LONDON (AP) — A Lebanese mother and her child who fled to Britain to avoid being separated under their country’s Islamic law and should be allowed to remain in the U.K., Britain’s highest court ruled Wednesday.

The divorced woman, identified only as EM, sought asylum in Britain for herself and her 8-year-old son after fleeing Lebanon on false papers in December 2004. She told immigration officials her allegedly abusive ex-husband would gain custody of their child under Lebanon’s Shariah law.

While religious laws are not applied in Lebanon’s criminal code, Shariah does apply to Lebanese Muslims on civil issues such as marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. Christian communities have their own religious courts.

Shariah only allows divorced mothers custody of their children until their 7th birthday, at which point custody reverts to the father.

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