Comparing Legal Secularism in Family Law: Impacts on Muslim Women in France and England



Barrett, Olivia

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This thesis serves as a comparative case study of legal secularism in France and England to determine if legal secularism and its conflicts with Muslim family law generate structural violence against Muslim women. This analysis makes use of existing literature as well as in-depth analysis of the historical evolution of both legal systems in terms of its relationship with religion as well as the current capacity of Muslim women in each state to access the protections granted to them under both religious and secular law. It is this lack of access that serves to generate structural violence, the consequences of which are briefly explored in this research. The differences in the French and English systems generate disparate levels of structural violence, primarily due to the greater presence of dual spaces in which Muslim women can operate under both religious and secular law in England in comparison to France.



Structural violence, Islam, Family law, Secularism, France, England