Monday, October 31, 2011

The return of polygamy to the Arab ex-dictatorships?

In another blow to women's rights in the old Arab dictatorships, there seems to be a push to return to Shariah law and the polygamy contained within. Just recently, the head of Libya's interim government called for an end to the Qaddafi-era law that placed restrictions on multiple marriages. If Mustafa Abdel-Jalil gets his way, first wives will no longer have to give permission to their husbands before they seek a second wife.
Read details of this newest step backward for women's rights in this article.

Meanwhile, in Tunisia, the formerly banned Muslim party, Ennahda won 40 percent of the vote, giving it the largest share in the recent election. The secular minority are predicting that an Islamist-dominated national assembly will reverse legislation prohibiting polygamy. Read about Tunisia's move to a theocracy in this article.

After reading 'Reading Lolita in Tehran' and 'The Kite Runner', I gained a new respect for the way women's rights are often destroyed after the demise of a secular dictator in this region. Women who were well-educated and held respectable jobs were marginalized with the rise of Shariah law.

I can see why they fought for the end to the dictatorships that crippled their countries and left their children in poverty or jail but are they going to see any improvement under the theocratic governments that are springing up in their place?


  1. "A Thousand Splendid Suns," also by Khaled Hosseini, talks about women's rights under the Russians and the Taliban. You might like it.

  2. It takes place in Afganistan... I meant to add.

  3. Yes. I read 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' also and that book influenced my thinking about this subplot in my novel. A very good book though I liked 'Kite Runner' better.