Think I’m kidding? From Juan Cole * Informed Comment *:
“But the American-appointed Interim Governing Council has suddenly taken Iraq in a theocratic direction that has important implications for women’s rights. As reported here earlier, the IGC took a decision recently to abolish Iraq’s civil personal status law, which was uniform for all Iraqis under the Baath. In its place, the IGC called for religious law to govern personal status, to be administered by the clerics of each of Iraq’s major religious communities for members of their religion. Thus, Shiites would be under Shiite law and Chaldeans under Catholic canon law for these purposes.”
Of course, read the entire story. And yes, this means what you think it does for women in Iraq:
For the vast majority of women who are Muslim, the implementation of `iddah or the obligation of a man to support a woman for 3 months after he divorces her (a term long enough to see whether she is pregnant with his child) has the effect of abolishing the divorced woman’s right to alimony. This abrogation of alimony was effected for Muslims in India in the mid-1980s with the Shah Banou case, as the Congress Party’s sop to Indian Muslim fundamentalists. The particular form of Islamic law that the IGC seems to envisage operating would also give men the right of unilateral divorce over their wives, gives men the right to take second, third and fourth wives, and gives girls half as much inheritance from the father’s estate as boys.