[law] general

As a Muslim mother with a teenage daughter, I am chilled by the passage of the Islamic Family Law (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2005 on 22 December 2005.
Morocco is about to join the short list of Arab countries that enable both parents to confer citizenship on their children. Activists are still pressing to eliminate exceptions in the proposed law.
Traditionally, an analysis of women and their status considers the public and private domain. The public domain recognizes ‘the other’, the collective in human relationships. It is, therefore, an area of public interest, subject to public scrutiny where human relationships are prescribed by some public authority, mainly the state. This connotes a notion of sameness and, or uniformity in treatment or application between groups and individuals in a collective entity. The private domain, on the other hand, is an area of private influence, closed from public interference.
The recent meeting of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) in Lucknow has once again highlighted the vexed issue of reforms in Muslim personal laws (MPL). Hopes had been raised that the AIMPLB would finally and explicitly outlaw the practice of triple talaq, which is one of the major concerns of the advocates of reform. The AIMPLB, dominated as it is by conservative ulema, did not, in its wisdom, choose to do so, however. All that it decided was to promote awareness about the negative consequences of triple talaq, and encourage, through moral suasion, Muslims to abstain from it.
Marion Boyd has submitted her review of the arbitration process in Ontario and the appropriateness of its use in resolving family disputes, entitled, “Dispute Resolution in Family Law: Protecting Choice, Promoting Inclusion,”1 to the Attorney General and the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues. It is a lengthy and thoughtful report that carefully weighs many competing interests with respect to the use of arbitration, particularly arbitration based on religious law, in resolving family disputes and also examines relevant constitutional issues.
Presently, more than one third of the world’s Muslims are living as minorities in non-Muslim countries, a fact which has posed challenges not only for the host countries but also for the Muslims themselves. Most Muslims perceive Muslim minorities as an integral part of the larger Muslim community, umma. Many insist that Muslims must be governed by Islamic law, often that of the country of origin. Home countries are expected to offer human, political, and financial resources in order for the minorities to live Islamically.
Pamela Cross
Legal Director, Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC)
Pamela Cross is a long time feminist political activist with a focus on women’s equality-rights issues.

Pascale Fournier
SJD Candidate, Harvard Law School
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