(HH here: Here we have the whole spectrum of players; Western pols seeking to appease, Muslim activists seeking to blend sharia into Western society, Muslims who do NOT want sharia in Western society, pols who do NOT want to compromise equality under the law and finally Muslims who do not allow any dilution of sharia at all. WHEW, you need a program to keep track of the players.
New model Muslim marriage contract ‘revolutionary’ for UK women
‘Shariah Law by the back door’ says barrister
(HH again: Someone fire this reporter! The headline is clear, concise, non-sensational and actually reflects the content of the article! Obviously a subversive character!)
8 August 2008
Experts are divided about the impact of a proposed new Muslim marriage contract being launched today (Friday) in London with the backing of Ann Cryer MP, that would, claims one, give recognition to shariah law.
The new contract, drafted by the Muslim Institute, launching at the City Circle, would provide women with written proof of their marriage under Islamic law. It would also outlaw polygamy in the UK.
But discrimination barrier Neil Addison says it would mean shariah law by the back door.
‘With government members approving it, it gives pseudo-legitimacy to Islamic marriage and to shariah by the back door, without giving any real reason why this contract is necessary and what’s wrong with civil marriage.’
Up to now, Muslims, alone among all religious groups, do not register their religious buildings in order to perform marriages that conform to English law. The new contract encourages registration.
(HH here: In my opinion they need to have a law that requires ANY group claiming to create an enforceable marriage “contract” to conform to secular law and register. In the U.S. even a Pagan Priestess has to have an o.k. from the secretary of state to perform legal marriages. Can ANY bloke in England say two people are married under whatever terms they like?)
The nikah is not recognized by the British courts and shari’ah interpretation has up to now been discriminatory.
As a result, Muslim women who face talaq – Muslim divorce – have no financial redress and become outcast, suffering loss of honour, status and social and financial support.
(HH: So, as I read this a Muslim marriage does not exist under British law? BY the choice of the Muslims no less!! By not registering it is the Imams that keep the British courts out of their marriages. This contract provides a tiny back window for a tough, determined woman to attack discrimination via courts, but it opens an enormous front door to abuse of women in divorce due to legalizing the inequities of the Muslim marriage contract. Given the predilection of hardliner Muslims to resort to beatings and even killings to control “rebellious” women legitimizing the inequalities, human and financial, of a Muslim marriage would bring on more abuse than reform. Why can’t all Muslims conform to the law in marriage like every other religious group in the West?)
Dr Ida Glaser, a Director of the Centre for Muslim Christian Studies, and an expert on women’s issues, told Lapido Media: ‘It can be an unbelievable nightmare, so what is proposed is absolutely revolutionary.
‘It’s advocating recognition of the woman’s role in marriage both in English and Islamic law. It’s a very, very egalitarian interpretation of Islamic law. It’s not outside of Islamic law, but it’s a much more modern interpretation of Islamic law and one to be greatly encouraged.’
(HH: It fair because it enshrines in British law the inequalities forced on a Muslim woman in marriage? Sure it allows her to enforce those inequalities for the first time instead of allow new ones to be piled on by a male oriented divorce “court” but it enshrines the inequalities that already exist!!)
MP Ann Cryer has also endorsed the contract, describing it as ‘an excellent piece of work’.
She said: ‘I feel confident in recommending its findings to women (and men) of the Muslim faith contemplating marriage. The advice contained will, I am sure, help thousands of young people.’
(HH again: Yes Ann, you think it is just fine for the Muslims, but do you think it is good enough for all British citizens? Do yo cooperate in keeping them separate because YOU want them separate as much as the radical Imams? Is this a “gentle racism” in operation here?)
The contract is the work of Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Founder Director of the south London-based Muslim Institute, who since 1994 has been working to persuade leading Muslims in Britain including the Muslim Council of Britain and others to reform the written contract that forms the basis of the nikah.
He said: ‘Now they are realizing the need for this. I think partly they were living in their own ghettoes.
‘Many young people thought marriage through an imam was acceptable. Now if the marriage breaks down, it is only then that the woman realizes she has lost everything.’
(HH: I don’t think this man is working for nefarious goals but he IS infected with the notion that British law should conform to Islam at least as much as Islam should conform to British law. What we need is a secular set of limits and rights in marriage with which all faiths and non-faiths need comply.)
The reforms in the contract include:
removing the requirement for a ‘marriage guardian’ (wali) for the bride, who, as an adult, can make up her own mind about whom to marry.
enabling the wife to initiate divorce and retain all her financial rights agreed in the marriage contract.
(HH: THIS is the major weasel worded part. IT does not spell out the financial rights and their basic inequality.)
forbidding polygamy whether formally or informally in the UK or abroad
encouraging mosques to register to perform marriages
Dr Siddiqui said the contract would bring Muslim marriages in Britain into line with positive developments in Muslim family law ‘across the Muslim world.’ It did not however have the support of the salafist UK Islamic Shari’ah Council – or Muslims who are against shariah recognition of any kind.
(HH: which is why it won’t work. If the government tries to force all marrying Imams to use it they will rebel because the government is trying to limit ONE religion’s marriages. They need to establish a secular boundary for ALL religious marriages. Legitimizing the religious laws of one sect and allowing them to have the force of law is not in the tradition of Western freedoms. The last 400 years have been a steady progress away from such laws. Why now suddenly reverse a course that has proved quite successful?)
Other British lawyers were sceptical about the contract. Discrimination lawyer, Neil Addison author of Religious Discrimination and Hatred Law described it as ‘an encouragement to illegality.’
‘Though I can see that the intention behind this contract is good, it continues the unfortunate trend of separating Muslims from the general community in Britain. Which is the goal of those promoting it, on all sides.
‘The Contract will still permit Imams to perform Muslim Marriage ceremonies when the couple are not married in accordance with British Law; indeed the existence of such a ‘model’ contract endorsed, as this is, by lawyers and MPs gives the seal of approval for the continuation of marriage ceremonies which have no legal legitimacy under British law.
‘It is in fact an encouragement to illegality.’
He said Jews, Catholics, Sikhs, Hindus and Quakers all carried out marriage ceremonies in accordance with British law either by insisting that the couple had a civil ceremony before the religious ceremony, or by registering for marriages and incorporating the legal requirements for marriage into the religious ceremony.
‘Muslim organisations are the only religious group encouraging their members to ignore the British law of marriage, and that is harmful to Muslims because it deprives them of their legal rights under British law.
He added there was nothing in civil marriage that was contrary to Islam.
(HH: Actually this is not true, the civil contract is supposed to over-ride any religious contracts or legal authority. Conservative Islam holds that no man-made law can over ride a law of Allah.)