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Tunisian women now free to marry non-Muslim men

Tunisia has lifted a ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslim men after years of campaign against the marriage law imposed in 1973.

President Beji Caid Essebsi had promised a month ago that the ban will be lifted in respect of the 2014 constitution that guarantees women’s freedom.

Spokesperson of the presidency, Saida Garrach is reported to have confirmed the lifting of the ban in a Facebook post congratulating Tunisian women for regaining their “right to the freedom to choose one’s spouse”.

Before the new legislation, a non-Muslim man had to convert to Islam and show a certificate as proof before he is allowed to marry a Muslim woman. This is not the same for Tunisian men who can marry a non-Muslim woman.

The legislation has been condemned by Muslim clerics who have pushed against its adoption.

It sets aside Tunisia from the rest of the Arab world where Islamic laws are strictly practiced.

Tunisia in 1956 banned polygamy and in July this year, introduced a law abolishing the clause that allowed rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims.

Ismail Akwei

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