Some interesting legal news

First, via Jurist, Pakistan has reformed its rape laws. Previously, the Hudood Ordinance required a woman who had been raped to produce 4 male witnesses. If the alleged perpetrator was Muslim, the 4 male witnesses were also required to be Muslim. If the woman failed to prove rape, she risked being prosecuted for having sexual intercourse outside marriage, which was a lot easier to prove than rape. The laws have been amended to do away with the requirement of 4 male witnesses and to require ordinary forensic proofs.

Secondly, again via Jurist, the Netherlands plans to outlaw the wearing of burqas in public. There have been protests by some Islamic women. As I have said previously, I am not comfortable with burqas as a matter of principle; I think they restrict communication, movement and the kinds of activities and jobs a woman who wears one can undertake. They suggest that the female body is somehow bad. However, I’m not sure that banning the burqa is the answer: I think it’s up to an individual woman if she wants to wear one. The corollary of wearing a burqa is that it may limit the kinds of jobs a woman who wears one can undertake and the kinds of things she can do. But that’s the woman’s choice!

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