New law requires Afghan women to have sex with husbands every 4 nights

April 4, 2009

Here’s yet another instance in which the U.S. collaborates with (even installs!) foreign leaders who don’t support Democracy and civil rights to the extent we do here in the West:

  Afghan President Hamid Karzai has just signed a law that forces women to obey their husbands’ sexual demands, keeps women from leaving the house—even for work or school—without a husband’s permission, automatically grants child custody rights to fathers and grandfathers before mothers, and favors men in inheritance disputes and other legal matters…

  …The legislation zoomed through Afghanistan’s parliament. Karzai, who faces elections in August, signed it in an apparent effort to placate conservative religious forces that are said to hold the balance of power in his re-election bid…

  …Among its other provisions, it guarantees that married men can have sex once every four nights and wives must submit. In effect, it legalizes marital rape. Sobhrang worries there may be worse to come. "They are talking about child marriage," she says… Sobhrang faults those who were quiet in the face of the clear effort by a religious faction to reimpose medieval mores on a country that is in many ways a ward of the contemporary international community.

    [Read the full article on]  

Surely situations like this are a nearly inseparable mishmash of religion, culture, and politics. Culture and politics will always be with us (and likely religion too), but undermining the religious underpinnings of such barbarity and brutality is an important and worthy endeavor for the secular community. CFI has the very capable pair of Austin Dacey at the U.N. and Toni Van Pelt working on the Hill for the CFI Office of Public Policy. But we’re a still small voice in the wilderness of world politics. Will the secular community step up with the resources needed to have a larger impact? Let’s hope.