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Understanding Divorce Rates in Muslim Communities

 Posted on March 16, 2019 in Illinois Family Law

Family law issues in the U.S. can be especially complicated for Muslims, whether they were born and raised in the U.S. or are recent immigrants. For instance, many Muslims in DuPage County have ties to non-Western cultures and traditions that often are seen as being in conflict with Western values that often are seen as more prevalent in the U.S. Yet more American Muslims are filing for divorce than ever before.

To be sure, it is important to recognize that many American Muslims are filing for divorce at higher rates. These divorces highlight a growing number of Muslims in the United States deciding to end their marriages for various reasons.

Rates of Divorce Among American Muslims

Currently, the overall divorce rate in the U.S. is right around 45 percent. The divorce rate in the country has declined since the 1970s and 1980s, but it still remains relatively high. In Canada, the divorce rate is at about 37 percent—less than the overall rate in the U.S., but still comparatively high. How does the Muslim divorce rate in the U.S. and Canada compare? In short, there is not a lot of research that has been conducted on this topic, and as such, there is very little data. Back in 1990, one study suggested that the divorce rate among Muslims in North America was just over 30 percent, which was less than the average divorce rates in the U.S. and Canada but significantly higher than divorce rates among Muslim communities in other parts of the world.

For example, at that same time, both Turkey and Egypt, which have populations that are majority Muslim, had divorce rates at around 10 percent. In 2019, researchers believe that the overall divorce rates among members of the Muslim community are increasing. According to Imam Mohamed Magid, an Imam and executive director of the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center, “divorce is on the rise in the Muslim community.” He emphasized that, in the U.S., the Muslim community has experienced “an increase in divorce from people married for a while and those married for a short time.” He noted that increasing divorce rates are not tied to people from specific racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups. Rather, the divorce rates seem to be rising more uniformly in North American Muslim communities.

Comparing American Muslim Divorce Rates to Those Across the Globe

The Pew Research Center has conducted research on perspectives about divorce among Muslims in various parts of the world. When it comes to the question of whether a woman should have the right to divorce her husband, Muslims in Southeastern Europe and Central Asia largely respond in the affirmative (94 percent of those surveyed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, said women should have this right, while 85 percent agreed in Turkey). Numbers are similar in North Africa, where 81 percent of the Muslims surveyed in Tunisia said that a wife should have the right to divorce her husband, while 73 percent in Morocco agreed. However, that number drops to 26 percent in Pakistan, 22 percent in Jordan, and only 14 percent in Iraq.

Many American Muslims, as well as many Muslims in other parts of the world, have experienced a shift in viewpoint. Whereas divorce once was largely unheard of among Muslim couples, “there clearly seems to be a move away from the attitude that couples should stay together even in the unhappiest marriages.” Some commentators attribute the shift to generational differences, while others cite shifting knowledge about emotional abuse and changes in stigma among the Muslim community.

Contact a Muslim Divorce Lawyer in Oakbrook Terrace

If you have questions about filing for divorce, our experienced DuPage County divorce attorneys can help. We have years of experience serving the Muslim community. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office online or by calling us at 630-909-9114.



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