In this article, the author examines the ways in which a number of Dutch Muslim women try to obtain an Islamic divorce. The road to a divorce, often long and winding, does not always lead to a satisfactory conclusion. I explore the question of why it can be difficult for Muslim women to obtain a religious divorce. Drawing on recent empirical research into the phenomenon of ‘marital captivity’ – a situation in which someone is unable to terminate a (religious) marriage, I examine the case of a Dutch Muslim woman who, at the instigation of a civil court, managed to negotiate a khulʿ agreement with her ‘ex’-husband, who released her from the marital bond. This exceptional example of a khulʿ practice in the Netherlands attests to the versatility of this under-researched form of Islamic divorce and how it is used in a Muslim minority context in Europe.
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