Saturday, March 13, 2010

Women in the "new" Iraq

The potential impact on women when the U.S. first decided to attack Iraq was of great concern to me even then and now, it seems, my fears have been realized. I want to call your attention to an article entitled "Why The US Occupation Makes Iraqi Women Miss Saddam" that you can find over on Common Dreams. Here's part of what it says:

Under Saddam Hussein, women in government got a year's maternity leave; that is now cut to six months. Under the Personal Status Law in force since Jul. 14, 1958, when Iraqis overthrew the British-installed monarchy, Iraqi women had most of the rights that Western women do.

Now they have Article 2 of the Constitution: "Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation." Sub-head A says "No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam." Under this Article the interpretation of women's rights is left to religious leaders - and many of them are under Iranian influence.

"The U.S. occupation has decided to let go of women's rights," Yanar Mohammed who campaigns for women's rights in Iraq says. "Political Islamic groups have taken southern Iraq, are fully in power there, and are using the financial support of Iran to recruit troops and allies. The financial and political support from Iran is why the Iraqis in the south accept this, not because the Iraqi people want Islamic law."

And here's part of a comment that was posted in response:

Iraq had the highest percentage of female Professors and one of the highest standards of living in the Muslim world before the USA sanctions and invasions.

If one reason the USA is killing Pastuns in Afghanistan is that some of them are Taliban who resist educating women, then should not the USA stormtroopers start shooting themselves for stealing women's rights in Iraq?

Ha! Very good point, I should say.

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