Barnabas Fund - International Headquarters River Street, Pewsey, Wilthire. Phone: +44 1672 565030 Latitude: 51 deg 23 min 18 sec N Longitude: 1 deg 45 min 48 sec W .
Opposition mounts to growing use of shar...

Email:

Opposition mounts to growing use of sharia law in Britain

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

Opposition mounts to growing use of sharia law in Britain

Country/Region: Europe, United Kingdom

Opposition is mounting to the growing use of Islamic law to settle civil disputes in Britain as a Muslim campaigner backs a bill that aims to stop sharia councils from falsely claiming legal status England and Wales.

Scales-of-Justice-Old-Bailey-London-4x3.jpg
Scales of Justice, Old Bailey, London
Andrew Middleton / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A report by the BBC’s Asian network last week highlighted the increasing use of sharia by thousands of Muslims to settle disputes each year. An estimated 85 sharia councils now operate in Britain, and several bodies, such as the Islamic Sharia Council, have reported a large increase in their case-load.

Sheikh al-Haddad said:

Our cases have easily more than tripled over the past three to five years. On average, every month we can deal with anything from 200 to 300 cases. A few years ago it was just a small fraction of that. Muslims are becoming more aligned with their faith and more aware of what we are offering them.

As demand for the use of sharia law increases, opposition to it is also growing. Campaigners are concerned that women are being denied justice in sharia courts. Under Islamic law, a woman’s testimony is worth only half that of a man’s, she receives only half the compensation a man would for the same injury, she can inherit only half what her brothers would, and it is far more difficult for her to divorce her husband than for him to divorce her. Non-Muslims are also discriminated against under Islamic law.

The Christian and humanitarian campaigner Baroness Cox introduced a bill to the House of Lords last year that seeks to create a new offence – punishable by up to five years in prison – of falsely claiming legal jurisdiction over criminal or family law.

The Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill, which has the backing of the National Secular Society and Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, last week also gained the support of Tehmina Kazi, director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy. She is concerned that Muslim women are not aware of alternatives to sharia law.

Ms Kazi said:

They don’t have any legal power and are completely informal so very hard to regulate… We want to educate women so they know what their rights are.

Another advocate for Muslim women’s rights is also backing the bill. Cassandra Balchin, co-founder and chair of the Muslim Women’s Network-UK, said that the bill, if made law, would probably increase pressure on sharia councils to make clear to their clients before they initiate mediation that their decisions have no legal weight.

The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation is campaigning for sharia councils to be completely banned.

Parallel law

Sharia councils have been operating in Britain since 1982, effectively creating a parallel legal system by which Muslims can resolve disputes. They deal with family, financial and commercial matters in accordance with sharia principles; 95 per cent of their cases relate to divorce.

Although they have no legal powers and cannot impose their rulings, in practice they function as courts and carry the same authority within the Muslim community as a legally binding process of arbitration. And in 2008 the British government acknowledged that it had for some time accepted the role of sharia tribunals in arbitration, in certain limited fields.

Opponents are concerned that the acceptance of certain aspects of Islamic civil law in Britain could be the start of a slippery slope into full-blown sharia. In a report, Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights, published in June 2010, human rights campaign group One Law For All argued:

Despite all efforts to package Sharia’s civil code as mundane, its imposition represents a concerted attempt by Islamists to gain further influence in Britain. By undermining British legal principles of equality before the law, the universal concept of one law for all and the protection of the rights of women and children, these courts help to increase discrimination, intimidation and threats against the most vulnerable. They also deny people their rights and leave countless human beings at the mercy of Islamists. 1

Footnotes

1 One Law For All report, p8.

Help us: Share this article

Email:

Opposition mounts to growing use of sharia law in Britain

To

Email address:
Separate multiple addresses with a comma (,). Maximum of 10

From

Your name:
Your email address:
Security test:
Please enter the numbers that appear here in the box below.
refresh captcha
CAPTCHA Image
Security code:

Details provided here will never be used in any other context

christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

Other articles

No related articles found

Follow Barnabas

or

receive news & appeal emails as they are published

From Twitter

From Twitter_icon

    Daily prayer

    Daily prayer_icon
    • Thank the Lord that, with the help of Barnabas Fund, two house churches in a strict Central Asian country were able to purchase coal-powered generators. Winters there are harsh, and the power supply can Barnabas is helping 30,000 displaced Iraqi Christians be erratic. This particular congregation used to meet in a church building, but in 2009 their permit to assemble was revoked and seven of their members were questioned at the police station. Since then the church has had to meet in members’ homes. Pray that the Lord will continue to bless their ministry and that the generators will allow the church to continue to expand despite opposition from the government. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 21 hours ago

    • An Uzbek Christian who had converted from Islam died earlier this year and was buried. The local Muslim leaders banned any Muslim from attending the man’s funeral. But one of his work colleagues, a radical Muslim who had been struck by the Christian’s words and way of life, attended the funeral anyway, ignoring all the threats and warnings. She was puzzled by such a hostile reaction to a man she knew to be “God-fearing”. At the funeral she heard the Gospel and decided to give her life to Christ. Pray for “F.” as she is now being disciple and growing in her new faith, that she will be strong in the face of opposition from the Muslim community. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Pray for hundreds of Christian, Yazidi and Turkmen women held in Badush Prison in Mosul, Iraq by ISIS militants. The women are reported to be raped daily unless they agree to convert to ISIS’s brand of Sunni Islam. The UN estimates that there have been roughly 1,500 Iraqi women and children from the Christian and Yazidi communities abducted by ISIS and then forced into sexual slavery. Ask our Heavenly Father to have mercy on each one of these women and children and to deliver them from evil. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Give thanks to the Lord that, through the generosity of Barnabas Fund supporters, over 30,000 displaced Christians in northern Iraq are being assisted through four local partner organisations on the ground. By funding the distribution of food, blankets, hygiene items and other basic needs, Barnabas has enabled them to survive their first months of displacement. But their needs will be greater now, as the Iraqi winter has set in. Pray that God will provide. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Nov 2014 00:00

    • Cry out to the Lord for the estimated 200,000 Iraqi Christians and other minorities who have been displaced from their homes due to attacks by the Islamist militant group ISIS (also known as the Islamic State). Pray for all the displaced people, who have mostly lost everything they possessed. ISIS wants to eliminate Christianity in the territory it controls. Please pray for the Christians still living under its brutal rule. Ask God to protect them and give them courage and a hope for their future. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Nov 2014 00:00

    © Barnabas Fund 1997 - 2014 All rights reserved.
    Barnabas Fund & Barnabas Aid are registered trade marks