Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

September-28-04

Group Criticizes Islamic Law in Nigeria Citing Discriminatory Practices

Sharia (Islamic) courts in northern Nigeria impose discriminatory and harsh sentences and have failed to respect due process rights, according to a report just released by Human Rights Watch (HRW). The report documents that at least ten people have been sentenced to death and dozens sentenced to amputation and floggings since Sharia (Islamic) law was reintroduced in Nigeria in January 2000.

According to HRW spokeswoman Carina Tertsakian, “women have been and still are discriminated against both in legislation, but also in practice.” Ms. Tertsakian said that this is especially apparent “in cases of adultery or extramarital sex where the standards of evidence are different for men and women…if a woman is pregnant that is considered sufficient evidence to convict her of adultery. Whereas for the man, they need to have four independent eyewitnesses to the act, which you can imagine is practically impossible.” In addition, there are no female judges in the Sharia courts and judges have often punished women who claim they are victims of rape.

The report cites restrictions that have been placed on women’s daily lives reminiscent of Taliban restrictions on Afghan women including their freedoms of movement, dress, and right to associate with others. According to HRW, some state governments have introduced measures not codified in law to limit women’s freedom of movement and association. For example, in some states measures were implemented preventing men and women from being seen together in public. The hisbah, a group given responsibilityp to make sure Sharia law has been enforced, were found to pull women out of taxis if the driver is male. There were even cases of drivers being flogged for carrying female passengers. By 2003, HRW reports that these measures have been enforced less stringently, however, there are still cases of taxi drivers refusing to carry females in the Zamfara State.

In most states it is the hisbah that are making sure that the women are dressing “appropriately.” However, in the Zamfara State, it is the state government itself that passed a law in 2001 prohibiting “indecent dressing in public” and “the association in public of two or more persons of opposite sexes.” The law states that “every female of Islamic faith, shall put on dress to cover her entire body except for her feet, hand, and face in the public.”

Sharia law has been introduced in twelve states in northern Nigeria. Last year a woman, Amina Lawal, was sentenced to death by stoning for having sex out of wedlock. Following an outcry from women around the world her case was then overturned in September 2003.

DONATE to the Feminist Majority Foundation and support our global women’s rights programs

Media Resources: Human Rights Watch 9/21/04; Voice of America 9/21/04; Feminist Daily News Wire 9/25/04


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Mandate Consent Education in Public Schools - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA). The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .
 
2/26/2015 President Obama Pushed for Immigration Reform at a Florida International University Town Hall - President Obama attended an immigration town hall at Florida International University yesterday to discuss immigration policy. . . .
 
2/25/2015 Obama Just Vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline, But The Fight Isn't Over - President Obama used his executive powers to veto the highly contentious Keystone XL pipeline construction proposal yesterday. . . .