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Mahr or Less: Sharia Seeps Into Swedish Divorce Law

The Swedish Supreme Court may finally approve the tacit endorsement of Sharia Law when it rules on the validity of prenuptial agreements, according to lawyer Fatemeh Sanaei Nasab of the Iranian Ministry of Justice.

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In an interview with Sputnik, lawyer Fatemeh Sanaei Nasab of the Iranian Ministry of Justice said that the Swedish Supreme Court will probably say "yes" to Sharia Law being applied to prenuptial agreements in Sweden.

The interview comes as the court deals with at least two cases related to whether the Iranian legislation is valid in the country. 

In two separate cases, divorced husbands are at risk of being obliged to pay their former wives a hefty sum known as a mahr, or mandatory payment. Iranian brides receive it in the form of money or property from a groom or his father when a couple is married; the payment then legally becomes her property. In some cases, the bride must settle for an IOU.

In this regard, Nasab said that it is only natural that the cases are already on the table of the Supreme Court of Sweden.

"I think that as the issue of paying a mahr is related to the Iranian couples, it is quite logical that the court deemed it necessary to rely on Iran's legislative norms," she said.

Nasad added that the chances of the Iranian Sharia law being legally binding in Sweden will depend on how the international law agencies would look at the financial aspect of matrimonial relations, and what factors will be taken as a basis.

"If the Swedish Supreme Court decides to consider mahr under civil law and take into account national factors, I will estimate the chances of cultivating Iranian laws as very high as far as the court's final decision is concerned," she pointed out.

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Swedish media reported that one case is related to a couple who married in Iran in 2006 and arrived in Sweden afterwards. The District Court ruled that the case should be handled in accordance with Swedish law, which means that an Iranian woman's former husband is not obliged to honor the mahr.

In another case, an Iranian woman claims that her rights would be infringed if she does not receive money amounting to about 1.5 million kronor (approximately $181,000), in line with the mahr payment, which is typically specified in the marriage contract signed during an Islamic marriage.

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