Bolton: Women married under Sharia discover they're not legally married

.. and therefore are not legally protected by law.


HUNDREDS of Muslim women in Bolton married in a mosque or at prestigious venues like the Reebok may not actually be married.

Marital law expert Mr Nick Lewis of Bolton solicitors KBL said that he had been consulted "on a number of occasions" by Muslim women who had come about a divorce. "But," he stated, "they have been distressed to find that they have not been married at all."

Mr Lewis explained that in many cases the ceremony was conducted by an Imam (holy man) either in a mosque or elsewhere, in a traditional ceremony. The couple then signed a register which would have been kept at the mosque.

He said: "Unfortunately, the simple fact is that, unless the venue is registered for the solemnisation of marriage and the person conducting the ceremony is authorised under Civil Law to do so, there is no legal marriage. There must be a separate civil ceremony."

This meant that, for many women who had thought they were married "the upsetting truth is that they have been deprived of the protection given to them and their children by virtue of being married".

Mr Lewis added: "In these circumstances, they are not entitled to maintenance for themselves, and the court cannot make orders -- save in exceptional circumstances - in respect of any property owned by them."

He stated that the problem had been "bubbling under for several years without any successful resolution to it." Mosques had been encouraged to become registered but, said Mr Lewis, "few have done so".

Source: Asian Image (English)

See also: UK: Shari`ah–Compliant Marriages, Effective Integration of British Muslims, UK: Muslims welcome 'civil' Sharia, UK: Why Sharia is better, Denmark: Woman trapped in marriage

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