muslim woman 88.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Egypt's first female marriage registrar started work Saturday despite complaints by some conservative clerics that the move is against Islam, said the country's official news agency.
During her first day on the job, Amal Suleiman Afifi married a couple in a mosque in the Delta town of Zaqaziq - some 75 kilometers (45 miles) north of Cairo, said MENA.
The couple moved up their wedding ceremony, which was attended by hundreds of people, so they could be married by the 34-year-old Muslim woman, said the report.
Afifi first approached the Egyptian government last year seeking approval to become a marriage registrar, but the Ministry of Justice turned her down, according to local press reports.
Many conservative clerics believe Islamic law, or Sharia, prohibits a woman from becoming a registrar because it states the testimony of two women is equivalent to one man in court. Therefore they believe a marriage contract signed by a woman would be illegal.
More liberal minded clerics believe a marriage registrar is an official who purely plays an administrative role for the state, and therefore her signature on the contract does not violate Shariah.
The Egyptian constitution says Shariah should be the main source of legislation in the country but doesn't specifically bar women from becoming marriage registrars.
Following her rejection by the ministry, Afifi took her case to a family court that accepted her application to become a registrar in February. The court chose Afifi over 10 other male applicants for the job because of her "distinguished legal qualifications," said MENA.
The ministry eventually approved her position in September.