ARTICLE: The Urgent Need for Sri Lankan Muslim Marriage Law Reform

Published in the Sunday Leader in December 2011 

Zainab* was a woman stuck in an abusive marriage. When she couldn’t take it anymore, she decided to divorce her husband, and, as per the law governing Muslims in Sri Lanka, Zainab approached a Qazi (a judge ruling in accordance with Islamic law) with her problems.
In what came as a complete shock to her, the Qazi did not give her a fair hearing. At first, he even told her to return to her husband, and simply refused to give her a divorce, despite the fact that her husband had been assaulting her on a daily basis. Several months later, although Zainab was finally able to obtain her divorce from the Qazi Court, it was not until she had had to endure much physical and mental strain.
Although not all Qazis necessarily deal with cases the same way, and although not all Sri Lankan Muslim women who apply for divorce go through the same dilemma as Zainab, there have been several issues raised over the years, indicating an injustice towards women, when this does not have to be the case.

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