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Information about Customs

Published on March 9, 2014

Author: Shreya_lovi



This presentation basically gives an insight into middle eastern traditions , laws and customs and at some point questions their relevance and what exactly customs are in a society .

CUSTOMS OF THE MIDDLEEAST (Jasmine kaur-2012043 Shreya Kumar-2012100)

What are Customs?  “A custom is a cultural idea that describes a regular, patterned way of appearing or behaving that is considered characteristic of life in a social system.”


Customs for Middle-Eastern Muslim Women  guided by primary Islamic sources of law  religious guidelines, preIslamic traditions  impact on women’s life  dress code of Muslim women

Kinds of Head Scarves

Religious Life  unusual for women to worship in mosques  men and women on opposite sides of the aisle  men in front of women  women in second floor balconies  separate rooms

Politics  Saudi women given the right to vote in 2007  Egypt-25 percent reservation in the constituent assembly  Iraq-25 percent representation in the parliament  Tunisia and Libya- “zippered list model” (Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan)

Education  Colonial rule- compulsory education to a select elite  Post colonial rule: majority of women still excluded from higher education  focus on religious education  In many countries, women must obtain permission from a male guardian for attending university

Employment  MENA region ranks lowest in women labour force participation in the world  Islam- women allowed to work subject to certain circumstances  Limited opportunities- restricted to fields like medicine and teaching  Role of women as mothers and wives is stressed upon

Property Rights  Women do not have to give their premarriage possessions to their husbandsreceive “dower” instead  All their earnings through employment are theirs to keep  Iraq-women cannot own property, inherit less than half of what their brothers do

Marriage      Marriage is a contractrequires consent of women Female circumcision - part of a ritual before marriage Muslim men can indulge in polygamy Endogamy is common in Islamic countries In some regions, child marriages are forced.

Inter-Faith Marriages  A Muslim woman cannot marry a non-Muslim  But Muslim men can marry Jewish or Christian women  A Muslim woman cannot convert her religion  However, a man can leave Islam or convert to another religion

Behavior and rights within a Marriage A woman’s space is the private sphere of the home;  man’s space is the public sphere  Women must fulfil marital and maternal responsibilities  men are financial heads

 In case of death of the husband , wives get a share of the movable property but have no right on the immovable property such as land, farm or real estate.

Divorce  In Islam, a woman can initiate a divorce in some circumstances-  ‘Sharis’ law seek a ‘tafriq’ under certain allowable reasons.  The second method, by far more common in wife-initiated divorces, ‘khul’ is a divorce without cause but mutual consent.  Women applies for divorce- complicated legal procedure which may take up to 2 years  In some regions, men can divorce their wives just by saying “you are divorced!” three times.

Movement and Travel  No limitations or prohibitions on women’s travelling alone is mentioned in the Quran  In some countries, if a journey longer than 3 days is undertaken, the woman must be escorted by a male guardian.  In some regions, women are not allowed to drive or even ride a bicycle.  These customs originated for the safety of women.

A Book and Movie based on a true story….  (Movie) The Stoning of Soraya M. is a 2008 American Persian language drama film adapted from French journalist Feridoune Sahebjam’s 1900 book ‘La Femme Lapidee’ based on a true story.

Famous Books written on true narratives….  The Princess Trilogy  Princess : A true story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia   Princess : Sultana’s Daughters Princess : Sultana’s Circles

Recent Changes  The government has granted women the right to vote.  Participation in the local elections.  The women have been allowed to ride bicycles .

Implementations that could improve the situation  Education of women should be stressed.  The system of male guardianship should be abolished.  Steps should be taken to improve the female workforce.  The religious body should be separated from the political and judiciary system.  Women representation in the religious Islamic Body.

Thank You!

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