BENGHAZI, Libya (AP) — On her way back from her job as a lecturer at a university near Tripoli, Libyan poet Aicha Almagrabi was stopped by a group of bearded militiamen. They kicked her car, beat up her driver and threatened to do the same to her. Her offense: being alone in a car with men without a male relative as a guardian.
"You have violated the law of God," the militiamen told her, Almagrabi said.
"I said, I teach male students, so should I bring a male guardian with me to classroom?" she told The Associated Press.
Not that the university is immune to increasingly bold conservatives' views on the role of women. Almagrabi said one student recently told her she shouldn't be giving lectures because a woman's voice is "awra" — too intimate and shameful to be exposed in public.
The incident in February, which ended with the militiamen allowing Almagrabi to drive home, underlined the bitter irony for women in post-revolution Libya. Women played a major role in the 8-month civil war against dictator Moammar Gadhafi, massing for protests against his regime, selling jewelry to fund rebels, smuggling weapons across enemy lines to rebels.
But since Gadhafi's fall more than 18 months ago, women have been rewarded by seeing their rights hemmed in and restricted.
Women fear worse may yet to come. The country is soon to begin work drafting a new constitution, which activists fear will enshrine the relegation of women to second-class status, given the influence of hard-line Islamists.
"What we aim for right now is not to lose what we had," said Hanan al-Noussori, a lawyer in Libya's second biggest city, Benghazi. "I don't know which path we are heading in. But this is a matter of life or death for us." (Continue Reading.)
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Libyan Women Face Sharia Woes Since Fall of Gadhafi
You know your religion's got problems when life is better under a brutal dictator. (For more on women in Islam, click here.)