Both leading Shiite and Sunni religious leaders have come forward to defend the infamous Afghan law that legalized spousal rape. Mohammad Asif Mohseni, a top Afghan cleric and one of the law’s main drafters, insists that the law is actually a progressive reform and proudly notes that the law was a major reform of women’s rights by allowing wives to decline soon after giving birth, fasting for Ramadan, or preparing for a pilgrimage.
Under the law, a husband can force his wife to have sex every four days and further restricts the circumstances where a women may be left alone at home.
Mohseni insists that the law cannot be changed after Afghan President Hamid Karzai promised a review. Instead, he insists that legalizing rape is merely evidence of democracy at work: “The westerners claim that they have brought democracy to Afghanistan. What does democracy mean? It means government by the people for the people. They should let the people use these democratic rights.”
The law codifies aspects of Sharia law and is seen as another example of the resurgence of the Taliban within the ranks of the government and legislature.
Mohseni further insists that he and the other legislators are wild reformers in allowing a woman to go out of the house without her husband’s consent in a medical emergency. This apparently qualifies you as the head of the National Association of Women, Kabul chapter.
Under the law, men have the right to enforce the requirement that every fourth day a man “can pass the night with his wife, unless it is harmful for either side, or either of them is suffering from any kind of sexual disease. It is essential for the woman to submit to the man’s sexual desire.”
While the law applies to the Shiite population (Iraq passes laws tailored to particular religious groups), the provision also may apply to Sunnis. Indeed, leading Sunni cleric, Maulavi Habibullah Ahsam, has come out in favor of the law and said that it does indeed apply to Sunnis.
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