Court orders South Africa to recognize Muslim marriages

Muslims greet each other after the Eid-Gah, the prayer on the morning of the Eid Al-Fitr celebration which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Rasooli Masjid in Pretoria, on June 15, 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 31 August 2018
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Court orders South Africa to recognize Muslim marriages

  • A court in South Africa ordered the government to change the law to formally recognize Muslim marriage
  • Under the country’s common law system, Muslim marriages are not recognized

JOHANNESBURG: A court in South Africa ordered the government on Friday to change the law to formally recognize Muslim marriage for the first time to avoid being in breach of the constitution.
Under the country’s common law system, Muslim marriages are not recognized limiting the options of Muslim women to seek legal recourse in the event of divorce.
The Western Cape High Court ordered that “legislation to recognize marriages solemnized in accordance with the tenets of Sharia law (Muslim marriages) as valid marriages.”
“The president and cabinet together with parliament are directed to rectify the failure within 24 months of the date of this order,” judge Siraj Desai said.
The case was brought by the Women’s Legal Center (WLC) which argued that women entering into Islamic marriages did not benefit from the same rights and legal protection as those in civil or customary unions — especially in cases of divorce.
It claimed Muslim women entering into Islamic marriages were often left without access to property and money in cases of marital breakdown.
“Muslim women can now enjoy legal protections that are afforded to people that get married under the Marriages Act, legal protection that Muslim women have not had,” said WLC lawyer Charlene May.
“The judgment has the potential to impact on thousands of women in the country who practice and live their faith and who are walking around without protection.”
Roughly 1.5 percent of South Africa’s 55 million people are Muslim.


Pakistani activist known for criticism killed in Islamabad

Updated 13 min 40 sec ago
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Pakistani activist known for criticism killed in Islamabad

  • Local police say online activist Mohammad Bilal Khan was killed Sunday night
  • In addition to his activism, Khan was a freelance journalist

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police say an activist known for his online criticism of the country’s military and politicians has been killed by unknown assailants in a wooded area of the capital, Islamabad.
Local police official Ayaz Khan says Mohammad Bilal Khan was killed Sunday night, drawing condemnation from his friends on social media.
Police said Monday that an unknown person called the activist to come to the Karachi Company neighborhood, where he and his cousin were attacked with daggers.
The cousin was in critical condition.
In addition to his activism, Khan was a freelance journalist.
The attack took place hours after Khan bluntly criticized the newly appointed spy chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, who had previously worked as the head of internal security at Pakistan’s intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence.