JOHANNESBURG – Muslims across South Africa are pushing back against a decision last week by the home affairs minister, who said his department cannot legally recognize Muslim marriages. The controversy erupted after the minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, said death certificates cannot indicate that someone was married unless the marriage is considered valid under South African law. Since 1994, under African National Congress rule, South Africa has recognized only African customary marriages. Religious marriages, including Muslim marriages, are considered invalid. “A marriage entered into in terms of Muslim rites is thus far not recognized in South Africa,” Motsoaledi said, replying to a written parliamentary question by Al Jama-ah party leader Ganief Hendricks. “The department would not have powers to indicate that a person is married in the death certificate, whereas such is not the case in terms of the law.” Hendricks petitioned the government to recognize Muslim marriages, known as nikah. He says he was motivated by the deaths of Muslims from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. When a Muslim man dies from COVID-19, “then all those widows who were married for 40 years … get a death certificate and the death certificate says ‘never married,”’ Hendricks said. “And that has… Read full this story
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