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Being Muslim in South AsiaDiversity and Daily Life$
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Robin Jeffrey and Sen Ronojoy

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198092063

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092063.001.0001

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Matrilocal Marriage and Women’s Property among the Moors of Sri Lanka*

Matrilocal Marriage and Women’s Property among the Moors of Sri Lanka*

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter Five Matrilocal Marriage and Women’s Property among the Moors of Sri Lanka*
Source:
Being Muslim in South Asia
Author(s):

Dennis B. Mcgilvray

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198092063.003.0005

The Muslims, or ‘Moors’, of Sri Lanka are a Tamil-speaking minority representing 9 per cent of the population, nearly one third of whom live in the agricultural easternmost region, where they share a distinctive matrilineal and matrilocal family system with their Tamil Hindu neighbours. Despite the destructive 2004 tsunami and the decades-long war with the Tamil Tigers, the basic pattern of Moorish women’s dowry and property rights has been traced over four decades of ethnographic research in the eastern town of Akkaraipattu in Ampara District. The larger project from which this chapter is drawn reveals that similar matrilocal dowry-house patterns are shared by Moors throughout Sri Lanka and also among a number of Muslim communities in coastal Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Keywords:   matriliny, matrilocality, Sri Lanka, Tamil, marriage customs, Moors

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