The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Zanzibar have criticised the Bill that proposes the amendments in the law governing Kadhi Court, saying it does not prioritise gender equality as it denies women from holding top positions in the religious court.
In a statement issued on Sunday, September 24 by director of Tanzania Media Women's Association (Tamwa) in Zanzibar, Dr Mzuri Issa, says for the court to be seen as fair body women representation in its leadership should be taken into consideration.
Kadhi Court usually deals with family matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance and family rights.
A bill to amend the law will be read for the second time in the Zanzibar House of Representatives next week.
The human rights defenders also expressed concerns that if the law was silent about the rights of women to hold top leadership posts, the body will be dominated by men, a situation which does not augur well with gender equality.
Amina Khalfan, a religious leader from ministry of Education and Vocational Training in Zanzibar stated: “Countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and Tunisia have made reforms and allow women to hold top positions of religious court leadership. We want to see it happening in Zanzibar as well.”
"We have a lot of educated women and they are capable of holding such leadership posts," she added.
For his part, Sheikh Maulid Juma from Almadrasat Alkhazalia Akbar in Zanzibar stated: “The Islamic law in Tanzania does not deny women from holding various positions of religious leadership, but they are not given the opportunity due to various environmental factors,”
The CSOs engaging in human rights including Zanzibar Legal Services Centre (ZLSC), Tamwa and Zanzibar Female Lawyers Association, amongst other on Sunday, September 24 organised a joint meeting in Zanzibar to discuss various gender related issued.