13 December 2007

Now they can fight - it is official.

I have somehow missed this sensational headline. It is necessary to understand its precise meaning, not that a saying of any religious cleric must carry something precise.
The following statement carries more information:
A Muslim woman is allowed to fight back in self-defense if hit by her husband, Lebanon's top Shiite cleric declared Tuesday in a ruling rare for the male-dominated Islamic society.
I am not trying to be sarcastic here, just to get a full measure of this, doubtlessly important decree by a fairly important (albeit in Lebanon only) Grand Ayatollah. So the new fatwa does not necessarily forbid a man to beat his wife, but at least it allows the wife to hit back.

Taking into account the ratio of weight and muscle between a man and a woman, not to speak about the currently dominant culture of male superiority an macho sense of honor - how many women in the Middle East will actually follow this fatwa? And of those who follow - how many will be killed of beaten into pulp?

No doubt, this is an important precedent, and hopefully the example will be followed. But the way from here to suffrage is still very long. And, besides, the same fatwa still says that "Islam gives men supremacy over women in running household affairs".

So, let's not hold our collective breath for now.