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Tunisian Women March for Equal Inheritance Rights

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Tunisian women have demonstrated to demand equal inheritance rights, amid national debate over the issue that has reverberated around the Muslim world.

Under a heavy police presence, they marched to parliament Saturday in Tunis to demand a law guaranteeing equal inheritance for daughters and sons.

Joined by some men, they carried slogans such as “In a civil state I take exactly what you take”, demanding an end to inheritance laws based on Islamic law. This usually grants men the double of what women get.

The current system based on Islamic Shariah law generally grants daughters only half the inheritance given to sons.

The marchers insisted that Tunisian society has evolved and can remain devoutly Muslim while modernizing its laws. The protest was linked to recent events around the world for International Women’s Day.

Two women held a counter-protest, saying such a law threatens society.

“It is true that Tunisian women have more rights compared to other Arab women but we want to be compared with European women,” said Kaouther Boulila, an activist.
“We just want our rights.”

Tunisia’s president prompted widespread anger when he proposed changes to inheritance laws last year. A special commission studying new rules will present conclusions in June.

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