Thursday, December 30, 2004

Muslim second wives in Britain

The British Inland Revenue is considering recognizing the polygamous practices of some religious groups for tax purposes:

Officials have agreed to examine “family friendly” representations from Muslims who take up to four wives under sharia, the laws derived from the Koran.

Existing rules allow only one wife for inheritance tax purposes. The Revenue has been asked to relax this so that a husband’s estate can be divided tax-free between several wives.

The move is bound to create controversy if it leads to a change in the rules. It is seen as a breakthrough by Muslim leaders who have been campaigning to incorporate sharia into British domestic law.

There is a possibility that such legal changes could lead to the legalization of plural marriages in Britain:

Any concession by the Revenue could open a wider debate about the legality of plural marriages. At present a person married to more than one people can be charged with bigamy.

Muslim marriages to second, third and fourth wives are not valid in civil law, with the women effectively regarded as mistresses with no legal or tax rights.

However, some official bodies have already pointed out that tax laws are unfavourable to religious groups that recognise more than one spouse.

The National Audit Office (NAO) recently concluded that the tax system inadvertently penalised devout Muslims. An NAO inquiry into inheritance laws found that devout Muslims were not able to take full advantage of British tax law, which allows spouses to inherit an entire estate from their husband or wife tax free.

Other legal changes may be made to appease minorities:

Sadiq Khan, a leading Muslim politician, said: “I am pleased to see the Inland Revenue applying common sense to the application of Islamic law on uncontroversial matters such as inheritance.

“There are some other uncontroversial areas of Islam law which could easily be applied to the legal system we have in the UK.”

He insisted there was no question of pressing for the introduction of sharia’s criminal code “where people are flogged or have their hands chopped off”. He said: “This is not the thin edge of the wedge.”

The NAO also points out that Jews who follow the traditional code of halakah are similarly penalised because it requires estates to be passed through the male line.

2 Comments:

At 5:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the fuck do you know about Britain?

You seem keen to espouse your supposedly intellectual views: thereby hoping to hide the fact that you are dirty racist scum.

And a fucking Yank at that.

And - before you ask - I am British, white and, I hope, considerably more intellectually balanced than you'll ever be.

As I said, you know fuck all about Britain.

Or much else, either, so it would seem.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger Adam Lawson said...

What the fuck do you know about Britain?

Just what I get from your country's newspapers. Why? Has the article misrepresented Britain in some way?

 

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