Australian Muslims and Family Law: Diversity and Gender Justice

Archana Parashar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The family law in Australia claims to be universal, egalitarian, progressive and just. This characterisation of family law, among other things, allows for constructing the mythical Australian identity and the political claim that those who choose to come to Australia should agree to live by its values including its family law. It leaves no scope for an argument for recognising 'religious' laws. However, the very Act that proclaims a universal and exclusive law for everyone also facilitates huge diversity in the actual arrangements people make under it. The fact that it denies or at least downplays the actual plurality raises the central issue for this paper: the role of legal ideology of universal legal rights in maintaining the hegemony of the dominant social order. The discourse of the recognition of religious personal laws, and in particular the Sharia law, has to be understood in this context of the wider function of family law as an ideology for maintaining the hegemony of the self-understanding of Australia as a modern, liberal society. While legal pluralism is feasible it remains the responsibility of everyone to ensure that the resulting legal arrangements are fair and non-discriminatory for all members of society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-583
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Intercultural Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


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