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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Virginity, Chastity and Muslim Beauty Queens

DIVORCE - A Muslim couple in France are still married tonight because the husbands request for annulment was turned down by a French tribunal.


The problem started in 2006 when on their wedding night the husband discovered that his wife was not a virgin (or at very least didn't bleed when her hymen broke, which is known to happen). He immediately stomped out of the bedroom and into the still active wedding party and demanded the vows be undone.


The case provoked wide outrage as an attack on male-female equality. One female government minister called the original tribunal ascent a "fatwa against the emancipation of women."


The issue of virginity amongst Muslim women is so controversial that some women either "fake their virginity" or have surgery to have their hymen restored.


Annulments in France have been granted for impotence, sterility, a criminal record, foreign nationality undisclosed, prostitution, and discovery of a previous divorce. The French tribunal saw this for what it was: Denunciation of a woman for having sex outside marriage (while the husband in question had previous sexual experience), discrimination based on anachronistic traditions, and imposition of religious values on secular law. The tribunal made the following comment:


"Virginity can in no case constitute an essential quality. It is not possible to obtain an annulment on such a discriminatory basis; this motive is an attack on male-female equality, the right to dispose of one's own body, and human dignity. It would be contrary to public order to grant an annulment on the grounds of non-virginity."




The couple can still apply for an annulment on more legal grounds, such as if they don't love each other and never did.


Meanwhile lets back up a few years and go to Germany... the 2005 Miss Germany was Asli Bayram, the first Muslim to be chosen as Germany's beauty queen.


Born in 1981 Germany Asli's father was killed by a Neo-NAZI when she was 12 years old, and unlike stereotypical beauty queens Asli is serious about her career as an actor, but also spends a significant amount of time trying to be a role model for young Muslim women.


There's also a rumour that she might end up guest starring on CBC's Little Mosque on the Prairie as she is currently touring Canada.


Evidently its not just Muslim women who need role models. Its Muslim men who need better role models and need to understand that virginity only effects one night of your marriage. GET OVER IT.

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