Religious lawmakers in Afghanistan blocked legislation today aimed at strengthening provisions for women's freedoms, arguing that parts of it violate Islamic principles and encourage disobedience. The law criminalizes, among other things, child marriage and forced marriage, and bans the traditional practice of exchanging girls and women to settle disputes. It makes domestic violence a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and specifies that rape victims should not face criminal charges for fornication or adultery.
Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, a conservative lawmaker for Herat province, said the legislation was withdrawn shortly after being introduced in parliament because of an uproar by religious parties who said parts of the law are un-Islamic. "Whatever is against Islamic law, we don't even need to speak about it," Shaheedzada said. The female lawmaker trying to get it passed said she was disappointed because some of her fellow females in parliament opposed it. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)