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Filed under: Latest News — admin     3:10 pm April 2, 2011

Tunisian women will soon be allowed to wear the Islamic headscarf in photographs on their identity papers, according to an announcement from the interior ministry published by the TAP news agency.

“The minister of the interior will soon authorise the delivery of national identity cards to women who wear the veil,” the ministry said in a statement announcing plans to modify a decree issued in 1993.

“This measure is right in line with reforms undertaken with a mind to promoting the principles and values of the Tunisian revolution (in January) and to guaranteeing the effective respect of public and civil liberties,” the statement said.

Men have been entitled to wear beards on their identity cards since February 12, in a measure taken after the popular uprising that topped the corrupt regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali the previous month.

Tunisia is already unusual in the Arab world for the rights that it has given to women since 1956 with the Code of Personal Status (CNP), which notably abolished polygamy and repudiation of wives by their husbands.

Legalised on March 1 in the wake of the collapse of Ben Ali’s regime on January 14, the Islamist movement Ennahda has declared that it does not oppose the CNP, while supporting the Islamic veil.

“We find nothing in the Code of Personal Status which is in contradiction with our convictions, our principles and our values,” Noureddine Bhiri, a member of the political bureau of Ennahda, told AFP on International Women’s Day on March 8.

In spite of these assurances, women’s rights organisations fear for a possible undermining of the CNP.

“There is no question of making concessions on our gains, nor accepting the obscurantism of those who want to take us back by 14 centuries,” women’s activist Fathia Baazi told a conference in mid-March organised by four local non-governmental organisations, including the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women.

Source : AFP

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