Inside Britain’s sharia councils: hardline and anti-women – or a dignified way to divorce?

Source: The Guardian

Sharia councils say they offer Muslim women a way out of religious marriage but critics argue this parallel legal system can leave vulnerable people trapped in abuse. Here is a rare look behind the scenes

‘The Islamic fundamental of marriage is that a woman should feel safe’… Dr Amra Bone (left) hears a divorce request at Birmingham Central Mosque.
‘The Islamic fundamental of marriage is that a woman should feel safe’… Dr Amra Bone (left) hears a divorce request at Birmingham Central mosque. Photograph: i-Images

On a freezing, rainswept Sunday in a conference room in Birmingham Central mosque, a young woman in a black padded jacket is crying quietly. Her name is Zaynab and as she lifts up her glasses to rub at her eyes, one of the three religious scholars sitting opposite her starts to speak.

“The panel is in agreement, this marriage is to be dissolved today, Zaynab,” says Dr Amra Bone, one of the only female sharia council judges in the country. “It doesn’t have the ingredients of an Islamic marriage; there is no love, trust, compassion or respect. You have an iddah [waiting] period of three menstrual cycles and you are then free to marry again.”

As Zaynab collects her paperwork, Bone’s colleague, Shaykh Talha Bukhari, an elderly man with a white beard, turns to me. “Marriage is not for shedding tears,” he says quietly, “but here they are rolling down.”

Read more

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.