in some other Muslim countries. At present, an Iranian man needs his first wife’s permission to take a second.
A so-called Family Protection Law, proposed by the government in 2008, said a man could marry a second wife on condition only that he could afford both wives financially. The parliament dropped that clause following a wave of opposition from women but is now reconsidering a different version of the provision.
The spokesman for the parliament’s Judicial and Legal Commission, Amir Hussein Rahimi, announced recently that the commission had now approved article 23 of the proposed Family Protection Law that said, “A man can marry a second wife under ten conditions.”
The new version still requires the first wife to give permission, though controversially this would not be required under certain conditions, such as if she is mentally ill, or suff... >>>
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