I can see what the Judge is getting at here, and on one level I am glad that the 'husband' was not allowed to use sharia law to keep his greedy hands on all the family assets. But any recognition of nikah/sharia 'marriages' in English law is anathema to me. I would rather couples in such a contract be regarded the same as trendy co-habiting couples, and their property divided accordingly. Rather than trying to incorporate sharia law into the English Common law I would rather see a campaign to tell Muslims that their 'marriages' are not recognised in England. That they are not wives, they are mistresses, their children are illegitimate and they are, in the old phrase, no better than they ought to be. That would be also criticising the thousands of English women who live with their men out of wedlock (I'm showing my age, and my prejudices here!) so it won't happen. Just as I believe that tweaking the marriage laws to call homosexual civil partnerships 'marriage' was not for the benefit of homosexual couples but a first step to eventually legalise polygamy, so I do wonder if the policy that informal co-habitations were not discouraged (diversity, don't you know) was not just to destabilise western society, but to deflect criticism of sharia nikah contracts.
Yesterday the Guardian had one of the better reports on the release of Tommy Robinson; today they have one of the better reports on this ruling.
A high court judge has decided that a couple’s Islamic marriage falls within the scope of English matrimonial law, in a ruling that could have implications for thousands of Muslims in the UK.
Nasreen Akhter wanted to divorce Mohammed Shabaz Khan, her husband of 20 years, but he blocked it, arguing that the couple were not married under English law.
Akhter and Khan underwent a religious marriage ceremony, known as a nikah, conducted by an imam in 1998.
This year Akhter, a solicitor, petitioned for divorce, saying the nikah constituted a valid marriage. Khan, a businessman, wanted to prevent Akhtar from bringing a case for a divorce settlement to court, and said they were married only under sharia or Islamic law.
In a written ruling, Mr Justice Williams, who heard the case in the family division of the high court in London, concluded that the marriage fell within the scope of the 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act.
He said the marriage was void under section 11 of the act because it was “entered into in disregard of certain requirements as to the formation of marriage. It is therefore a void marriage and the wife is entitled to a decree of nullity.”
Previous cases involving nikah marriages have concluded that they were legally non-existent, meaning spouses had no redress to the courts for a division of matrimonial assets such as the family home and spouse’s pension if a marriage broke down.
A survey last November found that nearly all married Muslim women in the UK had had a nikah and almost two-thirds had not had a separate civil ceremony.
Aina Khan, a specialist in Islamic law, said last year: “My experience of 25 years as a lawyer specialising in Islamic marriage and divorce is that this is not only a major problem but a growing problem. My anecdotal evidence suggests that in the last five years the proportion of people under 40 having nikah-only marriages is as high as 80%.” Their arrogance that English law will recognise their Muslim customs is breathtaking.
Monumental tectonic shift! // This ruling will be taken as a break in the decades-long hudna and an explicit attack on Shariah validity and Islam's supremacy. Prepare for the Muslim response: rhetoric, rage, violence. Observe the activism among Muslim women -- will they reject being scorned for 1400 years or will they organize for liberty? // Continuing sufferance or women's suffrage for freedom?
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