Netherlands: Digital divorces

Netherlands: Digital divorces

At least two Muslim men in the Netherlands have terminated their marriages via digital technology, according to an Islamic scholar who spoke to Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

Shaikh Amer, a lecturer in Sharia Studies at Rotterdam's Islamic University, said he knew of one man who divorced via e-mail and one who sent a message via MSN. SMS text messaging is also used.

An orthodox Muslim man can repudiate his wife by saying the word "talaq" three times, usually in direct conversation with her, or in a written letter. Shi'ite men who want to divorce, however, need to supply two witness accounts of infidelity, in addition to saying the word. Under Islamic law, divorce is not legal until confirmed by a judge or an imam.

Critical Islamic scholars doubt whether the use of electronic media is secure enough. There is a considerable risk of fraud, they say. Shaikh Amer is not concerned that use of the new media will increase the number of divorces; there is still a social stigma attached to divorce, he said, pointing to the importance attached by sharia law to family life.

Source: RNW (English)

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