Dial-a-Divorce in Tajikistan

Tajik migrant workers in Russia are increasingly divorcing their wives with one phone call, reports Shahodat Saibnazarova.

Dial-a-Divorce in Tajikistan

Tajik migrant workers in Russia are increasingly divorcing their wives with one phone call, reports Shahodat Saibnazarova.

Friday, 25 September, 2009
Many Tajik couples go through the Muslim wedding rites, but here as in other former Soviet states, the marriage only counts in law if it also is registered with the proper authorities. However, in recent years, many have simply ignored the latter part, and do so universally when the husband is taking a second or third wife, since polygamy is illegal.



That leaves unhappy husbands free to separate by saying “talaq” (divorce) three times. With no legal recognition, the divorced wife will find it hard to assert a claim to property through the courts.



It is believed that around one million Tajikistan nationals are working abroad, and three-quarters of them are men, accounting for half the country’s male working-age population. A proportion of the expats settle down semi-permanently with Russian women and stop sending money home.



Experts on Islam like Zarina Denovshoeva say that simply uttering the word “divorce”, especially when it is done remotely by mobile phone, hardly amounts to a proper separation and goes against the precepts set out by Muslim law.
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