Abu Dhabi: The UAE has appointed its first woman marriage registrar, a job hitherto reserved for men.
Fatima Saeed Obaid Al Awani became the first female marriage registrar in the UAE, according to a decision by Abu Dhabi Judiciary Department. Her appointment makes the UAE the second Arab country to have a female marriage registrar after Egypt, which appointed its first female registrar last month.
Many conservative clerics believe Sharia prohibits a woman from becoming a registrar because it states that the testimony of two women is equivalent to one man in court. 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 her signature on the contract does not violate Sharia.
The move to appoint Fatima is in line with instructions by Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, to engage women in major fields of the UAE's development.
Fatima graduated from the UAE University in the year 2000 with a Bachelors' Degree in Sharia and law, and has been in the judicial corps ever since. She thanked the UAE leadership for bestowing the trust upon her.