Islamic groups object to gender equality

Six major Islamic organizations have voiced objections to the gender fairness and equality bill, saying that some articles may harm Islamic values.

The objections were made during a consultation meeting between the organizations and the House's religion and social affairs commission.

The criticisms came from the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the Indonesian Consultative Council for Muslim Women Organizations (BMO-IWI), Aisyiah, Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI), the Islamic Community Party (PUI) and Muslimat NU.

The representatives, who were all women, said that the bill could further violate Islamic law on inheritance sharing, marriage and women's rights to be a mother and housewife.

They said that the bill's article 12, for example, which stipulated that every man and woman could freely choose a husband or wife, contradicted Islamic law that suggests the bride and groom be of the same religion.

Eneng Zubaedah from the MUI said that Islam, as a religion, strictly regulated the proportion of inheritance between a man and a woman, which was two to one.

"We have to realize that it may also contradict the idea behind the bill," Eneng Zubaedah said.

HTI spokesman Iffah Ainur Rochmah said that gender equality that encouraged women to work would eventually cause more conflicts within marriages.

"In 2009, statistics from Jakarta revealed that the divorce rate of teachers went up mainly because wives had better salaries, and thus felt superior," she said.

Commission head Ida Fauziyah said that she appreciated the insights and promised that the House would pay serious attention to the concerns.

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