In this Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 photo, pharmacists Mokhtar Agrebi, left, and Latifa Trabelsi work in their drugstore in Tunis. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)
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TUNIS: Some denounce it as a violation of Islamic law, others embrace it as revolutionary: An initiative by Tunisia's president to make inheritance and marriage rules fairer to women is reverberating around the Muslim world, and risks dividing his country. The 90-year-old president, Beji Caid Essebsi, argues that Tunisia needs to fight discrimination and modernize. In a speech last month, Essebsi proposed allowing women the same inheritance rights as men, instead of the current system based on Islamic Shariah law that generally grants daughters only half the inheritance given to sons.The president also suggested allowing Muslim women to marry non-Muslims; currently Muslim men are allowed to marry non-Muslims but not the other way around.In defense of the ban on non-Muslim men marrying Muslim women, Shoman said that while Muslim men were likely to respect the beliefs of their non-Muslim spouses and freedom to worship, non-Muslim men were unlikely to do the same for their non-Muslim wives.Writing in the Moroccan magazine L'Economiste, she said the Tunisian president could "go down in history ... as an enlightened Muslim leader characterized by a political conscience and attuned to the changes in society".She expressed hope Tunisia could set a precedent across the wider Muslim world.
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