Wednesday, March 14, 2012

About that Arab Spring --taking women back, way back

"Although the 1979 revolution in Iran is often called an Islamic revolution, it can actually be said to be a revolution of men against women. Before the revolution, women's rights were recognized to some extent. But the revolution led to the enactment of numerous discriminatory laws against women.

After the revolution—even before drafting a new constitution or establishing parliament—the revolutionary councils changed the laws. When I first read the Islamic Penal Code instituted after the revolution, I couldn't believe my eyes. The drafters of this document had effectively taken us back 1,400 years. . .

I hope that in the Arab countries where people have risen against dictatorships and overthrown them, they will reflect and learn from what happened to us in Iran. My recommendation to Arab women is to focus on strengthening civil-society institutions and to familiarize themselves with religious discourse, so they can demonstrate that leaders who rely on religious dogma that sets women's rights back are doing so to consolidate power."

At today's Wall Street Journal

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