The Family Law has already proved its worth in Bahrain as a central pillar for protecting the rights of women in legal family disputes such as divorce, child custody, domestic violence, inheritance and other essential facets of life.
However, through no fault of their own, Shia women and families are currently excluded from enjoying the benefits of such a law. Here we will briefly look at why this is the case and why this matters:
In Bahrain we have two courts concerned with family issues based on Shariah law; the Sunni courts and the Jaafari (Shia) courts; reflecting the traditional legal differences in these religious schools of thought.
In 2008, Bahrain succeeded in passing a Sunni Family Law. However, Shia legislators blocked efforts towards either a unified Family Law, or a Jaafari Family Law. These MPs claimed that the proposed bill contradicted religious teachings. However, their critics said that these Shia Islamist MPs had rejected the move because it lessened the ability of clerics to have influence over the private lives of local communities....