Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Muslim Marriages Bill

Muslim Marriages Bill to be adopted soon

Published in: Legalbrief Today
Date: Tue 24 March 2009
Category: Legislation
Issue No: 2281

Justice bosses are rushing through laws that will stop Muslim women from being treated as second-class citizens - only weeks after their failure to pass such laws saw legal action being launched against President Kgalema Motlanthe, says a Cape Times report.

The Department of Justice said yesterday that a Muslim Marriages Bill - which recognises marriages concluded according to Islamic rites - should be submitted to the Cabinet for approval this week. The Women's Legal Centre launched a Constitutional Court application against Motlanthe and justice and parliamentary heads last month, claiming they had failed to fulfil their 'obligations in relation to equality of women' by not passing legislation recognising marriages under Islamic rites. According to Women's Legal Centre chair, Shaamela Cassiem, the failure of government left women married under Islamic rites vulnerable because the status and custody of the children born from their marriages, their divorces and maintenance, fall outside SA law. The report notes that the centre argues that the state's failure to recognise marriages concluded in accordance with Islamic rites discriminates against Muslim women on the grounds of gender and religion.

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