Monday, June 18, 2007

Two laws for some

Thanks to Family Law Week for pointing out this article about Sharia Law in Britain, particularly its use for resolving marriage disputes.

There are those who see no problem with Sharia Law. Its use is purely voluntary they say (similar to agreeing to be bound by the decision of an out of court tribunal), and its judgments have no weight under English law - there can therefore be no harm. I disagree. I can think of a number of reasons to be worried about the spread of Sharia Law, including:

1. The use of Sharia Law is not always purely voluntary. Many parties will be pressurised by their families to submit to its 'jurisdiction'.

2. As with all religious texts, there are widely differing interpretations of the 'Islamic law', as pointed out in the article, making its use a lottery.

3. Use of an alternate system of law can show a lack of respect for the real law.

4. Like 'faith schools', the use of a religious system of law perpetuates segregation on the basis of religion, when we should be promoting integration.

5. Increased use of Sharia law is bound to give rise to calls for its decisions to be recognised by English law - something which is obviously wrong, but which may be increasingly difficult to resist, especially in these politically correct times.

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