BIRMINGHAM, England — A wave of Muslim divorcing in the United Kingdom has been blamed on the loosening of divorce laws that were passed amid a surge in Muslim migration to the country in the early 1990s.
The Muslim Law Commission, which is based in Birmingham, said Thursday that divorce rates among Muslims in England and Wales are now about 50% lower than they were in 2007, when the first wave of immigration from the Middle East and North Africa began.
“These changes have had an impact on Muslims and the wider Muslim community in England, Wales and Scotland,” said Mohamed Elshamy, president of the commission.
“The divorce rate among Muslim men in England is now about 40% lower in the year 2000 than it was in 2007.”
Muslim Law Council spokeswoman Ali Jumaa told reporters in Birmingham that the numbers have been declining and it is the first time since 2001 that the percentage of divorces between Muslims and non-Muslims has declined.
Muslim Law council has been collecting data for five years to show that divorce has become a much more common occurrence among Muslims.
The British government has been cracking down on Muslim immigration, including the death penalty and banning foreign students from wearing burqas, and many Muslims are now returning home.
The number of divorcing Muslims in Britain has decreased over the past decade, from nearly 9,000 in 2000 to fewer than 6,000 now.
In a report released last month, the council said the numbers in the first half of this year had fallen to fewer that 6,300.
“We’re seeing that Muslim marriages are a bit more common,” Jumaaaa said.
“More and more, we are seeing a change in the divorce rate.”
Muslim divorcees may be more likely to marry someone who is not a British citizen.
Jumaaa said that while the number of Muslim marriages among non-Muslim women has decreased, Muslim women have become less likely to divorce their husbands.
She said that Muslim women in Britain were often pressured to marry non-British men for financial reasons, even though the divorce laws were being relaxed.
Muslim women were also less likely than non-religious women to marry the man who is the sole provider for the children, Jumaba said.
She cited an example of a Pakistani Muslim woman in her mid-20s who said she married a married British man because she could not bear children alone.
Jusuf al-Qaradawi, an imam at a Birmingham mosque who is also a member of the council, said that despite a drop in divorce rates, he still believes that Muslims should remain loyal to their Muslim faith.
“When it comes to religion, I think it’s better to be loyal to your religion than to be disloyal to your country,” he said.
Jumaaa said that the British government should consider providing more financial support for Muslim divorcés.
She noted that the number and severity of Muslim divorce cases is often ignored by the courts.
She also said that Muslims who were in a legal relationship in the 1990s should be able to move on to a civil partnership.
Muslim men are often pressured by their wives to divorce because they can not afford to, and if they do, the wife will usually file a counterclaim against them.
The woman then has to pay child support to her ex-husband.
Jummaa said the majority of Muslim women who have divorces filed counterclaims against their ex-husbands.
JUMAA said that if the law were to be changed to allow Muslim women to file civil claims, the divorce process would take longer and more cases would be thrown out.
“If a Muslim woman is in a civil suit against her ex husband, the time it takes for her to file a claim will be longer,” Jummaaa said.
The new data comes as a new study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry found that Muslims are twice as likely as other groups to commit suicide.
The study, by a University of Illinois researcher, compared data from a survey of 1,000 Muslim women between the ages of 20 and 55, and also examined data from another survey conducted in the UK in 2014.
In that survey, the authors found that 9.6% of Muslim female respondents reported that they had attempted suicide.
In the new study, the researchers found that in the same age group, only 6.9% of Muslims who reported that their lives had been affected by suicide had attempted to kill themselves.
The suicide rates for Muslims are higher than the national average, but the researchers said that their study may not be representative of the entire Muslim population.
Jumeel A. Khoo, a professor of social work at the University of British Columbia, said the findings were alarming.
“This is very, very concerning,” he told ABC News.
“People who may be depressed, depressed by stress, are less likely by