Contemporary European societies are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural, certainly in terms of the diversity which has stemmed from the immigration of workers and refugees and their settlement. Currently, however, there is widespread, often acrimonious, debate about ’other’ cultural and religious beliefs and practices and limits to their accommodation. This book focuses principally on Muslim families and on the way in which gender relations and associated questions of (women’s) agency, consent and autonomy, have become the focus of political and social commentary, with followers of the religion under constant public scrutiny and criticism. Practices concerning marriage and divorce are especially controversial and the book includes a detailed overview of the public debate about the application of Islamic legal and ethical norms (shari’a) in family law matters, and the associated role of Shari’a councils, in a British context. In short, Islam generally and the Muslim family in particular have become highly politicized sites of contestation, and the book considers how and why and with what implications for British multiculturalism, past, present and future. The study will be of great interest to international scholars and academics researching the governance of diversity and the accommodation of other faiths including Islam.
"Grillo's sophisticated analysis exploring the status of Muslim families is an important contribution to this area brings a much-needed sense of clarity and is presented in an easily digested form. It deals with the issues relating to how the Muslim family operates and this book shows the connections between the law and values, seeking to begin a meaningful debate on how to find workable solutions, considering the possibility of accommodation of Islamic beliefs and practices within the English legal framework. Although Grillo has focused on Britain, this book has the authority to be a solid platform for discussions about the status of the Muslim family across Europe and will appeal to academics, legal professionals and policy-makers who are interested in matters relating to Muslim family law."
Vishal Vora, SOAS, University of London, Child and Family Law Quarterly