Saudi Arabia has very serious problem. So serious, it may take some editing with regards to the application (but not the interpretation) of shariah as it comes to divorcing women.
What are these sweeping changes that will help recognize the rights of millions of women under Islamic law? Equal standing? Freedom of religion? Freedom of speech?
Better notification when your husband divorces you. Digital Journal explains the conundrum:
In some instances the men continue to sleep with their ex-wives who are unaware that their true marital status is divorced. Under Saudi's strict sharia law, men who continue to have sexual relations with their ex-wife following divorce are considered to be commiting adulterous behaviour.
Emirates 247 reported Talal al Bakri of the Shura Council explained the need for a new law in the circumstances, saying “I will remain one of the strongest advocates of a law that will safeguard the rights of divorced Saudi women, including alimony, child custody and other things.”
"This law has also become necessary given the fact that many men divorce their wives without telling them while they continue to sleep with them for months….this is not fair because since marriage is completed with the consent of the two, divorce should also be completed in the presence of the two…I am vehemently against divorce in the wife’s absence.”
Saudi women are permanently the property of a male guardian, be it father, brother, husband or other male family member including a son, but to to be unaware of their actual marital status is shocking. According to Foreign Policy the Saudi justice system "is patriarchal, bordering on the misogynistic."
In other words, the women can still be discarded -- and have absolutely no rights whatsoever.
On the bright side, at least they'll know about it in a prompt matter.
Of course, this is the sort of shariah that our U.S. Department of State is willing to accomodate by allowing freedom of religion to be twisted into "freedom of worship" -- a precisely defined term that prevents evangelization and discredits whatever a recognized religion deems to be hate speech or libel.
What's worse, there are some on the right that would prefer to hide behind shariah with comparisons to the Catholic Code of Canon Law, where even a brief cursory glance at canon law offers no prescriptions such as stoning, the maltreatment of women as second-class citizens, the rejection of the civil authority, or instructions to lie to non-believers.
All of this can be found in Islam. All of this is being brought into American courts. All of this is incompatible with our U.S. Constitution and internationally recognized foundations for human rights.
The amazing part about this story is that al-Bakiri truly believes that "notifying" women really is some sort of compromise... comforting to those women being married and released like chattel slaves, I'm sure...