06 February 2017

Egyptian religious council rejects reform to law allowing men to verbally divorce their wives

The top Islamic authority in Egypt, which must be consulted on all constitutional matters, has unanimously rejected a proposed reform to end Muslim men’s ability to divorce their wives without going through a court of law.

On Sunday, the Council of Senior Clerics in Al-Azhar – the highest authority in Sunni Islam – rejected President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi's suggestion that Egypt should end the practice in a rare rebuttal of the goverment.

While the Egyptian constitution guarantees both genders face equal treatment before the law, contradictory personal status legislation means that women are still severely discriminated against in courtrooms and Egyptian society more generally.

Under the current law, Muslim men can divorce their wives without having to resort to legal justification or consult a court or cleric. Muslim women can only seek divorces in a court of law and with the consent of their husband, which in practice makes it very difficult to obtain. [The Independent] Read more