Jordan: Jordan’s Lower House Rejects Women’s Right to Divorce

Arab News
Jordan’s lower house has quashed for a second time a temporary law granting women the right to divorce although Parliament’s legal committee and the Senate have recommended its approval.
During a stormy session late Sunday, 44 deputies out of 83 present voted down the legislation despite insistence by Religious Affairs Minister Ahmad Heleil that it did not violate Muslim law, the official Petra news agency said.
Newspapers said opponents of the law originally passed by the government while Parliament was dissolved included Islamist MPs, conservatives and tribal leaders. The 110-seat Parliament elected last June had already rejected the measure in one of its first sessions last August.

MPs argued that giving women the right to divorce violates Shariah law, and breaks up families, and lashed out at a key plank which raised the age of marriage to 18 from 15 and 16 for girls and boys respectively.

Heleil denied the allegations saying that giving women the right to file for divorce did not contradict Shariah.

Mohammad Abu Fares of the Islamic Action Front party (IAF), which has 17 seats in Parliament, charged that the law allows women the right to divorce their husbands to pursue affairs with other men.

IAF deputy Ali Utum said women who file for divorce “are often women of comfort and leisure who don’t care about their families”, the Jordan Times reported. The law on divorce was among more than 200 temporary laws approved by the government in 2001 when Parliament was dissolved by royal decree. Under the constitution it will be referred back to the Senate which must again endorse it or reject it. Should the Senate turn it down, a joint session of Parliament must be convened.