By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, July 7, 2012
It is one of those unique moments where a small town comes to the limelight. Assilah forum provides every year a platform of dialogue and reflection for intellectuals from different cultures. This year edition could not possibly disregard the repercussions of the Arab spring on the whole region. The Assilah forum is held this year from 20 June to 15 July.
One of the interesting themes raised last Wednesday during the forum was ” Women and Democracy I n the Arab World”. The conference was marked by Pr. Abdessamad Dialam’s bold statement by addressing women status in Islam. Mr. Dialami, a professor in sociology, stated clearly that Sharia-based laws impede the establishment of gender equality in Arab countries.
He went even further by inviting scholars to make a new interpretation of some Quran verses that deal with gender. He pinpoints “the issues that should be reconsidered are polygamy, the right to pronounce divorce granted exclusively to males and the discrepancy in inheritance in Islam among genders”. Thus, Pr. Dialami rejects the utter reliance on Quran as the only source of legislation.
In regard to family legislation, he calls for a reform of the system of fatherhood in which the father has a monopoly over the decision-making process. As an alternative, he suggest the adoption of a nuclear model in which both parents are responsible and accountable for the family .To find the way out from the legislative stalemate, Pr. Dialami urges scholars to cut the umbilical cord with the context of Quran revelation as an “outmoded context” and to consider the contemporary constraints in the understanding of the Holy Quran.
Pr. Dialami made also reference to the PJD plan concerning women’s status. He leveled sharp criticism against the PJD attempts to substitute the equality with the “equity “plan, which would result in more gender discrimination.
Mr. Dialimi was soon confronted with a counter argumentation by the Saudi TV journalist, Hanaa Rkibi, who considers that social constructs account for the perpetuation of distorted images and beliefs about women. She called women to stand up for their own right instead of waiting for effortless victories that may or may not come.
The Bahraini writer and poet, Nisrine Shaer, considered in her intervention that the female leadership in the Arab world lacks commitment and resilience evidenced by Arab women’s inaptness to defend her own interests even in positions of power. She added that women are galvanized during electoral campaigns but often sidelined in power sharing.
Ms. Amina Al Masoudi, a Moroccan law professor highlighted that the incongruence in gender issues in the Arab world stems primarily from the difficulty to enforce legal texts on the ground. Pr. Masoudi considers also that the quota is an affirmative action liable to facilitate women’s entry to political institutions, yet it remains a temporary measure designed to redress the imbalance that resulted from decades of marginalization.
She drew the parallel with Western countries that could pave the way for a real political emancipation for women through the reform of organic laws such as the parliament entry law in Spain and the equity law in France.
In this respect, Morocco has aggregated efforts to enhance women’s representation in political institution starting from the amendment to the parliament organic law in 2002, the change towards the election by lists, the adoption of the new family code to the latest constitutional reforms that gives women an equal share of power through tangible emancipation.