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New Islamic law for women commuters



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ABUJA, Nigeria, Aug 23, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Islamic law no longer will let women in the Muslim state of Kano in Nigeria ride the motorcycle taxis to end body contact with the driver.

The law, designed also to protect the women from the lewd comments of some of the drivers, will require them to sit in the back of public minibuses. The motorcycle taxi has been a popular form of inexpensive transport in Kano, an ancient trading center with a population of 500,000.

Some government officials said the new rule is the next logical step in their effort to bring the strict Islamic Sharia code of laws to Kano, the Washington Post reported.

Kano is one of 12 areas in northern Nigeria where Islamic law holds sway to varying degrees, the Post said. The other 24 states and the capital, Abuja, have a mix of religions and are governed by secular laws.

Police will now start fining motorcycle drivers caught carrying women who are not their relatives. Gender-based seating restrictions will extend to all commercial minibuses, even those that are privately owned. The government also has purchased 176 motorcycles and 500 three-wheeled vehicles with covered seating areas that are physically separated from the driver.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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