New Publication: Interfaith Marriages and Muslim Communities in Scotland

Interfaith Marriages and Muslim Communities in Scotland: A Hybrid Legal Solution?

Legal provisions on interfaith marriages offer a privileged observation point on the interaction of different legal systems in a context of migrations, minorities, and law and religion. Even within the Muslim communities in Scotland, predominantly South Asian, multiple and fluid identities compete and seek different arrangements within a legal system that refuses to consider elements of Islamic law as law, or relevant to law. Impediments to marriage by disparity of faith can be a good case in point, and open up the debate on the boundaries of competing definitions of law.

This paper explores the adaptation and transmigration of Islamic regulations on interfaith marriages among the Muslim communities in Scotland. Islamic impediments to marriage by disparity of faith have somehow guaranteed the religious endogamic principle in Muslim-majority contexts; what happens when borders are crossed and South Asian communities find themselves in a Scottish context?

In order to follow this adaptation and transmigration, we need to embark on a journey through time and space. I suggest to depart from the single rule on interfaith marriages produced by modernity (I), follow a leisurely meander along the modern/classical divide (II), tour the welcoming highlands of Scots law (III), and observe how our modern rule has taken root in quite a distinct environment (IV), before landing with some super-hybrid final considerations (V).

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Stephanie Rüst