New Syaria Law Marriage Contract Gives Muslim Women Equal Rights In Britain
Currently Muslims in Britain have an Islamic ceremony called a nikah (a non register office marriage) which, although it is guaranteed under Sharia law, is not legally binding and does not provide a woman with written proof of the marriage and of the terms and conditions agreed between the spouses.
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Director of the Muslim Institute and author of the contract, told The Daily Telegraph: "It will challenge various sharia councils who don't believe in gender equality but the world has changed and Islamic law has to be renegotiated."
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, was criticised earlier this year when he called for greater recognition of Sharia in British civil legislature, a view that was echoed recently by the Lord Chief Justice Phillips.
Ann Cryer, a Labour MP who has campaigned for the rights of Muslim women, welcomed today's change, saying: "This document has been carefully researched over a four year period and I feel confident in recommending its findings to women (and men) of the Muslim Faith contemplating Marriage."
In cases of divorces, the absence of such proof, has meant that many Muslim women have been denied financial rights.
The new Muslim marriage contract does not require a 'marriage guardian' (wali) for the bride, and also makes delegation of the right of divorce to the wife (talaq-i-tafweeed) automatic.
This right does not affect the husband's right of talaq but enables the wife to initiate divorce and retain all her financial rights agreed in the marriage contract. These provisions reflect a recognition of changes in the Muslim world, including women's greater public roles, educational achievements and financial autonomy.
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***** Indeed this may be considered as a great act of reform for some but for others it could be the thin end of the wedge. If such proposals were to be made in Malaysia what are the chances that some terminally backward, medieval-minded chauvinistic nitwit in Umno could be screaming, "DON'T PLAY WITH FIRE"!