Imams will become criminals in terms of the Muslim Marriages Bill approved by the cabinet

MUSLIM MARRIAGE BILL DIVISIVE

VOICE OF THE CAPE RADIO INTERVIEW: Mr Jamiel Wallace with Ganief Hendricks Wednesday 12 January 2011. 7H10.

“We can find some way  to have in place legislation that will give full legal consequences to Muslim marriages. There continues to be concerns about the Muslim Marriages Bill. The position of the AL JAMA-AH Political Party is that the answer is found in the  Superior Courts Bill and that the Muslim Marriages Bill must be scaled down to about 5 pages instead of the present 24 pages. so that it is merely a piece of enabling legislation and amends other laws which stands in the way of giving legal consequences to Muslim marriages like the Deeds Registry Act, Intestate Succession Act and  Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act. The amendments to these Acts is a simple line which says  “Marriage includes a Muslim marriage”. The Party has made a submission for a Muslim Bench in terms of the Superior Courts Bill which will be law early this year. This submission has the approval of the MJC and we have opinion from senior council that it has constitutional muster. There is interest from other political parties in the submission. We are going to invite them to a briefing to get their support as they will vote for or against any  proposal for a Muslim Bench. We have been asked by Imams, community leaders, organizations and Muslim  legal practioners and opinion leaders and members of the public  to brief them as well. This will all happen in the first week of February so everyone is welcome. We have been asked to give a briefing to members of the MJC and await their dates. We have also been invited by the controversial Ulema in Port Elizabeth to give them a briefing and Muslims in Katlehong wants a briefing. Of course all our branches in the 9 provinces will also be briefed. In the 2009 elections the principles of  our submission formed part of our Manifesto and nearly 30 000 Muslims voted in favour of it.  We will do our first  public briefing in a pre-khutba talk at the Dorp Street Mosque on 21 January 2011 insha – Allah. The cabinet has invited comments on the Muslim Marriages Bill and we will print our comments and it will be available to the public. It will also be online on our website. Comments on our submission by anyone will also be sent to the cabinet before the deadline.

CONCERNS ABOUT THE MUSLIM MARRIAGES BILL.
1. It makes members of the Ulema who fall foul of the Muslim Marriages Bill criminals even if their action is shariah complaint.
2. The cabinet has taken the administration and adjudication of disputes relating to Muslim Marriages out of the hands of the Muslim community and the Ulema.
3. It dabbles in ecclesiastical matters that is hardly the domain of a Parliament in a secular country.
4. The Bill will be divisive which is the plan of the enemies of Islam. Just like we have two Labarangs for Eid ul Adha we will have two forms of Muslim marriages.”

The deadline for comments is unofficially the 28 February 2011 and the Muslim community is urged to send their comments to the cabinet before they send it to parliament. The views of organizations are well known but more needs to be done to get the views of people on the ground.