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MP: Khul' law contributes substantially to high divorce rate in Egypt

Wednesday 31-05-2017 - 03:04 PM
Mohamed Arabi
Khul‘ divorce in
Khul‘ divorce in Egypt public debates, judicial practices, and everyday life

Cairo – Controversial Egyptian member of parliament Elhami Ajina said that the law of khul’ has contributed to the disintegration of many Egyptian families. “I am against the law of khul’',” Ajina said. “I am against the existence of a law that provides divorce rights to women without the husband’s consent and financial recompense. Is there no alternative to it?”

Khulʿ (female-initiated right to divorce) is a procedure in which a woman can divorce her husband in Islam, by returning the dowry (mahr) that she received from her husband. Khul' allows a woman to initiate divorce procedures through the mutual consent of the husband or by a judicial decree.

At the beginning
At the beginning of the 21st century, Egyptian women gained the unique right to divorce their husbands unilaterally through a procedure called khul‘.

In a statement to Sada al-Balad Portal, Ajina said: “I am of heart and mind against this law and there must be a better alternative to it. We must dispense with the components of freedom and democracy on which this law is based, noting that over the past few years, divorce rates were quite low compared to the current rate which are at all time high.”

He added: “In the past, the man was the head of household, so divorce rates were very low. But now, roles have reversed, where the woman is the family head. In retrospect, divorce rates have increased as a result of eastern cultural changes and technological advance. This has all happened in a span of just one hundred years.

Controversial Egyptian
Controversial Egyptian member of parliament, Elhami Ajina

In response to the question of how to raise awareness about the negative aspects of divorce, the MP said that this problem has no solution but to restrict some liberties under the family law. 

As for the issue on documentation of verbal divorce, the MP stressed that it is necessary to refer back to Islamic law (or Sharia) and it will tell us exactly what to do.

Ajina once recommended
Ajina once recommended virginity tests to female students before university, sparking controversy. (Photo: Egyptian women at a 2011 rally against virginity tests Getty)

Mr. Ajina is known for his remarks which many have perceived as courting controversy. In 2016, he called for Egyptian women to undergo female mutilation in order to “reduce their sexual desires” because Egyptian men are “sexually weak”. 

Ajina has gained the notoriety of being an anti-women member under the dome of the Parliament. In the same year, he also suggested that female students undergo virginity tests before being admitted to university, so as to 'accordingly stem the tide of common marriages' (i.e. Urfi) at Egyptian universities.

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