Jordanian Fatwa Bans Pre-Marital Virginity Check

A religious Jordanian council has issued a fatwa banning male suitors from demanding virginity checks on girls who they planning to marry, media reports said Monday.

The Jordanian Council of Iftaa, the body in charge of issuing contemporary religious edicts, issued its ban to curb the growing trend of suitors asking for what is commonly known as the "hymen-check" because they suspect their brides-to-be.

At least 1,000 virginity tests are requested every year, Dr. Moemen al-Hadidi, chairman of the National Forensic Center (NFC), told Al Arabiya, adding "this is not a big number when compared to other countries in the world."

Before the ban, every man had the right to file a request that his future wife be examined to make sure she is a virgin.

The fatwa now regulates such tests and states that a virginity test can only be conducted if necessary and it should be based on an official request by the judicial authorities.

For some Jordanians the hymen-check is as an insult to women and their families while others argue that it is the man's right to request such an examination in light of the increasing liberalism in the Jordanian society.

Critics, mostly women's rights organizations, argue that men's chastity should be tested as well.

The rate of honor crimes in Jordan has remarkably risen and in most cases, a girl is killed based on a suspicion and there is usually no proof that she actually had sex outside marriage.