Sharia Law is the religious law forming part of the Islamic tradition.
An independent review into the application of Sharia law in England and Wales has been undertaken. The review makes recommendations, which include a legal requirement to civilly register marriages and to increase awareness campaigns and educational programmes for both women and sharia councils.
The recommendation of a legislative change would ensure that civil marriages are conducted before or at the same time as the Islamic marriage. This would provide a greater level of protection to Muslim couples under the law. Although Muslim divorces are often dealt with under Sharia law solely meaning that the divorce is dealt with in a different way to other divorces in this jurisdiction, perhaps most importantly not providing the level of financial protection. Another recommendation is to introduce awareness campaigns and educational programmes to ‘educate and inform women of their rights and responsibilities, including the legal protection that civilly-registered marriages provide’. Finally, the review proposes the ‘the creation of a body by the state with a code of practice for sharia councils to accept and implement’. However, the review rejects the possibility of self-regulation, as there is a Sunni tradition that states ‘each Mosque is an independent body not susceptible to the authority of any other mosque or council’.
The Home Office said it would carefully consider the review’s findings and other recommendations.
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