STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Female Muslim clerics in Indonesia issue rare fatwas

The meeting in Cirebon on Java island billed as the world's first major gathering of female Muslim clerics, attracted hundreds of participants.

Published: 27th April 2017 08:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th April 2017 08:56 PM   |  A+A-

Image for representational purpose only.

By AFP

CIREBON:  Female Islamic clerics in Indonesia declared a series of fatwas Thursday, including one to tackle child marriage, a rare example of women taking a leading religious role in the Muslim-majority country.

The fatwas -- religious edicts that have no legal force but are influential -- were issued at the end of a three-day congress of female clerics in the country with the world's biggest Muslim population.

The meeting in Cirebon on Java island, billed as the world's first major gathering of female Muslim clerics, attracted hundreds of participants. Most were Indonesian but there were also clerics from Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia.

They issued a series of fatwas at the end of the gathering, the most eye-catching of which was aimed at tackling child marriage. It urged the government to raise the minimum legal age for women to marry to 18 from the current age of 16.

The United Nations childrens' agency UNICEF defines child marriage as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18, and says women are most affected. 

The problem is widespread in Indonesia, with one in four women marrying before 18, according to the agency.

Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, who attended the meeting, suggested authorities would examine the proposal: "I will take this recommendation to the government."

He also praised the gathering: "This congress succeeded in fighting for justice in the relationship between men and women."

Among the other fatwas issued was one against women being sexually abused; and one against environmental destruction, in a country that struggles every year with huge fires that are started illegally and devastate vast swathes of rainforest.

Fatwas are regularly issued in Indonesia but it is usually the male-dominated Indonesian Ulema Council -- the country's highest Islamic authority -- that declares them.

While the Ulema Council has issued rulings on environmental protection in the past, it tends to focus on religious topics such as edicts against blasphemy. It has rarely dealt with any issues affecting women.   

About 90 percent of Indonesia's population of 255 million people are Muslim.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

IPL_2020
flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp