The concerns of Muslim Women
Muslims women feel that their rights are being trampled upon by Imams and Parents, when it comes to giving their hands in marriage.
They are, therefore, appealing to their leaders to re-consider the marriage laws in Islam to allow them to marry men of their choice.
They are also against being forced into marriage at a tender age, and suggested that they should be given enough space to marry at their chosen time.
According to them, early marriages to older men for instance, sometimes resulted in breakdown of such marriages.
These were some of the sentiments expressed by the women at the Ghana Muslim Academy’s (GMA) Ninth Annual Sisters Forum held in Accra recently.
The forum was aimed at highlighting issues confronting Muslim women and how they can be dealt with to enable them to contribute their quota to national development.
Normally, on issues of such religious beliefs, the Times will not like to make any assessment unless it is infringing on the rights of individuals.
Hence, we are doing so because the women, on their own, have come out to speak against the practice.
Forcing under-age girls into early marriage is an abuse of their fundamental rights and contravenes the universal declaration of human rights.
It is a fact that certain ethnic groups practice forced marriage under the banner of religion and this affects the development of girls and often results in unwanted pregnancy and social isolation.
We insist that girls, who have not attained the age of marriage, must be encouraged to grow into adulthood, so that they can decide on their marriage rights.
Men, who go after these teenage girls fit to be their daughters and grand daughters and eventually force them into pre-mature marriages, should be ashamed of themselves since they are a disgrace to society.
The Muslim women have spoken, and we hope that their leaders would give serious thought to their sentiments and be circumspect in taking decisions which would not adversely affect the young innocent girls in future.
We hope that other women groups would take p the challenge and fight for the rights of the Muslim women and other teenage girls who are in similar situations.
*Source: The Ghanaian Times Page: 4 Saturday, November 13, 2010