Egypt’s First Female “Maazun”

Egypt has appointed its first female official to certify marriages and divorces. Amal Soliman applied for the “maazun” position because it would allow her to work close to her home and three children, not because she wanted to start a debate, which she has. “It is wrong to have a woman in this position,” one man said. “My sheikh tells me that if we are to get married that we must avoid her because she can’t do the job.” Part of the issue some people have with her appointment is that women aren’t allowed to enter mosques or read Quaranic verses when they’re menstruating. Amal says she plans to conduct home visits during those times and will also have an assistant who will be able to enter the mosque when she cannot. Ten others, all men, applied for the job, but Justice Minister Mamdouh Marei said Amal was chosen based “on her abilities rather than on her gender.” One of the position’s responsibilities is to ensure there is no coercion behind a wedding, particularly when younger brides are involved, so it could be a good thing to have a women in the role. Amal believes that as a woman, she’ll be better able to tell if a marriage has been forced on someone. [Women’s eNews]