UK Must Recognize Muslim Marriage Ceremonies


About 80 percent of marriages are not registered

A survey conducted by Channel 4, The Truth About Muslim Marriage, discovered that six out of 10 British Muslim women who went through a traditional Muslim wedding event, were not considered to be legally married. This deprives these women of protection and rights which comes with a civil marriage ceremony. The documentary footage shot along with the survey reveals that almost all Muslim women who married had nikah, the religious marriage ceremony. However, only 61 percent of the surveyed women did not go through another civil ceremony. The latter would ensure the marriage was legal as per UK law. The survey was spread over 14 British cities. A total of 923 women answered the questionnaire.

UK Must Recognize Muslim Marriage Ceremonies [/tweetthis]

The Channel 4 survey found about three-quarters of the respondents preferred that their marriages be recognized in British official documents and under all aspects of UK law. This is important as husbands in Nikah marriages can get an instant divorce through the process of 'triple talaq' communicated through phone or even social media.

It was found that a bigger share of young British Muslims opts for social, non-legal marriages than before. It is important that the British Government should judiciously cut through the furor which inevitably comes from right-wing groups and form a system to recognize such marriages. This view has support from Rowan Williams, ex-Archbishop of Canterbury. The latter unequivocally said that the legitimate requirements of the minority religious groups, like of Muslims, must be integrated with British legal system. This is extremely important as modern Britain in the 21st century is a cultural kaleidoscope. The country's unique legal system is a kind of glue holding all the varied cultures together. The secular law in progressively plural society not only protects but also embraces the diversity of modern-day Britain. It destroys any intention of marginalizing citizens who have multiple identities. These many identities need not be in conflict with each other. As per a number of opinion polls, 83 percent of UK Muslims feel proud to hold a British passport. This is four percent higher than the general population. It means Muslims are British as much as they can possibly be.

The Muslim Women's Council in Bradford reported that it received numerous calls from a number of women every day regarding their marriage rights. Bana Gora, who works in this council, said that nearly 50 percent of those calls are dialed by women who find themselves vulnerable in unregistered marriages.


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