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Monday, December 15, 2008

Lebanese Women Wed To Foreigners Demand Equality RSS stumble digg reddit news trust Share this on Facebook BASSEM MROUE

Every year, Salha Solh spends half her small income of $3,600 just to keep her three sons and three daughters from being deported from their homeland.

Solh is Lebanese but her husband is Pakistani, and under Lebanese law she cannot pass her citizenship on to her children. They are Pakistanis in the law's eyes and need expensive annual residency visas, even though they were born and raised here and have never been to their father's country.

A few months ago, Solh's eldest son was picked up by police for not renewing his residence permit on time and imprisoned for three months until he got a new one.

Nearly every Arab country has similar laws, rooted in Islamic precepts that emphasize paternity as the source of identity. Women's groups have succeeded in changing such laws in Egypt, Morocco and Algeria and are leading campaigns elsewhere, usually against religious conservatives.

In Lebanon, reformers are finally gaining attention for the issue _ through a series of small public protests like one that Solh recently attended, of 100 people, on Beirut Martyrs' Square....


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