The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled this week that the Islamic practice of talaq violates a woman's right to due process in the state. Talaq is the practice (and in Pakistan, the law) that allows men to divorce their wives by saying "I divorce thee" three times. Maryland resident Irfan Aleem had moved to the D.C. area in 1985 with his wife, Farah, to work for the World Bank and raise a family. When she filed for divorce in Maryland in 2003, he one-upped her by heading to the Pakistani embassy and performing talaq, thereby divorcing her under Pakistani law, under which she had signed a marriage contract agreeing to a $2,500 divorce settlement in 1980 when she was 18. Since his divorce, he moved back to Pakistan and has been denying his wife financial support. The Maryland court said:
Talaq lacks any significant 'due process' for the wife, its use, moreover, directly deprives the wife of the 'due process' she is entitled to when she initiates divorce litigation in this state.
Since the appeals court ruling, the circuit court has ordered the Aleems' house sold and the profits split and Farah will probably get half of her husband's pension from the World Bank.
None of those women are Farah, by the way. But they are a way to show happy women from another country not looking oppressed. Farah told reporters by phone that she's "ecstatic" at the ruling.
Islamic Divorce Ruled Not Valid in Maryland [Washington Post]