PALESTINE: Palestinian couple endures forcible divorce after being accused of being apostates


Forcible divorces common in Palestine

Forcible divorce for Palestinian couple as judge retracts their marriage license when they join a Muslim sect

Can you imagine being married and a court forcing you to divorce? This is what happened to a couple in Palestine. The court divorced them against their will. That is absolutely insane, isn’t it? It’s not like they were in an incestuous or otherwise void or voidable marriage. The couple belonged to a Islamic sect that is rejected by mainstream Muslims. The Islamic court basically decided that they were not religious enough – in fact, they were accused of being apostates and so the court renounced their marriage certificate. Just. Like. That. The wife is pregnant and as a result, her child will be illegitimate and suffer the stigma that befalls “bastards” in these religious conservative countries like Palestine. Here’sa portion of the story from the Associated Press:’

TULKAREM, West Bank (AP) — For more than a year, a Palestinian couple belonging to an Islamic sect rejected by many mainstream Muslims endured insults from some of their neighbors and even death threats while struggling to maintain a quiet existence in this West Bank town. As word spread about them, things got worse. A local Islamic court branded them apostates and dissolved their marriage. The couple, Mohammed and Samah Alawneh, now live in legal limbo. Their plight demonstrates the tensions between a still largely conservative Palestinian society and a Western-backed government expected by the international community to ensure democratic freedoms. The government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is dominated by secular elites and frequently cracks down on hard-line Muslims connected to its militant Islamic rival, Hamas. The seat of Abbas’ government, the vibrant West Bank city of Ramallah, is dotted with bars, liquor stores and night clubs frequented by secular Muslims, although consuming alcohol is strictly forbidden in Islam. At the same time, the Palestinian Authority – trying to build toward a state that would include the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip – has shown there are limits to its religious tolerance.

Now, why is this allowed to happen, is the question. Islamic law is very relevant and very well respected in the international community. But rules like these and actions like these gives me pause. They really do.