Don't interfere: Tunisia slams al-Azhar comments on gender equality

Don't interfere: Tunisia slams al-Azhar comments on gender equality
Tunisia's ruling party slammed al-Azhar's interference into its internal affairs on Wednesday, after weighing in on a debate on calls for gender equality.
2 min read
16 August, 2017
The president proposed new gender equality laws [Anadolu]
Tunisia's internal affairs do not welcome outside interference, the country's ruling Nidaa Tounis party said on Wednesday, after Egypt's top Islamic authority, al-Azhar, weighed in on a debate surrounding gender equality.

"Essebi's proposals are of interest to the Tunisian community only, and no one has the right to engage in this debate," Burhan Besis, an official from the ruling party said.

It would be useful to "recall that our internal Tunisian debate remains a healthy and required phenomenon no matter how controversial our differences are on issues such as equality in inheritance or Muslim marriage of non-Muslims".

In a speech marking Women's Day, President Beji Caid Essebsi announced the creation of a committee to look into proposals including women marrying non-Muslim men, as well as equal inheritance rights for women.

Tunisia's Islamic scholars at Diwan al-Ifta backed the move, suggesting Essebsi's proposals "support the status of women and guarantee and implement the principle of equality between men and women in the rights and duties called for by Islam, as well as the international conventions ratified by the Tunisian state".

Deputy of Al-Azhar Sheikh Abbas Shuman had said in a statement that equality in inheritance is "unjust for women and is not in line with Islamic Sharia", adding that marriage between a Muslim woman and non-Muslim man "would obstruct the stability" of the union.