Shinkai Zahine Karokhail, like other female parliamentarians, complained that after an initial deal the law [allowing men to rape their wives] was passed with unprecedented speed and limited debate. "They wanted to pass it almost like a secret negotiation," she said. "There were lots of things that we [women MPs] wanted to change, but they didn't want to discuss it because [President] Karzai wants to please the Shia before the election."
Ustad Mohammad Akbari, an MP [a man] and the leader of a Hazara political party, said the president had supported the law in order to curry favour among the Hazaras. But he said the law actually protected women's rights. "Men and women have equal rights under Islam but there are differences in the way men and women are created. Men are stronger and women are a little bit weaker; even in the west you do not see women working as firefighters." Akbari said the law gave a woman the right to refuse sexual intercourse with her husband if she was unwell or had another reasonable "excuse". And he said a woman would not be obliged to remain in her house if an emergency forced her to leave without permission.
"'Worse than the Taliban' - new law rolls back rights for Afghan women"
by Jon Boone in Kabul The Guardian, Tuesday 31 March 2009
Safia Sidiqi, a [woman] lawmaker from Nangarhar province who condemned the legislation, said she cannot remember parliament debating or even voting on the law and she does not know how it came to be signed by Karzai. She called for the law to be recalled to parliament for debate. "It is impossible in a two-month session for parliament to pass a law more than 200 pages long," she said of the 263-page law.
Sayed Hossain Alemi Balkhi, a [male] Shiite lawmaker involved in drafting it, defended the legislation saying it gives more rights to women than even Britain or the United States does. He said the law makes women safer and ensures the husband is obliged to provide for her.
"Critics assail Afghan law that 'legalizes rape'"
By FISNIK ABRASHI, Associated Press Writer Fisnik Abrashi, Associated Press Writer – Thu Apr 2, 7:04 pm ET
HTs: Dr Jim West and Women In His Image