Friday, July 27, 2012

UK Muslim Doctor Loses Shariah Law Divorce Settlement Fight

Rheumatologist Dr Zaid al-Saffar thought he could get away without paying his wife alimony (or maintenance as they call it in the U.K.) because he's Muslim, but a British judge told him, sorry we go by Uk laws not Shariah law. Lord Justice Ward informed Saffar that:

‘The rule in this country is that you share and the starting point is equal division.

“You came out of the marriage without having made your wife any substantial capital payment.”

“Life is sometimes hard; do not be consumed with bitterness.”

Divorce can be nasty, but his last statement is very good advice for anyone going through a divorce, regardless of religious affiliation- not that it's easy if your ex is insufferable. But that's the way it goes.

After the verdict, Saffar was quoted by The Daily Mail as saying:

“Family law in this country is biased against Muslim people."

No, it's just that the law is the law, and England is not an Islamic state, at least not yet.

Saffar will have to pay his ex-wife, Hanan al-Saffar £60,000 ($94,249). I'm not sure if that's a one time payment,back payment, and/or whether he will have to pay monthly or yearly  maintenance. There's no mention where they were married, but apparently it was a traditional Muslim wedding where Saffar had to pay a gift to his bride, like a dowry. Because of this,  Saffar thought he had no post-divorce financial obligations, in spite of the fact that he has two children from the 8 year marriage.

“Dr. Al-Saffar also assumed he had no obligation to make maintenance payments, and that, following Islamic practice, his former wife’s family would support her."

Representing himself, the doctor told the court: “I’m hard working. I pay my taxes and look after my community. I have nothing but respect for the court’s order, but I only stopped paying because all her family were telling me she’s got millions. She doesn't need it.”

After the case, Saffar told the Daily Mail: “By playing the system and pretending to be a victim she got everything, which I think is totally unfair.

Perhaps unfair, but it happens all the time, and with non-Muslim families.  But when you live in a foreign country, you follow the laws of the land.

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