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21.06.2005 Regional News

Lecturer calls for reforms in Muslim marriage ordinance


Tamale, June 21, GNA - Mr Baasit Aziz, a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, Legon, has called for reforms in Muslim marriage ordinance to iron out provisions inconsistent with Ghana marriage laws. Mr Aziz made the call at the opening of a two-day training programme on gender advocacy and community legal education for Imams, "Magajias", Muslim women and other personalities in the Muslim community in Tamale on Monday.

The Africa Women Lawyers' Association (AWLA) organised the programme with support from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), a non-governmental organisation. The forum is aimed at equipping and sensitising participants on their human rights and general empowerment to make informed choices to improve their well-being.

Imams drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West, as well as Ashanti and Brong-Ahafo regions, who are attending the forum would be taken through topics on "Islam in Ghana", "polygamy", "gender and the Muslim woman", "property right of women" and "international human rights".

The participants said Muslim women had the right to work as enshrined in the Holy Qur'an but that did not mean that women were playing the role of men. They said: "Islam abhors wife beating and when there are disagreements in marriages, the Qur'an recommends persuasion and deliberation". "The Holy Book does not instruct husbands to beat their wives but teaches how to correct a wrong." They agreed that Islam had conferred on women all the political and social rights accorded men and urged Muslim women not to shun political office and other public responsibilities, which were considered as the preserve of men.

Sheik Mohammed Geddel, religious adviser to the National Council of Muslim Chiefs and Executive Members of "Majlis," expressed his appreciation to AWLA for organizing the programme. Ms Edna Kuma, Executive Director of AWLA, said acquiring property was an inherent human right of Muslim women and that her organization was committed to helping women develop themselves to be able to impact positively on their communities. 21 June 05