MARRIAGE: MUSLIM MALE AND BUDDHIST FEMALE

Published By The Daily Star on November 26, 2011 (Link Above)

This week Your Advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the head of the chambers of a renowned law firm, namely, ‘Legal Counsel’, which has expertise mainly in commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies. Our civil and criminal law experts from reputed law chambers will provide the legal summary advice.

Query
If any Bangladeshi Muslim (male) wants to marry a Nepalese Buddhist (female) in Bangladesh, then a) what should be the process, for both marriage conversion and nationality conversion b) which dept / org need to be contacted for enquiring the detailed process.

Anonymous

Response
Thank you very much for your queries. I have fully understood your situation and your queries.

Marriage is a social and legal union between a man and a woman in order to live together and often to have child. So far as marriage is concerned different laws are applicable for the followers of different religions in Bangladesh. The provisions of Muslim law regarding marriage are applied to the Muslims.

From the facts and circumstances, it appears that you are desirous to get married to a girl, who is a Buddhist and a Nepalese citizen. However, she is desirous or is ready to convert her religion to Muslim. It is prohibited for a Muslim to marry a Buddhist. Therefore, Buddhist female has to convert herself to Muslim. For conversion, she has to pronounce ‘Kalema’ and she has to keep faith on it. Such conversion requires no formal documentation. Nonetheless, it is strongly advised to have an evidential proof for avoiding any future complication. For this purpose she has to declare by an affidavit before the First Class Magistrate that she has converted her religion to Muslim and also declare her religion as Islam. This affidavit shall be her proof of conversion.

If she converts into Islam, then both of you can easily get married under the Muslim law as both being Muslims. After getting married, the marriage has to be registered by any Kazi.

On the other hand, if she does not convert herself as a Muslim, then you cannot get married as you being a Muslim and she being a Buddhist. In such a circumstance, you can take an alternative route. If both of you declare yourselves as ‘non-believer’ under Special Marriage Act-1872 only then such marriage can take place under the said Act.

Now moving forward to the second issue it can be said that any woman can apply in the prescribed form under the Bangladesh Citizenship Rules 1978 for a citizenship of Bangladesh if she marries to a Bangladeshi male. It is also noteworthy that before applying for a citizenship of Bangladesh she has to live in Bangladesh for a continuous period of two years. Please note that Immigration Department of Home Ministry of Bangladesh is the concerned authority to deal with the citizenship issue.

Furthermore, it is advised to proceed with the entire matter under the supervision of a lawyer so that it can be done without any flaw. I hope the aforesaid opinion will help you to make headway towards a solution and also towards a happy marriage. Good luck!

For detailed query contact: omar@legalcounselbd.com.