One woman against the mullahs

Nasrin Alam in the London Times:

Shirin20ebadi“As I was defending the (Divorce) Bill to the commission, an imperious, traditionalist cleric sitting next to me gathered his robes and turned to address me: ‘Why have you written that male consent is not required for divorce?’ “Because it’s not,” I said. “And I’ll prove it to you.” I pulled out the Shahr-e Lomeh, the Shia textbook of jurisprudence. “This is the book you study in the seminary, and on which you are tested in becoming a mullah,” I stated. “It says nowhere in here that male consent is required. So why are you insisting it is?” For trumping this cleric with his own seminary’s books, the lawyer and human rights activist Shirin Ebadi is ejected from the session at the Iranian parliament. In another court battle the judge sternly warns her: “Do not criticise Islamic law,” to which she responds “I am only asking if justice has been served.”

Ebadi’s inspiring memoir Iran Awakening offers a first-hand look at her remarkable life and Iran’s human rights struggle. She was forced to resign as Iran’s first female judge when the revolutionaries decided that women were unfit for such roles. She turned her law practice into a base for rights campaigning, taking cases of dissident writers, intellectuals and pro-democracy activists that other lawyers deemed far too dangerous.

More here.  And here is Reza Aslan’s review of Ebadi’s book, in The Nation.