The Council of Europe has said Muslim couples getting married in the UK should be legally required to civilly register their union before or during the Islamic ceremony.
The organisation raised concerns about the role of sharia councils in family, inheritance and commercial law and called for obstacles stopping Muslim women from accessing justice to be removed.
British authorities were asked to increase measures to provide protection and assistance to those who are in a vulnerable position and run awareness campaigns which teach Muslim women about their rights.
The Council of Europe set a deadline of June 2020 for the UK to report back on reviewing the Marriage Act, which would make it a legal requirement for Muslim couples to undergo civil marriages – which is currently required for Christian and Jewish marriages.
Responding to the resolution, a Home Office spokesperson said, “Sharia law does not form any part of the law in England and Wales. Regardless of religious belief, we are all equal before the law. Where Sharia councils exist, they must abide by the law.
“Laws are in place to protect the rights of women and prevent discrimination, and we will work with the appropriate authorities to ensure these laws are being enforced fully and effectively.”