The ‘Register our marriage’ campaign, founded by Aina Khan aims to highlight the importance of registering a Muslim marriage in England. Contrary to belief within Muslim communities in England, Muslim marriages that take place in England are not recognised as a valid marriage under the laws of England and Wales, unless they are registered in England.
The Marriage Act 1949 currently requires only Church of England, Jewish and Quaker marriages to be registered. Other faiths can choose whether to register their marriages. In most Muslim countries, there are sanctions and penalties for a Celebrant who carries out a Muslim marriage without registering it. It is an anomaly that in England, those conducting Muslim marriages are not legally required to register them.
Aina Khan’s research has shown surprising results that:
90% of Mosques in England are not registering Muslim marriages under civil law
80% of young Muslim marriages are not registered
An unregistered Muslim marriage in England, is not recognised in England as a valid civil marriage – this means that couples ‘married’ in this way have no rights under English law as husband and wife. They cannot divorce through the English courts, and cannot make financial claims on divorce. They cannot make claims against their ‘spouse’s’ pension or inheritance claims on the death of their ‘spouse’.
Muslim marriage in England: Change is needed
Aina Khan is calling for a much needed change to legislation to ensure that all religious marriages in England must be registered (making them valid as a recognised marriage under English law). Aina is also spreading the message through Muslim communities to persuade Muslim women to register their religious marriages, to ensure they have legal rights as a married couple under English law.
Read more about this much needed campaign at https://www.facebook.com/groups/register.our.marriage, listen to Aina Khan’s interview on Radio 4: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07clktf#play, or read this online interview from The Upcoming.