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Tunisia: Muslim women now able to marry non-Muslims

Marriage license placard
Marriage license placard [File photo]

Muslim women in Tunisia can now marry non-Muslim men after a ban was lifted, the presidency announced yesterday.

“Congratulations to the women of Tunisia for the enshrinement of the right to the freedom to choose one’s spouse,” presidential spokeswoman Saida Garrach wrote on Facebook.

The official lifting on the marriage ban was first proposed by President Beji Caid Essebsi a month ago decades after it was canonised in 1973.

According to Islamic law, a non-Muslim man cannot marry a Muslim woman unless he converts to the religion. In Tunisia, the non-Muslim man would need to convert likewise and submit a certificate proving his conversion.

Read more: 41 cases of divorce daily in Tunisia

The ban’s lifting was welcomed by rights groups who argue that the law prevented women access to their basic human right of choosing their spouse without obstacles in place preventing the union.

The abolition of the law is seen as a step for the country’s move towards greater gender equality including on matters such as inheritance.

In 2016, 27 deputies from various parliamentary blocs submitted a legislative initiative to determine the inheritance system which would recognise equality of inheritance between women and men.

The initiative however was opposed strongly in Parliament and discussions have since been stalled.

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