In fight for democracy in Afghanistan, rights of women take back seat

Monday, April 20, 2009

Last week, hundreds of women marched in the streets of Afghanistan to condemn a new law that critics say legalizes marital rape. Outrage from both Afghan women and the international community over the passing of this law has been well-documented and President Karzai is reconsidering signing the law. But what does this indicate about the push to democratize Afghanistan? Are we seeing growing signs that some Afghan women have finally had enough of restrictive laws? The Takeaway talks to Gretchen Peters, former Afghanistan and Pakistan correspondent for ABC news and author of the forthcoming book, Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda.
"Many women in Afghanistan itself object to this type of legislation and want to see change in their country."
—ABC News correspondent Gretchen Peters on the protests in Afghanistan

Our partners at the New York Times have footage of the protests in Kabul:


Gretchen Peters


Noel King

Comments [3]


Gidon Libson

Apr. 21 2009 06:19 PM

My major interest in the story is in the comparison of the Islamic law to other laws in the region. Afghanistan, for the 1500 years ending circa 1948 had a strong Jewish community, which I know has a transactional, contractual, quid pro quo, legal marriage structure. Afghanistan has a Bhudhist tradition (think the shrine at Bamiyan); I haven't a clue how they structure their marriages in formal legal terms. It would be interesting to also learn how it compares to the ancient Eastern christian rites (eg. Assyrian Orthodox) and to Zoroastorism. None of these have yet become fashionable to be put in the crosshairs of the Western liberal feminist movement.

Apr. 21 2009 06:17 PM

Try interviewing Law Professor Yehoshua (Joshua) Leibson of the Hebrew University of jerusalem, Israel. He holds a chair in Islamic family law, studies islamic law in arabic, and is a native english speaker.
I was unimpressed with the QUALITY of the interview. The journalist seemed to evade answering any question that would shed detail or nuance on the law, and the anchor characterized the law as legalizing marital rape, which is laughable to anyone who has ever taken even a first year survey course in Islamic law (eg. me). Don't believe me; try imagining the cultutal context. That apochryphal wife supposedly being raped, has a small army of brothers, uncles and cousins - Afghan brothers, uncles, and cousins. You wouldn't want to be anywhere nearby when they find out.

Apr. 21 2009 06:16 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.