Mexican-American actress Salma Hayek, who has Lebanese ancestry, threw her support behind Lebanese women who are currently unable to pass their nationality and children.
"I hope that the extraordinary Lebanese women and mothers have the possibility to pass their nationality to their children," Hayek said during a banquet at the Lebanese Center in Mexico City Sunday, according to Quién.com .
Legally, Lebanese women cannot pass on their nationality to foreign husbands. Children of Lebanese women whose fathers are not Lebanese also do not receive Lebanese nationality. Those who support the law argue that allowing women to pass on their nationality would upset the sectarian balance of the country because many Lebanese women are married to Palestinian Sunni men.
Activists have protested the sexist law for many years, pointing out the hardships countless women and families face because of it. The problem also rises when Lebanese women have a child without marrying. Even if the father is Lebanese, the child cannot receive citizenship unless the father legally recognizes the child, leaving many children stateless.
Hayek was attending the banquet to promote her animated feature "The Prophet" based on Lebanese author Kahlil Gibran's literary classic of the same name. In regards to the film and her heritage Hayek said, "I feel very proud to have Lebanese blood and perhaps this is the reason for which I decided to transform the book 'The Prophet' from the Lebanese author Kahlil Gibran into a film. The main character reminds me of my grandfather who died when I was 6-years-old, it is like my grandfather taught me things through him."
Last April, Hayek attended the premiere of the film in Beirut, marking her first visit to Lebanon. Following a press screening of the film prior to the premiere, Hayek criticized the sexist law. When asked what she would say to women who were unable to pass on Lebanese nationality to their husbands and children, she said she thought it was in fact the men who needed to be told something, not the women.