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UK: Muslim women “live in fear” because of the spread of unofficial sharia courts


 

Sharia courts ‘as consensual as rape’, House of Lords told

MUSLIM women in Britain are being forced to “live in fear” because of the spread of unofficial and unregulated sharia courts enforcing Islamic rules, the House of Lords was told.

Sharia courts ‘as consensual as rape’, House of Lords told

One study estimated that there are around 85 Sharia bodies operating in Britain Photo: Paul Grover

By , Religious Affairs Editor

7:00AM BST 20 Oct 2012

Rulings by informal religious “councils” and tribunals are sometimes no more “consensual” than rape, peers were told.

The warnings came in the first ever full Parliamentary debate on the subject in the UK.

Baroness Cox, the independent peer and Third World campaigner, last year tabled a private member’s bill in the Lords setting out plans to rein in a network of unofficial self-styled “courts” which apply Islamic principles.

One study estimated that there are around 85 Sharia bodies operating in Britain, although there is no official estimate.

They include legally recognised arbitration tribunals, set up primarily to resolve financial disputes using Islamic legal principles but which have taken on a wider range of cases.

There is also a network of informal Sharia “councils”, often operating out of mosques, dealing with religious divorces and even child custody matters in line with Islamic teaching.

The bill, which had its first full debate yesterday, would make it a criminal offence for such bodies to style themselves as courts or those chairing them to pose as judges.

It would also limit the activities of arbitration tribunals and explicitly require them to uphold equality laws including women’s rights.

Baroness Cox told the House of cases she had encountered including a woman who had been admitted to hospital by her violent husband who had left her for another woman but still denied her a religious divorce so she could remarry.

Another woman was forced to travel to Jordan to seek permission to remarry from a seven-year-old boy whom she had never met because she had no other male relatives, she said.

A third who came to see her was so scared of being seen going in that she hid behind a tree whole another told her: “I feel betrayed by Britain, I came to this country to get away from all this but the situation is worse here than in my country of origin.”

Baroness Cox said: “These examples are just the tip of an iceberg as many women live in fear, so intimidated by family and community that they dare not speak out or ask for help.”

Meanwhile Baroness Donaghy added: “The definition of mutuality is sometimes being stretched to such limits that a women is said to consent to a process when in practice, because of a language barrier, huge cultural or family pressure, ignorance of the law, a misplaced faith in the system or a threat of complete isolation, that mutuality is as consensual as rape.”

Lord Carlile, the legal expert, was among those backing the bill but the Bishop of Manchester urged caution arguing that it could end up “stigmatising those individuals in communities it is aiming to help”.

And Baroness Uddin, the first female Muslim peer, said it would be viewed as “another assault on Muslims”.

Lord Kalms, the businessman, claimed that self-styled Sharia courts had already reached far beyond mediation to areas such as criminal law.

“To my knowledge, none of these cases has ever received police attention or investigation, and this is a scandal for which the police, among other authorities, must be held responsible,” he said.

 

 

5 thoughts on “UK: Muslim women “live in fear” because of the spread of unofficial sharia courts

  1. Women were not allowed to inherit property before Islam. Many girls were killed shortly after being born (just like in India today). These are a couple of the improvements Islam bought to women. There are many more. Please don’t generalise from your ignorance. Shari’ah incorporates Islamic practice (prayers, fasting, pilgrimage, charity, shahadah), civil law, and criminal law. To what do you object? Prayer? Civil law (people are entitled to resolve their civil law differences by whatever means they like, in the UK)?

    Thousands of Muslims are turning to them to help resolve family, financial and commercial problems in accordance with Sharia principles. It is a Growing demand. An estimated 85 Sharia councils could be operating in Britain, according to a 2009 report by the think tank Civitas. Several bodies like the Islamic Sharia Council have seen a large increase in their cases in the past five years. ”Our cases have easily more than tripled over the past three to five years,” says Sheikh al-Haddad. ”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,” he explained. But while a demand for Sharia continues in Britain, Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad says the practice cannot be banned. ”We are not forcing people to walk through our doors. They are voluntarily coming to us,” he said. ”If you ban us, then British Muslims will find somewhere else to go. ”Many will go to Muslim countries abroad, where there will be no way to protect them.

    The principles of Sharia govern all aspects of a Muslim’s life. It is derived from a combination of sources including the Koran, the Hadith, which is based on the example of the prophet Muhammad, and fatwas, which are rulings of Islamic scholars. As a demand for Sharia thrives, a number of British law firms are starting to tap into the booming market. Muslim Lawyer Aina Khan has launched one of the first Sharia departments at her London-based law firm. She offers clients advice that is in keeping with both English and Islamic law. ”I am surprised that the majority of people that I am dealing with are under the age of 50. They are British Muslims who want to satisfy their British identity as well as their Muslim one. ”So I give them solutions to their problems that satisfy both legal systems all under one place.” Sharia judges hear cases in which Muslims volunteer to accept their rulings.
    IA
    http://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

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  2. Your reply indicates your bias in the first sentence. That was 1400 ago. times have changed but obviously not in Islam.

    However, you are right about Muslims being more aligned with their faith, its happening all over the Middle East and we see what is going on there.

    Sharia is not the bland institution you indicate. Apostacy for instance warrants death. Marriage is condoned to nine year old girls. Freedom of speech is nil.

    As Muslims assert themselves within our western societies they are demanding that it is us who must change, not them. That also is sharia.

    Here’s what happens within such repression. From this very same site.

    http://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2012/10/20/islamabad-freelance-columnist-800-million-muslims-out-of-1-4-billion-are-illiterate/

    Question: If Islam is so great why are so many clamouring to leave Islamic countries to live in the west?

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  3. PS

    This is also sharia.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/13/world/asia/pakistan-teen-activist-attack/index.html

    Thankfully she’s here in Britain, far from the homicidal maniacs who would kill her in the blink of an eye.

    However that hasn’t stopped them and a crude attempt to get to her last week was thwarted.

    Sharia comes to Britain indeed. They thought that they had a perfect right in slaughtering this poor girl even in an infidel country.

    As more and more comes out about this barbaric faith more and more are revolted.

    The serial rapes of white underage or teenage girls (how many more will be uncovered?) are at last getting police attention and we are getting sick to the back teeth with this gross abuse of our hospitality, welfare money and law.

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  4. Always bear in mind that when you hear how wonderful islam is you are listening to taqiyya
    which allows a muslim to tell lies if it is to advance islam
    In his last speech muhammed stated that women are like domestic animals having nothing of their own– and that is it in a nutshell

    Women are Deficient in Intelligence
    the majority of the inhabitants of Hell are women
    those wives whose refractoriness ye fear, exhort them, and avoid them in beds, and beat them; and even muhammed’s favourite wife stated.. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain she also stated “You have made us equal to the dogs and the asses”
    A woman’s testimony counts as half of a man’s testimony
    A husband may simply get rid of one of his undesirable wives
    The most important thing that a woman brings to a marriage is between her legs.
    A woman presents herself in marriage to Muhammad, but he does not find her attractive, so he “donates” her on the spot to another man.

    al-Ghazali, who has been called ‘the greatest Muslim after Muhammad,’ writes that the role of a Muslim woman is to “stay at home and get on with her sewing. She should not go out often, she must not be well-informed, nor must she be communicative with her neighbors and only visit them when absolutely necessary; she should take care of her husband… and seek to satisfy him in everything… Her sole worry should be her virtue… She should be clean and ready to satisfy her husband’s sexual needs at any moment.”

    and as far as muhammed is concerned the only women he ever mentions in heaven are the eternal virgins there to satisfy the mans every sexual pleasure-
    so there you have it a free knocking shop in the sky– something to aspire to

    and incidentally muhammed was employed by a woman who ran a successful business and whom he later married– ah the joy he must have brought

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