In this Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019 photo, a woman looks at a wall at United Nations Headquarters, decorated with graffiti in Arabic that reads, "Revolution is a woman, and Oh freedom," during ongoing protests, in Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanon’s wave of anti-government protests has given a new platform for women struggling against religious laws. Under Lebanon’s sectarian system, sects have the power to set the rules for marriage, divorce and custody of children for their communities. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

In death and life, Lebanese woman shows religious law fight

December 02, 2019 - 2:04 am

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s wave of anti-government protests has given a new platform for women struggling against religious laws.

Under Lebanon’s sectarian system, sects have the power to set the rules for marriage, divorce and custody of children for their communities.

Supporters of the system say it reflects the country’s plurality of faiths. Critics say it discriminates against women of all faiths and means women are treated differently based on their sect.

Lama Fakih, director of the Human Rights Watch Beirut office, says: “Women have really borne the brunt of the sectarian system of governance and we see that in the personal status laws.”

Many protesters are calling for an option of a civil system for those who don’t want to use religious courts, or a unified civil personal status law for all.

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