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Indo-Canadian filmmaker Shazia Javed releases documentary on instant oral divorce

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Award winning Indo-Canadian filmmaker Shazia Javed has released her newest documentary, 3 Seconds Divorce. The perils of Muslim women experiencing instant oral divorce faced internationally and in their own country has been prominently highlighted.

The documentary is about an Indian Muslim woman, named Lubna, living in Mumbai, whose husband used the sharia practice on her. The practice involves saying “divorce” or “talaaq” three times, which often leaves women in very vulnerable situations like being abused or being homeless.

Lubna’s experience led her to join a growing movement of Indian Muslims fighting for better laws for Muslim women around divorce, inheritance and marriage.

Shazia Javed
Shazia Javed

Shazia Javed said, “I have spent a large part of my life in India. This is something that has bothered me ever since I was a child.”

‘While growing up in India this usually happened around me and I would read about it. Men would use instant divorce for reasons like not putting salt in the food or to collect dowry from a woman and then leave her,” Javed says.

According to her, the reason behind the practice’s prevalence is intricate and quite complicated. Only about 10 percent of Indians are Muslim. The community as a whole is struggling against right-wing agendas and anti-Muslim prejudice.

Javed explained, while the larger Muslim community may not agree with the practice or with religious leaders who impose the practice, they stay silent about the matter in fear of endangering the community further.

images“To me it was important that I deal with the issue in its context and say, ‘Hey, this is what’s going on,’ and I wanted to investigate what’s enabling it and why people are so resistant to change,” she added.

In 2017, India’s Supreme Court abolished the law, joining 22 other Muslim countries around the world in making instant divorce illegal.

While that is considered progress, Javed says this legal reform comes after years of work on the ground, and a lot still needs to change.

She added since the filming of documentary many women in Canada reached out to her about either being in that situation themselves or knowing someone who is.

“I’m finding that it’s passing on to first-generation Canadians,” she said. “There’s something about what we are preserving here that instant oral divorce is taking place in first-generation Canadian Muslim families as well.”

Javed hoped that the documentary will help address the issues locally and provide lawyers and counsellors who work within the Muslim community as well as within immigrant communities around the world the tools and awareness to provide support.

The documentary was premièred on Saturday, Oct. 13 at 11 a.m. at Canada Square Cinema in Toronto.

For more information on the documentary visit www.3secondsdivorce.com or visit the Facebook page @3SecondsDivorce.

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