Nobel laureate: Polygamy is immoral in Iranian mentality
Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept.1 / Trend, D.Khatinoglu /
Trend interviewsrenowned human rights activist, Nobel Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi
Trend: There have been protests recently against a draft law on family protection in the Iranian parliament. The parliament decided last week to submit articles 22, 23 and 24 of the law on marriage, remarriage and mehriyye (dowry) to the Parliamentary Commission on Legal Policy and State Building for reconsideration. What do you think about this draft law?
Ebadi: This bill, instead of strengthening the foundation of the family unit, actually contributes to its destruction. This law creates conditions for widespread polygamy. In addition, it legalizes temporary marriage, which is considered immoral in the minds of many Iranians. All women in Iran are against this bill. I regret that, at a time when people are fighting for democracy and so much attention is paid to this struggle, the government is submitting this kind of bill for discussion to parliament. They think that people will forget their civil rights and desires. But they are wrong, women will not forget them.
Q: Iranian National Security Minister Heydar Muslehi said that the United States has allocated $17 billion for feminist movements in Iran and female human rights defenders intend to hold a coup in the country. What do you think about this statement?
A: Feminist organizations in Iran are the most powerful in the Middle East. This is because women in Iran are educated. Some 65 percent of all students in Iran are women. They are against laws adopted after the Iranian Islamic Revolution that create a bias. Unfortunately, instead of paying attention to the demands of the country's women, the government accuses them of conspiring with foreign countries. But, of course, they have no evidence of these charges.
Q: Member of the Iranian Parliamentary Commission on Legal Policy and State Building Musa Gurbani said three uncoordinated articles of the bill on family protection should be amended so that neither religious scholars, nor women are dissatisfied. What contradictions exist between the beliefs of religious scholars and women in terms of women's rights?
A: Religious scholars in Iran are divided into two categories. Some have great intellectual capacity and comment on the Koran relevant to our day and age. Others are fundamentalists. Intellectual religious scholars say the Koran doesn't contradict women's rights. Their statement that "blood money" (diyah) for men and women is equal is an example. They oppose laws that create a biased attitude toward women and allow temporary marriages. So, if he is talking about modernist religious scholars, then their thoughts do not contradict women's rights. Ayatollah Yusif Sanei and Seyed Mohammad Moosavi Bojnourdi can be mentioned among these scholars. Unfortunately, the government is at odds with modernist religious scholars. The opinions of the fundamentalists contradict women's rights.