Europe's new migrants: marriage practices and policies

Arts and Law, Lectures Talks and Workshops, Research, Students
Monday 16th (09:00) - Wednesday 18th April 2018 (17:00)
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For further information about the conference content please contact Yafa Shanneik (

For questions relating to registration and logistical queries please contact George Dibble ( 

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The spread, speed and scale of refugees and migrants coming into Europe since the second Gulf War have challenged and impacted existing European, political, social and legal systems.

One of those issues that have become of major concern within European societies and have been hotly debated is Muslim marriage practices performed by these relatively new comers. These practices have posed various legal, religious and social challenges.

Legally, some of these practices lack formalised documentations either because they have not been officially registered or because documents have been lost during the displacement process. And to what extent do the national systems of family law in the receiving countries in Europe secure women’s rights within these marriages or their breakdown? Religiously, some of these marriages are unconventional, such as between a Muslim women and a non-Muslim man. This conference seeks papers which examine various forms and new types of marriages, how they are contracted and what role they play in defining religious boundaries. Socially, these trans- and intra-religious Muslim marriage forms impact social relations and define them anew. This last part of the conference seeks papers which examine how marriage practices are a means to negotiate one’s ‘politics of belonging’ and integration into the new host societies.

This interdisciplinary conference brings together scholars in Law, Religious/Islamic Studies, Anthropology, Sociology as well as policy makers and practitioners. Its purpose is:

  1. To demonstrate the complex nature of Muslim marriage practices and their constant evolution alongside political and sectarian tensions and cultural developments.
  2. To initiate international academic research on Muslim marriage practices among Europe’s new migrants.
  3. To enhance public and academic understanding of the issues and debates surrounding marriage practices through offering comparative insights into and discussions on various marriage forms and their legal, religious and social impact across various European countries.

Keynote speakers:

  • Shaheen Sardar Ali (Professor of Law, Warwick)
  • Annelies Moors (Professor of Anthropology, Amsterdam)

Roundtable participants:

  • Aina Khan (Head of the Islamic and Asian Department, Duncan Lewis Solicitors)
  • Dr Vishal Vora (Max Planck Institute)
  • Dr Frederica Sona (Collegio Carlo Alberto and Max Planck Institute

Call for papers

We welcome abstract submissions (up to 300 words) and a short bio (up to 200 words). Presentations of papers should be 20 minutes long, followed by 10 minutes for questions and discussions. Abstracts should be in Microsoft Word format and sent to The deadline for submissions is Monday 15 January 2018. Notifications of acceptance of papers will be sent out by 31 January 2018. Travel expenses and accommodation will be covered for authors whose papers have been accepted.

Topics may include (but are not limited) to the following:

  • Marriage, displacement and integration
  • Family law regulations and non-registered Muslim marriage forms
  • Non-governmental organisations and their role in providing legal protection
  • Contestations around trans-religious marriage practices
  • Sunni-Shia marriages (also known as Sushi-marriages)
  • Marriages and conversions
  • Nikah-only marriages and challenges
  • Family breakdown, divorce, child custody, inheritance and adoption
  • Migration marriage or family-related migration


​The conference is free to delegates, with lunch and refreshments being provided. Please register for the conference via the Conference Eventbite webpage.

We might be able to offer travel/accommodation bursaries for some PhD candidates and early career researchers.