Islamic clergy not happy with amendments to MMDA

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulma (ACJU), will meet Muslim MPs today to protest against the amendments to the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA).

ACJU official Ash Sheik Murshid Mullafar told The Island, last night, that they were yet to finalise their proposals. He, however, said the matter could be sorted out through talks with the Mulsim MPs.

Former Western Province Governor Azath Salley told The Island that he had taken up the matter with the Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale and requested her not proceed with the amendments without recommendations by the Islamic clergy.

Most of the Ulemas and Mosque authorities had criticised the MPs’ move to amend the laws without the consent of the clergy.

On Thursday, MPs handed the recommendations to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The proposed amendments to the MMDA werehanded over to Justice Minister Thalatha Atukorale, on Monday. MP A. H.M. Fowzie said that among the 11-points was a proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 for both males and females.

Fowzie said those amendments were expected to resolve issues concerning the legal age for marriage, as established by the Act. The proposed amendments would be submitted to Parliament after obtaining Cabinet approval, he added.

During the discussion, it was agreed that some sections of MMDA needed to be amended. The proposed reforms submitted by Muslim parliamentarians comprise 11 amendments to the Act, including the legal age for a Muslim marriage.

The other reforms include the requirement for the brid to sign the Register of Marriage as a sign of her consent, upgrading the required qualification of a Quazi to be an Attorney-at-Law and permitting the appointment of female Quazis (women who will adjudicate in family matters).

By Ifham Nizam

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