Tunisia lifts ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims

Tunisian officials say the government has lifted a ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims on the recommendation of the president, who says Tunisia needs to modernize.

Muslim men were allowed to marry non-Muslim women, but not the other way around.

A government official, who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity, said such marriages can now be freely registered. The plan has drawn the ire of Muslim clerics, who consider marriage rules unquestionable in Islamic Shariah law, on which the Tunisian legal system is based.

President Beji Caid Essebsi has promised to fight discrimination in a country where a most medical, agricultural and textile workers and those with higher education are women.

Another president-led initiative, to make inheritance rules fairer to women, has not yet been decided on.