Monday, December 11, 2017 09:57:38 PM

Waiting for the Muslim Man to “Soften Up”

By Ameena Hussein - Mon Nov 27, 4:42 am

Featured image provided by author, of her maternal grandfather and relatives

The Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) is in need of amendment and has been under the scrutiny of a most ineffectual committee for the past nine years. For years, individuals and groups of Muslims have expressed concern at this disgraceful situation.

Earlier this year, I was invited to attend a closed door conversation regarding the ongoing discussion on MMDA reform. After listening to many minutes of intellectual sounding dilemmas on how to tackle the situation of Muslim men not wanting Muslim women to access rights that other Sri Lankan women enjoy, I was struck by a comment one of the Muslim participants made to the group, which was made up of both Muslim and non-Muslim people. This woman said that she felt we needed to ‘handle’ the Muslim men carefully and that we needed to ‘soften’ them up. The word ‘soften’ struck me violently at that time and has stayed with me since. I was outraged that I as a Muslim woman would have to wait for a Muslim man to ‘soften’ in order for me to enjoy legal rights to which other women in Sri Lanka are entitled.

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