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Eagle Forum Capitol Alert
Aug. 27, 2002

CEDAW Updates may be found in our Quick Topics Section under CEDAW.

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Inequality in Islamic Nations
As of June 2002, 170 countries have ratified the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Nigeria signed CEDAW on April 23, 1984 and ratified the treaty on June 13, 1985. A Nigerian representative even serves on the CEDAW committee of "experts."

NEWSFLASH: Court Upholds Death by Stoning for Nigerian Mother

A northern Nigerian Islamic high court rejected an appeal from a single mother sentenced to death by stoning for having sex outside of marriage. Islamic law, called Shariah, calls for death to women who commit adultery but a lesser punishment for adulterous men.

Amin Lawal gave birth to a daughter more than nine months after divorcing, and her conviction was upheld based on her admission of having non-marital sex. She is the second woman condemned to death under Islamic law for sex outside of marriage, but the first woman's sentence was overturned by appeal in March. The man that Lawal claims is the child's father denied the accusation and was acquitted for lack of evidence.

Even though Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's government has declared Shariah death punishments unconstitutional, predominantly Muslim states in Northern Nigeria are striving to enforce the strict Islamic code. Obasanjo has given no signs of intervening in the case.

Many in the packed courtroom shouted, "God is great," when the judge upheld Lawal's death sentence, which will be carried out as soon as the baby finishes breast-feeding. Lawal will appeal to a higher Islamic court and then the Supreme Court if the appeal fails.

Information based on Associated Press Articles, August 19 and 25, 2002

On August 14, during the CEDAW Exceptional Session, representatives from the Islamic nation of Yemen told the CEDAW "experts" that Islamic Shariah "does not discriminate against women or bar them from any right. Shariah establishes equality between men and women and regulates relations between and for the two sexes. The existence of some practices that restrict the principle of equality guaranteed by the Constitution is the result of a great social heritage and has no relation to the precepts of Shariah that has honored the Muslim woman, if not granting her additional rights out of consideration for her nature and constitution." The Nigerian "expert" agreed by blaming Yemen's cultural practices, not Shariah, for discrimination against women.

EAGLES TAKE ACTION: : Do you want a Nigerian CEDAW "expert" to judge U.S. Laws and practices? Tell your Senators to oppose ratification of CEDAW.

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