CAPE TOWN – A court in South Africa has ordered the government to recognize Muslim marriages, after long years of campaigning to protect Muslim women and children’s rights.
“The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) welcomes the decision of the Western Cape High Court in granting relief in the form of providing Muslim women and their children legal protections upon the dissolution of marriages,” the body said in a statement cited by Anadolu Agency.
The ruling, issued Friday by the Western Cape High Court, addressed the case filed by the Women’s Legal Center, which said it was aimed at providing Muslim women and their children with legal protection upon divorce.
Judge Siraji Desai ordered the government to introduce a legislation in this regard within the next 24 months.
Shaykh Riad Fataar, the council’s deputy president, described the judgment as a milestone for minority Muslims in South Africa.
“The significance of this judgment is that the President of the country has now been tasked to enforce the legislation,” he said.
“We would like to remind the President that he can make his mark in history by recognizing the Muslim community in their marriages – which is long overdue.”
The demographics of South Africa encompass about 52 million people of diverse origins, cultures, languages, and religions; Muslims comprise just over 1.5 percent of the population according to the CIA World Factbook.
The last census was held in 2011, the next one is slated to take place anywhere between 2016–2021.