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Cyclic Hotline
8th Aug 2001, 23:20
Singapore Bars Muslim Divorces by Text Messages

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Muslim authorities in Singapore have turned their backs on a precedent set in Dubai by barring men from using mobile phone text messages to divorce their wives.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), the Syariah (Islamic) Court and Registry of Muslim Marriages issued a joint statement saying divorce through short message service (SMS) was unacceptable.

An MUIS spokesman told Reuters Wednesday that no SMS divorces have been attempted in Singapore so far.

"There are elements of doubt in a divorce that is conducted through SMS in that one cannot be sure of the sender's identity, nor of his intention,'' the three authorities said.

"Only a judge can confirm a divorce after deciding that there is merit in the complaint filed by the couple at the Syariah Court.''

Under Islamic law, a man can divorce his wife by declaring ''I divorce you'' three times.

An SMS divorce was first attempted in Dubai this year.

Singapore's Syariah Court had earlier "strongly discouraged'' the practice of pronouncing a divorce out of court ''regardless of the manner of communicating it.''