A Christian woman has won a court battle over unequal inheritance law in Egypt. According to a discriminatory law that is practised in many Arab countries, women inherit half of what their brothers do.
There have been attempts by several Arab countries to change the laws governing inheritance, all of which follow Islamic law. Egypt has finally succeeded to set a precedent in correcting the discrepancy that governs its inheritance law concerning male and female relatives.
Although, Turkey replaced its Sharia-based inheritance laws in 1923. Both Iran and Tunisia have tried to do the same, but haven’t been successful in getting official approval for the implementation of equal inheritance for both sexes.
However, an Egyptian Coptic Christian woman argued in court and won the legal battle to receive the same inheritance as her brothers.
40-year-old Huda Nasrallah, a human rights lawyer, challenged the legality of the statute and built her case around the Christian doctrine of equal inheritance. Two courts had earlier ruled against her based on Sharia. But the third court considered her Christian doctrine of equal inheritance.
Sharia Law is mostly used in Egypt in personal status law regardless of an individual’s religion, and this verdict could set a precedent.
With the full support of her brothers in the litigation, Nasrallah will receive the same share of her father’s inheritance as her male sibling.
She said, “It is not really about inheritance, my father did not leave us millions of Egyptian pounds, I have the right to ask to be treated equally as my brothers.”
According to BBC, Rights activist, Ishak Ibrahim said of the latest ruling: “The law assumes that if the [Christian] inheritance beneficiaries agree on applying the Christian laws, the [inheritance] is divided equally. If they disagree, Islamic Sharia is applied.”