Law doesn’t recognise thousands of Muslim ‘marriages’

Marriage|December 6th 2016

Thousands of Muslim women living in the UK are not legally married, even if they believe they are.

This is because many choose to have Islamic weddings which take place under Sharia law but such marriages are not recognised by English law. Government official Dame Louise Casey pointed this out in a report published this week about integration and extremism.

She wrote:

“[T]here are now up to 100,000 Sharia marriages in the UK, many of which are not recognised under UK laws and leave women without full legal rights upon divorce.”

Dame Louise also cited a report from the Muslim Women’s Network which said that around half of all the couples who go through the Birmingham Central Mosque Sharia Council in order to divorce are not legally married in the first place. Sharia councils provide advice for Muslims about matters such as family disputes and how they fit with Islamic teaching.

There is a “worryingly high” potential for Muslim women in this country to “find themselves in what they believe to be a binding commitment, be economically and socially dependent on their spouse, and yet have no legal marriage status” she insisted.

This report supports the claims of Aurat, a charity in the West Midlands which supports women who are the victims of ‘honour’ related abuse. In 2014, the organisation said Muslim wives are being left with no legal rights when they try to escape a religious marriage.

Dame Louise recommended that, regardless of religious affiliation, all marriages in the UK should be legally registered. It is also important that “women in 21st century Britain are better informed about their rights” especially when it comes to marriage and divorce, she said.

Read The Casey Review here.

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Comments(3)

  1. Andrew says:

    “Dame Casey recommended that, regardless of religious affiliation, all marriages in the UK should be legally registered.”
    .
    I hope she is not suggesting that “unofficial” marriages, not the subject of notice to the Registrar beforehand or of registration afterwards, should be recognised. That must not be. Notice requires both parties to say under criminal penalties that they are free to marry under English (or Scots or NI) law – that is among other things not married already. Registration provides the parties with a form of certificate which is familiar to British officialdom. The advantages of both are obvious.

  2. spinner says:

    This is the setup for bringing in a cohabitation law without consent.

    “Muslim wives are being left with no legal rights when they try to escape a religious marriage.” – Got the victim setup so if you argue against it you must be a bad person.

    At some point people have to take personal responsibility for their own lives. If they want to believe in a sky fairy that will protect them instead of taking an hour out of their time to go to a registry, that has to be their choice and they need to take personal responsibility for that choice.

  3. Andrew says:

    I should add that social workers do not help when they refer to a “cultural marriage” when they mean a nikah in a mosque (or other place in this jurisdiction) which is not a marriage at all.

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