Muslim Marriage Contracts: Equality or PR Stunt?

Taqiyya is needed because Muslims in Britain have a problem: they must obey our laws. The Muslim wedding ceremony or nikah is not legally binding, and any attendant marriage contract must conform to English law. Sharia has no legal force except purely incidentally: if something is not illegal under English law, then Muslims can, like anyone else, contract to do it. Many Muslims -- 40% at the last poll -- would like to see Sharia established, or at least a parallel legal system for Muslims. Currently this is unacceptable to non-Muslims because the gap between Sharia law and English law is plain to see. But if Sharia is made to look like English law, by the simple device of inserting equality clauses in contracts, the plain may be obscured and the gap -- temporarily -- bridged. Once Sharia is established, any un-Islamic equality clauses will have served their purpose and can be struck out. The Koran would demand nothing less.

These "woman-friendly" marriage contracts go against the letter of Islamic law. More importantly, they go against the spirit of English law. For example, under this contract the husband "waives his right to polygamy." In England there should be no question of him "waiving" such a right. He has no such right. Bigamy is a criminal offense. Am I allowed to "waive" my "right" to steal a car?

We should be very suspicious of these contracts. They give Muslim women no better rights than they already have under English law, but by making Sharia seem acceptable, they are dangerous in the long term. And in the short term they encourage Muslim women who might otherwise leave Islam to stay in it.

Sharia emphatically does not give women equal rights in marriage. Muslims know this. A contract purporting to do so is just a means to an end: market dominance. Call it a loss leader.