August 25, 2009 / 4:30 PM / in 8 years

Muslims urge Mali leader to block family code

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Mali’s top Islamic body urged President Amadou Toumani Toure on Tuesday not to sign a new family code boosting women’s rights in marriage, pointing to mass protests against it in the mostly Muslim state.

The code, which won the backing of parliament this month, would throw out a previous clause that a woman should obey her husband, as well as equalise inheritance rights between legitimate and illegitimate children.

“Signing this into law would go against the will of most of this country’s over 80 percent of Muslims,” Mohamed Kimbiri, Secretary of the High Islamic Council told Reuters.

Kimbiri said further protests through the country were planned after a rally through the capital Mabako at the weekend drew some 50,000 demonstrators.

“That was the biggest march ever organised -- even the marches of March 26, 1991, did not mobilise as many people,” he said of protests which brought down the military dictatorship of General Moussa Traore and led finally to a civilian government.

Toure’s office was not immediately available for comment.

Cotton-producing Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. While it is predominantly Muslim, it has a secular constitution.

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