Egyptian judge says women judges un-Islamic
CAIRO - Egyptian women must not sit as judges because it would be against Islamic law or Sharia as they would have to spend time alone with men, a male Egyptian judge was quoted as saying on Saturday.
A woman judge would ‘contradict Article Two of the constitution’ which states that the principal source of legislation is Sharia, judges’ syndicate president Yahia Ragheb Daqruri was quoted as saying.
The judges’ syndicate position ‘is based on the consensus of doctors of law and the principles of Sharia,’ the Al Masri Al Yom daily quoted Daqruri as saying.
‘When a woman works as a judge, her work requires her to be alone in a room with two or more male judges to deliberate... Is this appropriate? ‘Citizens and others present (in court) will be surprised by the presence of a woman judge.
A woman judge will also become pregnant at some point, and that will certainly have an impact on the judiciary’s prestige and on judges’ public image,’ he said, without elaborating. ‘Giving birth can also have an impact on the cases she is dealing with being dealt with correctly,’ he said, again without elaborating.
Egypt was the first Arab country to give women the franchise in 1956. Increasing conservatism in society over the past several decades has slowed their progress in the public sphere, however. On January 27, the Akhbar Al Yom daily carried a fatwa or edict by chief mufti Shaikh Ali Gomaa saying that Islam forbids women from becoming heads of state because it would require them to lead prayer -- something only a man can do.
But he later said that Islam does not bar women from becoming heads of state, insisting that he had been referring to ‘the traditional role of Caliph as both secular head of state and imam of the Muslims,’ that was abolished with the fall of the Ottoman empire in 1924.