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Women sit-in in at Shiite Council for raising age of custody

22-3-2019

On the occasion of Mother’s Day, the National Campaign to Increase Age of Custody for the Shiite Sect staged a sit-in yesterday in front of the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council to demand raising the age of custody from 2 to 7 years for males, and from 7 to 9 for females. Demonstrators also called for enacting a joint custody arrangement between parents after set age. During the protest, women raised their voices against blatant corruption inside the Sharia courts, decrying deprivation of their motherhood. The Campaign pledged to take similar moves until demands are met. Coinciding with the sit-in, a meeting was held between a delegation of mothers and the secretary general of the Shiite Awkaf Department, Hassan Sharifeh, who listened to the stories of anguished mothers about injustices practiced by Jaafari courts. To name some, the procrastination in hearings and pronouncing verdicts and the suffering by mothers as a result of not raising the age of custody of their children. Al Akhbar newspaper wrote that, the meeting was meant to alleviate the impact of the protest, since Sharifeh did not deliberate or discuss any case, but rather listened to what the mothers had to say. He only promised to relay their demands to involved parties after six years from the start of the protest movement. “Demands cannot be voiced on the streets,” the Sheikh said, adding, “these women are my daughters, and the doors of the Council are always open.” Al Akhbar saw this as a restatement of the patriarchal system which views the female as a “daughter” who is ushered to designated places to request and claim her rights. (Al Akhbar, March 22, 2019)

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