Religion as boa constrictor

Things are humming in the Maghreb. Excellent.

Human rights activists from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania attending a Tunisian seminar last week stressed the need to separate religion from state as “an essential approach to realizing gender equality.” The “Maghreb Women’s March towards Realizing Equality” seminar on November 24th and 25th addressed the marginalisation of the Maghreb woman and the gender gap in each country…Activist Malika Remaoun from Algeria complained about the concessions given to Islamists at the expense of women…Tunisian Balkis Mechri agreed, saying “the battle to realize equality is not only legal, but social as well.” Ourida Chouaki of Algeria, however, warned that secularism in Maghreb societies is mistakenly being perceived as a call to apostasy.

And doubtless also painted and framed and presented as a call to ‘apostasy’ which of course is not just disapproved but forbidden. That’s one hell of an obstacle to get around. Good luck Maghrebians.

Razi pointed out that family law still gives men the right to polygamy, compels the return of women to the matrimonial home and governs child custody…Rejectionists, she maintained, “are using religion as a means to swallow up women’s rights”.

It’s a good wheeze, isn’t it. It’s a capital crime to leave the religion, and the religion is used to forbid women’s rights. Heads I win tails you lose.

Good luck Maghrebians.

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