The real war on women.

(DW) — A draft law that would end violence against women is being debated in the Afghan Parliament. But it is finding little support among MPs, who feel that it violates traditional values.

It has been three years since Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a decree to end violence against women. The draft law, which is supposed to allow women more freedom and
protect them from violence, has yet to be adopted in parliament. But courts can use it as a basis for their work.

Opponents of the decree say it contradicts Sharia – the moral code and religious law of Islam. Most of the proponents, however, are among the 68 women in parliament, for whom a quarter of the seats are reserved. They are trying to reconcile a modern interpretation of Islam with the law.

“They are all fundamentalists and extremists,” Member of Parliament (MP) Masooda Karochi told DW. “If a lunatic protests that this law is against Sharia, then you can imagine what consequences it can have.” Sharia proponents make it impossible to have a constructive discussion, she noted.

For supporters of Sharia law, physical abuse should not be considered an act of violence against women, Masooda Karochi said. But because physical abuse of women is the norm in Afghanistan, Karzai’s decree has allowed women to report incidences of domestic violence, leading to the break up of several families.

In the draft, the legal age of marriage is 16 – another thorn in the side of its opponents. Basing their argument on Islam, they say that the beginning of puberty determines when a girl can be married. Also, Sharia stipulates that fathers alone can make decisions on whom their daughters marry and when.

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