Islamic Terrorism in India

Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims

More Indian Muslim men divorce via SMS, email

Posted by jagoindia on February 15, 2009


“From 15 divorces that we looked at in 2008, eight were pronounced via SMS, email and over the phone,’ said Ms Husssain. “Five divorce declarations were given face to face but amongst these also, only in one case a witness present when the declaration was made,” she said.

More Muslim men divorce via SMS, email
Friday, 13 February 2009

By Rashme Sehgal, New Delhi

Feb. 12: Despite the All-India Muslim Women Personal Law Board’s (AIMWPLB) diktat barring men from declaring talaq (divorce) by SMS, email or over the phone, the medium seems to have become the most popular modus operandi by which Muslim men are divorcing women.

A study on “Marriage and divorce amongst Muslim women in India”, undertaken by Ms Sahiba Hussain, reader, Centre for Dalit and Minorities, Jamia Milia Islamia, highlights that more and more men are giving talaq via SMS and email.

Where women do not have access to mobile phones or computers, men use landline phones to pronounce the divorce declaration.

“From 15 divorces that we looked at in 2008, eight were pronounced via SMS, email and over the phone,’ said Ms Husssain. “Five divorce declarations were given face to face but amongst these also, only in one case a witness present when the declaration was made,” she said.

Most of the SMS’ and emails had husbands complaining along predictable lines. They did not find the wife “beautiful enough”, “compatible enough” or of having brought “adequate dowry”.

Dowry demands are on the rise and the minimum cash being given by the wife’s family to the bridegroom is Rs 5,000. Even those families which earn are as little as Rs 10 per day are expected to fork out a dowry.

“One woman was so confused after receiving the SMS that she sought clarification from the qazi who, on reading the pronouncement, said that it did amount to a talaq. The husband was working abroad when he sent it,” Ms Hussain said.

Over 30 women have been interviewed so far from Delhi and several other cities in Bihar including Darbanga, Madhubani, Munghyar and Gaya in Bihar. The idea was to include feedback from women living in both urban and rural India. Only one women received a registered notice. In 90 per cent of the cases it was found that women had to wait, sometimes as long as 27 years, just to recover her meher, with husbands giving assurance that the “meher would be given to the woman at an appropriate time”.

For those women who had sought “khulla” to opt out of the relationship, invariably informed by the bridegroom’s family that they cannot demand meher, maintenance and cannot approach a civil court to get their marriage annulled under Section 498A IPC.

With qazis not being in a position to ensure bridegrooms pay the maintenance, a majority of Muslim women seek maintenance through civil courts, the study concludes. Women divorcees belong to the lowest rung of the social bracket of the Muslim society.

The report cites the example of one such divorced woman who faces much social stigma that “till today, her younger two sisters have remained unmarried”, said Ms Hussain. Only one divorced woman with a six-month old child was able to remarry and that too to a widower. It is for this reason that the majority of Muslim women treat the model nikahnama (divorce declaration) issued by the AIWMPLB, stressing a wife’s legitimate rights as granted by the Sharia, with scepticism. Shaista Amber, chief of the AIWMPLB who helped frame the new nikahnama strictly in accordance with the tenets of Islam, said, “It clearly prohibits any kind of harassment or oppression of a married woman by her husband or any member of his family.”

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