Our history

WLUML was formed in 1984 to respond to several cases in which women were being denied rights by reference to ‘Muslim’ laws:

  • In Algeria, three feminists were arrested and jailed without trial for discussing with other women the government’s proposal to introduce new family laws which would damage women’s rights
  • In India, a Muslim woman filed a petition to the Supreme Court arguing that the application of religious minority law denied her the rights guaranteed to citizens under India’s Constitution
  • In Abu Dhabi, a pregnant woman was sentenced to be stoned to death for the alleged crime of adultery
  • In Europe, the Mothers of Algiers—a group of women divorced from Algerian men—were seeking access to or custody of their children

Nine women—from Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Iran, Mauritius, Tanzania, Bangladesh, and Pakistan—came together to form the Action Committee of Women Living Under Muslim laws, to support local women’s struggles.  This evolved into the present network in 1986, which has grown and grown ever since.

For an in-depth piece on the origins of WLUML, please read 'Heart and Soul' by founder, Marieme Helie-Lucas.