Myriam François presents the results of a ground-breaking Channel 4 survey, which reveals that many Muslim women in Britain are unaware that their religious marriages are not recognised in British law, so they don’t have the same rights and protections afforded to couples in a legally recognised marriage. Myriam talks to women who – like her – had a nikah religious ceremony without having a civil ceremony as well.
Without this legal protection, women are unable, in the event of a divorce, to go to the Family Court where the judge would then have looked as a starting point at dividing their assets 50/50 depending on the needs of the couple and their children. Instead, if they cannot agree between themselves, couples who are not in a legally recognised marriage have to apply to the civil court for assets to be divided fairly, which can be time-consuming and costly. The programme also looks at why some women may prefer not to have a civil ceremony; and explores attitudes to polygamy. And it hears from academics, lawyers, imams and a group of Muslim women campaigning to update the marriage law to reflect multicultural and multi-faith Britain.
Presenter: Myriam François
Dir: Anna Hall
Exec Prod: Brian Woods
Prod Co: True Vision Aire
The Truth About Muslim Marriage airs Wednesday 21 November 2017 from 10.00pm-11.05pm on Channel 4.