Channel 4 commissions The Truth About Muslim Marriage (w/t)
Channel 4 has commissioned a documentary from producer True Vision Aire, which examines whether Britain’s centuries old marriage laws need to be updated to reflect and better serve today’s multicultural, multi-faith country.
In The Truth About Muslim Marriage (w/t, 1x60’), Dr 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.
Director Anna Hall says: “This is the first time anyone has done this type of in-depth research into British Muslim women’s attitudes and experiences of religious marriages which has produced some really interesting and valuable new insights to help inform debate whether our unreformed marriage laws need updating to reflect the country as it is today, rather than as it was two hundred years ago.”
The Truth About Muslim Marriage is directed by Anna Hall, executive produced by Brian Woods for True Vision Aire and was commissioned by Channel 4 Head of News and Current Affairs Dorothy Byrne.