in palestine wedding invitations embody fight for social change
Last Updated : GMT 09:03:51
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Last Updated : GMT 09:03:51
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In Palestine, wedding invitations embody fight for social change

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Almaghrib Today, almaghrib today In Palestine, wedding invitations embody fight for social change

Palestinian women wedding.
Ramallah - Arab today

The longstanding and controversial Palestinian tradition of omitting the bride’s given name on wedding invitations could be in the process of changing.

Younger and contemporary women are rebelling against the tradition and demanding their names be on the wedding invitations.

“I will not marry a man who refuses to put my name on the wedding invitation,” said Marwa Hussein, a university student in Nablus.

“Someone who insists on this tradition is not a proper match for me anyways.”

Yet, in most cases, stating the bride’s name on her wedding invitations is still considered a social disgrace

“I would never mention the name of my daughter on her wedding invitation,” said Essam Hammadi, whose daughter is engaged to be married in a month.

“This is our inherited tradition and I would not dare challenge it for fear of having my daughter’s name being the talk of the entire community.”

Although this tradition does not have anything to do with the Muslim religion, Palestinian customs omit women’s names when they marry and even when they die—they are referred to as the wife, daughter or mother of a man.

“The woman is viewed simply as a body and the name which refers to that body in any way should be strictly avoided,” Dr. Samah Saleh, who heads the Sociology and Social Works Department at An Najah National University, told Gulf News.

“Society cannot even afford the woman an independent identity.”

Shaikh Nabeel Al Khatib of the Palestinian Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Awqaf says the custom has “nothing to do with Islam”.

“On the contrary, the names of the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) wives and daughters and the names of the companions’ wives and daughters were clearly mentioned and used during throughout Muslim history,” he said.

“However, many Palestinians consider the woman’s name as a part of the family honour that should be guarded and kept hidden.”

“The current situation is even worse than pre-Islamic times,” Saleh says.

Why this tradition has formed over centuries is unclear, but the debate emerging today looks at whether this practice is merely a way to respect long-held traditions or whether it is should be viewed at as a form of discrimination against women.

According to the Women’s Centere for Legal Aid and Counseling, which documents so-called family “honour killings” in Palestine, 65 Palestinian women have been killed by their immediate male relatives since 2014 to defend said “honour”.

Ironically, Palestinian women are among the most educated in the world but they occupy the lowest place in their own society, Amal Abu Soror, who heads the women’s centre, told Gulf News.

It is unfortunate, she says, because of the key role Palestinian women played during the Intifadas, fighting alongside men.

“During the uprisings, women were encouraged and praised for fighting, but this has not transferred to Palestinian customs,” she said.

And, there is no quick fix, she believes.

“Nothing can change until the mentality changes.” But she said it could be instituted from the top down, through legislation.

“Laws related to the status of women need to change. New bills enabling women to assume their role in society should be introduced,” she said.

But even women running for office are unable to publish their names and pictures publicly.

“Currently women feel that they are living as outsiders in their own society. They should be encouraged to play bigger roles in their communities.”

Political leaders have not helped women advance their rights but Abu Soror suggests that if more women were appointed to prominent positions that they could ensure that the changes are implemented

source : gulfnews

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