On 16 and 17 April 2018 I hosted the Migrant Marriage Conference on 'Europe's New Migrants: Marriage Practices and Policies' at the University.
It provided an interactive platform to explore from legal, religious and social perspectives the many issues related to marriage practices of Muslim migrants in Europe and was an opportunity to hear about and discuss the research findings of academics and legal practitioners from the UK, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Finland.
Of particular interest was the breadth of case studies being conducted on different Muslim minorities in Europe, such as Muslims in Ireland, Turkish women in the UK, Somalis and Kurds in Finland. There were fascinating and it was extremely valuable to have them featured in a single conference.
Adding to that, the fact that the speakers and participants are part of a strong network of professionals in the field of Muslim marriages, and that a lot of them had previously worked together, contributed to making the conference a very supportive and almost familial space for everyone from the start.
The keynote speeches given at the start of each day by renowned professors in the field of Family Law and Muslim minorities - Professors Shaheed Ali and Annelies Moors – were very helpful in highlighting some of the most important issues concerning Muslim marriage practices and finding starting points from which to initiate discussions.
While each of the panel sessions sought to discuss separately the role of the law on Muslim marriages, the issues of unregistered marriages within the various states, and transnational Muslim marriages, there was also a lot of interaction between the law, anthropology, religious studies and sociology in discussion rounds, as well as within panels and presentations.
Following the presentations and discussions rounds, the Migrant Marriage Conference successfully concluded on the second day with an opportunity to collect the outcomes of the conference in a dedicated special issue of the online accessible peer-reviewed journal Zeitschrift für Recht & Islam (ZRI) which will be edited by myself and Dr Haifaa Jawad.
Conference outcomes have also been realised in form of professional connections which were cultivated over the two days and further encouraged by Aina Khan's suggestion at the end to develop a close working relationship between legal practitioners and academics in form of collaboration on projects and through providing work placements for each other.
Please get in touch with me if you would like more information about the project, the conference and its findings, or the working relationship that is being developed.