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Glass Ceiling Shatters in Palestine: 2 Women Become Islamic Court Judges

Posted Feb 24, 2009 4:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Women have been police officers, candidates for top political office and even suicide bombers in Palestine. But, until now, they've never served on the bench in the territories' Islamic courts.

That glass ceiling was shattered by Khuloud Faqih, 34, and Asmahan Wuheidi, 31, when they stepped up to the bench this month, reports the Associated Press.

Only Sudan, in the Arab world, also has women serving as Islamic court judges, the news agency writes.

By taking the bench, "I think I've opened a door for myself and other women," Faqih said. And, although some observers contend that Islamic law is disadvantageous to women seeking justice in court cases, "Where I can make decisions that help women obtain better rights, I will," she adds.

Top judge Sheik Taysir Tamimi, who appointed Faqih, says he hopes more women will apply to work as judges in the West Bank, which is governed by the Western-backed Palestinian Authority. The Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Hamas militant group, hasn't appointed any women to the bench, the AP reports.

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