Shariah

Love's Labor Lost: When Religion Takes Precedence Over Law

The debate of Church and State takes many forms, spanning centuries and cultures with ease. Perhaps the clearest examples we've seen of religious extremism -- outside of our very own American Taliban1 -- have been embodied within regimes like the Taliban of Afghanistan, or within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Examples abound, but one case that recently made headlines2 in some areas illustrates just how the dominance of religious belief over secular law can interfere with love, marriage and a woman's right to choose. A right which, btw, refers not only to her right to choose whether to carry a pregnancy to term but also her right to choose who to marry, where to live and how to raise her children.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Two years ago, a knock on Fatima and Mansour al-Timani's door shattered the life they had built together.

It was the police, delivering news that a judge had annulled their marriage in absentia after some of Fatima's relatives sought the divorce on grounds she had married beneath her.

That was just the beginning of an ordeal for a couple who _ under Saudi Arabia's strict segregation rules _ can no longer live together. They sued to reverse the ruling, publicized their story and sought help from a Saudi human rights group.

But the two remain apart and Fatima said she is considering suicide if her recent appeal to King Abdullah does not reunite her with her husband.

How would you like such a nightmare in your life?