[JURIST] More than 50,000 people gathered in the Mali capital of Bamako on Sunday to protest a law passed recently by the National Assembly [official website, in French] to extend the rights of women. The new law [BBC report] gives women greater inheritance rights and increases the minimum age in marriage to 18 years old, among other things. Muslim leaders have been expressing their objections to the law since it was passed earlier this month. Several smaller protests have occurred throughout the country. The 50,000 protesters included many women [AFP report].
Women's rights issues have lately attracted controversy across the Muslim world. Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] criticized Afghanistan [JURIST report] for an amended personal status law that restricts women's rights. Despite the criticisms, the law was defended [JURIST report] by Muslim leaders in the country. In July, the Chief Justice of the High Court of Justice in Hamas-dominated Gaza announced an order [JURIST report] that required female lawyers to wear traditional religious attire for court appearances. The decision was criticized as undermining women's rights and personal freedoms.