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Earlier this summer, the High Court ruled that the nikah of Nasreen Akhter and Mohammed Shabaz Khan fell within the scope of the 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act, and therefore that Akhter was entitled to a divorce settlement. Detailed analysis of the case and the ruling raises questions about the status of religious law in UK courts, whether there is a need to reform existing marriage laws, and about the protection of women in non-legally recognised marriages.
A recent ruling by the high court that a couple’s Islamic marriage falls within the scope of the 1973 Matrimonial Causes Act could have significant implications for thousands of Muslims in the UK amid an ongoing debate concerning the relationship between UK marriage law and religious ceremonies.
The recently published independent review was set up to examine the manner in which Sharia law was being applied in conjunction with UK law, and in particular, whether it is facilitating discriminatory practices against women.
The Truth about Muslim Marriage surveyed married Muslim women in the UK and discusses how some religious marriage ceremonies, such as the Islamic niqah are not recognised under UK law.