Ms .45's mp3/bureaucratic/gaming blog.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sharia - it's not all about getting stoned

This Guardian article about divorce and British Muslims is a good introduction to the breadth of sharia law. It is mostly focused on the tensions between civil and religious marriage, but also gives a glimpse into other issues such as halal food and financial interest.

One slightly upsetting aspect is not with sharia at all, but with British civil law -

...the British courts do not recognise Islamic ceremonies carried out in this country unless they are registered separately with the civil authorities. The result is that some Muslims think they are protected by family law when they are not, and others think they are properly divorced when, in fact, they are still married. In one case, Luton police contacted WLUML [Women Living Under Muslim Laws] after pursuing a man for bigamy who had married in Luton, then flown to Pakistan and married again. After looking into the case, they found that the first marriage was invalid as it had been conducted by an imam in an unregistered mosque. His first wife was left with no legal protection by the family courts, and the husband was free to bring his second wife back to Britain as his legal spouse.

In Australia, the first wife would be protected by the fact that she had been living in a "marriage-like relationship". She would be able to leave the marriage and claim her property and child maintenance. I can't believe that in the early 21st century, Britain doesn't recognise common-law marriage!

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I'd been living in the UK for two years before I discovered common law marriage wasn't recognised here. As half my Year 10 Legal Studies course involved the 1984 NSW Act recognising de facto marriage, it scared the shit out of me. (I got married three months later.) By the way, thanks for all the little snippets of weird Ozmusic you keep uploading! Please note that whatever you choose to share invariably gets crammed in with the output of and plays eternally on my MP3 player somewhere in Sussex.