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Tunisia scraps decades-old ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims Open in fullscreen

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Tunisia scraps decades-old ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims

Tunisia is viewed as being ahead of most Arab countries on women's rights [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 September, 2017

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Tunisia has abolished a decades-old ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims, the presidency has announced.

Tunisia has abolished a decades-old ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims, the presidency said on Thursday.

"Congratulations to the women of Tunisia for the enshrinement of the right to the freedom to choose one's spouse," presidency spokeswoman Saida Garrach wrote on Facebook.

The announcement comes a month after President Beji Caid Essebsi called for the government to scrap the ban dating back to 1973.

Until now a non-Muslim man who wished to marry a Tunisian woman had to convert to Islam and submit a certificate of his conversion as proof.

Human rights groups in the North African country had campaigned for the ban's abolition, saying it undermined the fundamental human right to choose a spouse.

The scrapping of the law has come under fire from conservatives and Islamists in Tunisia and around the region.

Tunisia is viewed as being ahead of most Arab countries on women's rights, but there is still discrimination particularly in matters of inheritance.

In July, Tunisian lawmakers passed a "landmark" law aimed at protecting women against rape and domestic violence.

The law, titled the "Law on Eliminating Violence against Women", abolishes a controversial clause that allows rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims.

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