Eight years and eight months

I’m well aware that nobody reads this blog, and so its not the best venue for raising awareness of demonstrations and other activism. Nevertheless, I feel I owe it to a young Danish-Kurdish activist called Suzan Star Jabary (pictured!) to mention her demonstration against the proposed Ja’afari Personal Status law in Iraq, which will tend to reproduce all the inequities of the Iranian system.

The draft law will reduce the marriage age to eight years and eight months, institute legal polygamy, reduce women’s grounds for divorce and deny custody to mothers. HRW has condemned it. Iraqi women are protesting it. And for good reasons: Nadia Mahmood spells out some of the problems in the attached audiocast (below).

Suzan says:

In Iraq, the proposed Ja’afari personal status law will legalise child marriage and marital rape. Three women have organised to demonstrate in front of the Iraqi embassy in Denmark to protest this law. The demonstration will take place on Tuesday 1 April from 18:00 to 19:30 on Ehlersvej 9 , 2900 Hellerup in Denmark.

The campaign has attracted a great deal of support on Facebook and following well-known speakers are on the programme:

• Ahmed Akkari , a former imam
• Morten Messerschmidt , DF
• Yildiz Akdogan , S
• Merete Risager , LA
• Hanna Ziadeh , Middle East researcher
• Sammy Byssing Lafi , Iraqi Democrats
• Aaliyah Shaheen, human rights activist

There will also be a feature of Arabic drums.

Organiser Suzan Star Jabary said ” I needed to do something so I started a demonstration. Two wonderful women wanted to help me. For me it is important that we fight against the inhumane conditions which this legislation will create for girls and women in Iraq, my country of origin. Any law which approves child marriage is oppressive of women, and needs to be protested.”

Jaleh Tavakoli agreed: “In Iran, where I was born, this kind of legislation was introduced 35 years ago. Equality does not exist in Sharia law and therefore we can consider it a form of gender apartheid.” She pointed out the inequities of Islamic law, where a woman’s testimony can be counted as half that of a man.

Karen West said, “If we are to fight the oppression of women both nationally and internationally , we must stand together across ethnicity , culture and religion . We must dare to interfere as part of our shared humanity.”

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