File - Al Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb
CAIRO – 31 January 2018: Al-Azhar denied Sunday that it has removed Tunisia from a list of Islamic countries due to the country’s recent decisions taken regarding women’s rights, confirming that this kind of list does not exist, according to Al-Azhar Media Center.
“Al-Azhar Media Center has followed astonishingly the rumors spread recently [by Tunisians] on social media regarding that Al-Azhar has removed Tunisia from the Islamic states’ list,” tweeted Al-Azhar on January 28.
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said in his speech delivered on August 15, 2017, marking the National Women's Day, that Tunisia’s current legislation and practices regarding women should be changed, as he urged Tunisia’s Justice Ministry to repeal Article 78 of a 1973 decree to allow women to marry non-Muslim men.
While marriage between Muslim men and non-Muslim women is permissible under Sharia, marriage between Muslim women and non-Muslims is prohibited.
Essebsi argued that the law, which prohibits women from marrying non-Muslim men, is an obstacle to the women’s freedom to choose their spouse.
He also called for other various amendments to the law to grant equal rights with men, particularly in inheritance.
However, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb issued a statement on August 20 to respond to the Tunisian move regarding the women’s rights, saying, “Islamic texts, including verses from the Holy Quran on inheritance, are fixed provisions. Al-Azhar categorically rejects any attempts to change them.”