It seems a religious marriage is a marriage that can be struck down by a civil court, and that citizenship of a foreign country means you are of a different race.
So far as I can make out from this story, a man insisted his wife could only get a sharia divorce, in Pakistan, from his sharia marriage but the judge said his wife could get a civil divorce because otherwise it would be racist - since she had Pakistani nationality. Interestingly, the racism seems to be because she was foeign, not because she was a Muslim. It's a bit difficult to sort out the exact details because the report is rather vague about them.
http://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/151097 ... Court_bid/A devout Muslim who said he had been married under Sharia law and could not be divorced in UK has lost a High Court fight.
The man's wife, who has dual British and Pakistani nationality, had issued a petition for divorce in England.
But the man said divorce could only be approved in Pakistan.
A judge has dismissed his claim after a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in Birmingham.
"It seems to me that the consequence, or a consequence, of the husband's submission would be that I would therefore be approving both racial and gender discrimination."
He added: "It would be racial discrimination because what is said is that because the wife has dual nationality, both British and Pakistani, that as a national of Pakistan she should be treated differently from a British citizen who is not a national of Pakistan."
And he went on: "There is no expert evidence before me about the position in Pakistan but it is reasonably clear from what I have been shown that the rights granted to men in Pakistan to secure divorces pursuant to the laws of that country are different from the rights granted to women and that it is more onerous for a woman to secure a divorce in Pakistan than it is for a man."