Lawyer and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, Nehad Aboul Qomsan, called for a new personal status law that balances justice and Islamic Sharia in the area of marital relations.
In a seminar to discuss the new personal status bill, Aboul Qomsan challenged the stance of the state toward the personal status law, with reference to the problems faced by married and divorced women in courts, especially with regards to alimony.
Aboul Qomsan added: "How come the rights of the state are inviolable while human rights are unprotected? We have a joint responsibility. The personal status law requires entire change."
Aboul Qomsan said she met with clerics, professors of jurisprudence and sociology, lawyers and men and women involved in marital problems to discuss the new bill.
She indicated that the Kuwaiti and Malaysian personal status laws have been studied as examples when drawing up the new Egyptian law.
She stressed the need for a law that protects the individual and individuals' money guardianship, underlining that the law must be realistic and bring into consideration parties' financial status in each case.
Aboul Qomsan demanded reviewing the current personal status law, adding that the proposed new bill would be submitted to the parliament to regulate marriage, divorce and the rights of women in matters of dowry, bride tokens and alimony.
The bill states that the husband requires the permission of the court before taking a second wife while still married to his first, to guarantee the rights of both wives, she mentioned.
Cassation lawyer Islam Hashem said that the aim of the new bill is to divide the responsibility of marriage between the man and woman to protect families' best interests.
The bill regulates revocable divorce, polygamy, guardianship over children and the father's rights to see his children under the mother's guardianship, he said.
Cassation lawyer Faten Fawzy suggested introducing two new items to the bill. The first addresses the current law that a wife must ask her husband for divorce before resorting to court. The new law would enable the wife to go to court directly.
The second item would obligate a husband not only to be granted the permission of a court before taking a second wife, but would obligate him also to notify his first wife.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm