Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi sings the national anthem after making a speech in Tunis on May 10, 2017. AP Photo/Hassene Dridi

Tunisia lifts ban on Muslim women marrying non-Muslims

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) —  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 (Sept. 15) 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 Shariah, the system of Islamic law on which the Tunisian legal system is based.

READ: Tunisian women's rights plan rattle Muslim traditionalist

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.