(WOMENSENEWS)–The United States Marines has indefinitely postponed the swearing in of Nidal Nasser Hussein, the first female judge ever appointed in Najaf, Iraq, according to press accounts.
The Marines are supervising the reconstruction of Najaf’s city government. The appointment was approved by Rachel Roe, a lawyer from Wisconsin who is currently serving as the Najaf court system adviser. The postponement was based mainly upon objections from local lawyers, Islamic clerics and other judges.
Male and female lawyers protested outside of Najaf’s government chambers while chanting “No No Women.” Protestors claimed that the appointment of a female judge contradicts Islamic law and that women cannot be judges because they are ruled by their emotions.
The Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most revered Shiite cleric in Iraq, ruled last month that judges had to be mature, sane and masculine, but did not rule that they had to be male. Hussein would not have been the first female judge in Iraq. There are now five female judges in Baghdad.
More than a decade ago, Hussein paved the way for other Iraqi women by becoming the first female lawyer to begin working in the city of Naraf. “There were demonstrations against the first elementary schools for women, too, but everything needs a beginning,” she told The New York Times.