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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 258  Al Jazeera  September 17, 2017 3:32am-4:00am AST

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capital niamey one of the hardest hit areas nearly twenty thousand people have been displaced. and this is in government has lifted a ban on a muslim women marrying non muslim men present a beige. recommended the change saying today is it needed to modernize muslim men were allowed to marry non muslim women but not the other way around now at least twelve people have been killed by a saudi led coalition air strike in yemen and northern province local sources say a vehicle was hit by the strike about one hundred fifty kilometers northeast of the capital sana and more than thirty protesters have been arrested in the u.s. city of st louis following the acquittal of a white former police officer over the shooting of a black man this was the scene on saturday as police fired tear gas at demonstrations. jason stokley was cleared of first degree murder and the twenty eleven shooting of anthony smith. and those the
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headlines up next is inside a story and more news in about thirty minutes. muslim women in tunis here can now marry non muslim men the president has overturned the ban that's lasted more than fourteen years clerics say the controversial decision violates islamic law but how far does it go in closing the gender equality gap this is inside story.
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a welcome to the program i'm adrian finnegan it is the announcement that's polarizing a nation has overturned a ban on women from marrying non muslim men a law that's been in place for more than forty years the move has sparked heated debate on the streets and on social media human rights groups say that it's a landmark move in guaranteeing women's freedom in the country traditionalists though are denouncing the proposal as a violation of islamic law reports. this is to new zealand president baz a subsea attending a gathering to commemorate national women's day he said as he said he was committed to lifting a decades long ban old women marrying the muslims on thursday he fulfilled that promise and overturned in one nine hundred seventy three low paving the way for women to choose whom they want to marry regardless of their partner's religion the
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decision is president and in the muslim world. willich gender equality has been in shrine in the constitution but when we call for you quality that doesn't mean we are against religion our constitution stipulates we are a secular state but our people are predominantly muslim. although to the most progressive country in the region conservatives have gained ground since the two thousand and eleven revolution clerics have stepped into the fray criticizing the president for what they consider to be a violation of islamic law by its troops hailed the decision as a landmark victory for women but insists women have a long way to go to get full rights. for months there have been protests to ensure equal inheritance rights for women and the local laws where
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men can only get half the inheritance of what men receive a decision of reforming the inheritance laws has been met with strong opposition from religious leaders the president insists he is determined to strengthen women's rights and freedoms but many where we are today could see more confrontations between those who support a secular state and those that are not a lot easier. well prior to the revoking of this lore known muslim man who wish to marry a tunisian muslim woman had to convert to islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof under islamic law a muslim men can marry non muslim women the decision to overturn the ban for women is seen as a milestone in a region where religion in marital ties can be at the heart of a family feud and long struggles against state laws however women in tunisia still
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face discrimination particularly in matters of inheritance which prioritises sons over daughters. all right let's bring in our guests for today's discussion joining us from tunis is. director of human rights watch in tunisia from washington d.c. cosima rashid is not goods of the comedy a muslim community in america and joining us also from tunis loire riyadh of folly welcome to inside story all of you am a let's start with you despite criticism from the region's religious leaders and scholars this move to allow tunisian women to marry outside their faith has been hailed by many as progressive and revolutionary is it. it's definitely a very positive step for women's rights it's a step that was preceded by several other you know progressive legislation that were enacted recently such as
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a low on violence against women that is meant to prevent all sorts of domestic violence and i think it's really a very symbolic move from the tunisian government to. to rescind this decree this ministerial decree from one nine hundred seventy three that encroached on many of the principles for which tunisian women fault and for which the tunisian people fought as well such as the principle of equality the this decree. you know installed thoughts and kind of discrimination between men and women by prohibiting only women from marrying outside of their faith for marrying non muslim men and it also encroached on several other very important principles that shot freedom of conscience because it interfered with faith and interfered with the in their you know of beliefs of the people and also encroached on the principle of the
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right to privacy so it's a very interesting very important move and very important that tunisia has taken this corey just out there or it's a walk away to make of the criticism because. is this move in violation of islamic law as some have claimed. well you know the ambient muslim community seeks to represent the revival of true islam and one of the tenets of islam that the prophet of islam a taught with the separation of religion and state so i think you can argue that while islam teaches that muslim women should marry muslim men the idea that you can enforce that or force that upon women is something completely contrary to islamic teachings in a recent lecture the head of the mit a muslim community his holiness the fleet of islam there's a sewer emmott made explicitly clear that in islam men and women are absolute
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equals and there's no doubt about this so for those who believe that muslim women should only marry muslim men then they have the right to hold that personal belief as part of their state and as a muslim i believe that's what islam teaches but islam is also a crystal clear that you cannot enforce religious teachings you cannot enforce more ality on people or your definition of morality the koran also says a chapter for verse nineteen that do not inherit women against their will so whereas you can have your understanding of islam you have no right to enforce that understanding on people people should be afforded as my colleague a lawyer just said that they should be afforded religious freedom freedom of conscience and if your understanding of morality truly is a better understanding then it should speak on the merits you shouldn't need a law forcing people on who they can and what people of what faith they can and cannot marry right into this what do you make of that tunisia's former prime
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minister said that the president's ideas don't take into account the views of war to this ians just a liberal segment of the population is he right first a phone i want to say that. we just want to talk about the religion and. issue in my mind in my mind it's not it's not about truth as yours issue it's about a fundamental rights i mean i respect what the last guest was saying about religion but i mean as a tunisian citizen not toward him or especially i just but i don't i mean a lot of tunisian i'm one among them i don't care about what people think about this them all of the way they read our understand islam i mean it's about my faith i mean i don't want to allow anybody to discuss what they believe and want to allow anybody to tell me what is right what is wrong in the public sphere in the public sphere first second i mean it's it's as i said as i mentioned it's not
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a religious issue it's about fundamental rights and their scope and what i mean about fundamental rights the first two are i mean. i'm absolutely free to do whatever i want the fruits of my you labor with my money and my possessions i mean i don't want to allow anybody to me to tell me what i do with them are not second in the tunisian constitution there is the freedom of faith so what does my faith what are my believes and the highway and your prayer. my religion whether it is the islamic religion or another one that's my business that's my our own business i mean i as a tradition citizen like many other i don't want to discuss religious issues i don't want to discuss and her birthday sions i want to discuss only two things which are as i mentioned my fundamental rights to do whatever i want with the
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fruits of my labor and my positions ok and my freedom of faith but read it but read i you one of the liberals that the former prime minister is talking about here are the others within two days in society who would fundamentally disagree with you the problem i mean what. i agree with of course i agree with any any anything that goes in the. in the direction. of. i mean fundamental rights but in my mind the problem of the first minister and the president of the republic is the way they presented the think because i repeat that internees euro raid their legal framework a grunty the freedom of faith and second weren't the fundamental rights that people do what they want with their. sessions as long as they've done to trouble the public order of course but i mean the liger
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from framework already did i know where lots of things so i mean i think in my mind it's a very bad direction to talk about religion no it's really it's above the scope about the existing legal frame work is it effective or not when we talk about freedom of faith and again ali in in tunis the president essentially says we're confident that unity in legislators will be able to strike a balance between gender equality on the one hand and religion and the constitution on the other are you confident that they can. i mean i would agree with my colleague saying that you know like the discussion about the religious framework and you know like the interpretation of the koran and interpretation of the fundamental scriptures is somehow misleading because then we are trapped in all kinds of different interpretations because the interpretation of the modern is
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those who want to have a modern interpretation of islam that gets away with all the you know a very problematic you know provisions in the islamic sharia would be faced by others who want a very orthodox interpretation and who would fight for it and who would consider that the interpretation of the modernist are completely alien to what the koran sais and what you know fourteen hundred years of practice of islamic sharia has produced so my tendency is while understanding that there should be some kind of you know interpretation and some kind of dialogue on the interpretation of the religious scriptures we shouldn't be trapped in that and we should really especially like for for legislators for policymakers they should take the courage
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of saying you know we are in a secular country we are in a country that has removed or has never really in trying to islamic law in its nation we have thinking about what is the best for the community we are we have in tunisia in terms of the the they are right their rights their fundamental rights but also all kinds of other issues that as the economy such as all these debate takes place outside of the religion and so it's important that legislators and policy makers read. you know set the line of course there is debate in tunisia there is disagreement and the disagreement will be very very you know heightened and very tense when it will come to discussing the issue of inheritance law because this would require a change in the nation's lieschen it would require a reform of the code of personal status and of course there are different streams
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and different you know categories or parties in the in the parliament that would imply they don't want to have a reform of this kind of getting away with all the discriminatory provisions of the personal status code such as the discrimination in inheritance but still i think the debate is really very important ok and there are ways to overcome some of the you know reluctance and some of the resistances that exist and right a conservative. constituency ok i want to come to the issue of inheritance that you raised in just a few minutes but first cassim president essentially argues that she needs to to fight discrimination to modernize i just wonder is it possible to to shape or reinterpret ancient islamic laws to modern day societies and our current way of life yeah i don't think there's a need to necessarily reinterpret i think there's
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a need for revival of what islam actually teaches and this is one of the fundamental issues that we see throughout the muslim world not just in tunisia there's a fundamental shelia of muslim leadership. both in islam a scholarship and in how to apply islam to your personal life while respecting the lives of others you have numerous muslim majority countries tunisia is not one of them but you have numerous like saudi arabia like pakistan that are mixing religion and state they have things that are into islam like blasphemy laws of laws and they try to. label them as islamic and what happens is that not only do you radicalize you you create these tensions that are completely unnecessary you also model up and you confuse people in the what islam actually teaches and what the a secular government society under. a muslim society can actually look like if we look at the example that the prophet of islam of actually established in the
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charter of the you know this was a secular constitution where muslims and jews lived as equal citizens of one state and no person was held accountable to the slick law unless they were a muslim who willingly wanted to be held to an islamic law you did not have a situation where jews were forced to eat here or to islamic law and i think this fundamental principle is lost upon muslim leadership and you have environments where people are asking these questions where do we need to reinterpret islamic law when no you don't you simply need to recognize this fundamental basic fact that islam teaches secular governance it teaches your private faith should remain private and you can believe whatever it is you want to believe as long as you're not hurting anybody else but the government itself should be based on absolute justice and consultation these are the two fundamental pillars of an islamic government that doesn't leave us alone and there's a mr emmott has been advocating that for governments in the muslim world to counter extremism and radicalization we need to go back to this principle of up holding
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absolute justice until we do that we'll have a thousand different interpretations of islam the law and they'll all be useless but if we focus on justice then we can actually get somewhere as a society and yet some of the is leading him on this and theologians have denounced the plans particularly when it harrison says as a flagrant violation of the precepts of islam. so who's right you will then. well i mean let's even assume that they're right that it is a violation of what islam teaches on inheritance that's irrelevant to the fact that you cannot enforce islamic moral teachings on on people who don't want them and force i mean there's not a single example in the life of the prophet of islam or in the koran where people were forced to follow islam and so to claim that you are appalling islamic values by forcing people to follow islam is perhaps the biggest argument to show that what you're doing is completely honest logic so i will concede to the scholars and
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clerics that yes islam has a very specific inheritance law but where they have absolutely no ground whatsoever is to say that we can enforce this inheritance law and somebody else and i'll close with this as well what the amity a muslim community has done in two hundred nations worldwide is spread peacefully recognize separation of religion and state and i've hold islamic values for millions and millions of muslims without a single act of compulsion or terrorism that is the islam that i invite the world to look at not this fake conflict between religion and state because there should be no and religion and state according to the prophet of islam must remain separate where people can worship freely without oppression and the government rules based on justice not by forcing people what to believe or what not to believe ok what do you make of what you've just heard that's what extent this is president's proposals particularly on marriage and inheritance but on equality over rule give new impetus to moderate islam the kind of islam we are hearing about there and the argument
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that islamic law perhaps is or could be open to interpretation and evolution or that this should be a separation of islam. and the states first i think i think there's there to. this question the question you just ask you right now it's a question that we hear very very often but i think it's really been question because we aren't don't. again about. when i say modern state and you state the national law. i mean the current. legal framework doesn't exist because it is from the sharia it does exist because it is the law that is very dated by the state i mean we're not we're not in the. in the in the ancient framework where i mean you have those sheria.
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you're arche of of the norm i mean what is applied in tunisia today except because it is in the religion but it is applied because it is very dated by the state where token is state where the principle of the autonomy of the religious laser is also a fundamental rule in tunisia i mean i appreciate the lots of what had been said by . by your guest of the last one will talk and i mean a lot of very reasonable argument but where i do absolutely not agree is that we are just defining the one journal law of the modern state the modern democracy by religious by religious arguments i appreciate very much what what you said the bothersome haven indeed that's a haven i mean created what we can say today even a secular a secular state i mean the prophet was the head of state not because he's part of
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it but because his power was validated by a lot of tribes jaywalks muslim etc but what does disturb me here is that we are building an argument asian that is base it on the religious argument and i mean when i said that it was i was about basing i haven't had a second or you know i read wait a bit yes please come in i'm sorry i'm sorry i don't mean to cut you off but my argument is. and a religious argument what i'm saying is if you look at the secular history of the islamic history even if you want to try to make a religious argument the example the prophet gave was still a secular example he still separated religion and state so there's really no example from the life of the prophet of islam that you can point to or that anyone can point to to say here the prophet enforced islamic law and that is why we mustn't force it today ok on the contrary when he had power when he had political power he refused to enforce islamic law and he kept religion and state separate
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that is the model that we should follow today we had a quick response from you if you wouldn't mind please yeah very quickly just just one more time i mean what the point that i raise the point that i do want to science very much on it i mean we. we we the two newsroom lows i mean they are. because one more star they are very dated by a parliament and the parliament has the. autonomy he's autonomy i mean when tunisian go and elect they are they are they are deputy they they do it i mean to respect their they will i mean and therefore i mean we we can to impose to the religious literature any coming up for interpretation and i'm now we've got about a minute before the end of the program and i know you want to come in to but i just i also want to know that we're talking here about today's constitution which seems to be at all odds with quranic teachings that will not cause. division and the
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potential trouble for. i just want to you know get away from the religious argument as my other you know the other in. guest said and go back to politics because we are talking about politics here. you know this isn't of the government to rescind and abrogate the one nine hundred seventy three. decree for a ministerial decree banning the marriage of muslim women with non muslim men is a political decision and it's about political players who are trying to you know a place themselves in the landscape and place themselves in the political game so just you know focusing on the religious aspect of things will not help us and help also the viewer to understand what is at play because you have to understand also that this decision to rescind the decree came on the heels of another very bad
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decision the previous day which was the decision to you know this. all corrupt eight officials from any wrongdoing etc so it's a political game and it's part of also off this you know state feminism in a way it's you know women's rights were also all the time instrumental lies in order to like i went scores and you know that to do politics ok well i'm. sorry to interrupt you i'm going to be our only thing i'm sort of interrupt you but we're out of time on today's program we did want to hear a voice that was opposed to this year's plan so we reached out to several people today all of our invitations to appear on the program were declined many thanks to all of you on the. cutscene rashid and riyadh folly thank you for watching
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the program does get you can see inside story again at any time just by going to the website at out zero dot com for further discussion join us on our facebook page you'll find that at facebook dot com forward slash inside story and you can join us on twitter our handle a.j. inside story from the a terrific of the whole team here and don't thanks for watching we'll see you rick . on counting the cost how apple's i phone economics make it the most profitable company in the world. how the j. trade is influencing the prices in myanmar. plus one hundred days of the gulf
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atmosphere it's a process that could be playing a role in slowing down manmade climate change the philippines is asia's largest catholic nation priests are treated like gods but the church has a dark secret when used investigate sexual misconduct inside the most powerful institution in the philippines at this time on al-jazeera. hello i'm here in the home of the top stories here on al-jazeera bangladesh is restricting the movement of revenge or refugees by preventing them from leaving its border areas it is setting up new camps to house almost half a million people who are fed violence from neighboring man mark upon an associate casinos.

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