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
  • Young Christian man killed by Muslim co-worker in Pakistan for refusing to convert to Islam http://ow.ly/w1Uum 20 hours ago

  • Christians driven out of Maaloula by Islamist rebels long to return after its recapture by the Syrian army http://ow.ly/vTrgN Thu, Apr 2014 16:37

  • Islamic parties make unexpected gains in Indonesian elections http://ow.ly/vR60m Wed, Apr 2014 16:46

  • Former counter-terrorism chief to lead inquiry into alleged Islamist takeover of Birmingham schools http://ow.ly/vOn9I Tue, Apr 2014 17:01

Daily prayer

Daily prayer_icon
  • Pray for Barnabas Fund partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 11 hours ago

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:00

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