Monday, June 21, 2010

Sharia Law in Britain – A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights

The One Law for All Campaign has published a new report Sharia Law in Britain – A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights. The report may be downloaded here (PDF) and a press release, summarising its findings and recommendations, may be found here.

The Report confirms many of the things we know already, including:

1. That whilst Muslim Arbitration Tribunals purport to arbitrate in family cases, they have no legal jurisdiction to do so as the Family Courts retain jurisdiction over family cases.

2. That many of the principles of Sharia law are contrary to British law and public policy, and that it is discriminatory against women and children in particular.

3. That the voluntary nature of Sharia courts is a sham: "women are often pressured by their families into going to these courts and adhering to unfair decisions, and may lack knowledge of English and their rights under British law. Moreover, refusal to settle a dispute in a Sharia court can give rise to threats and intimidation, or at best being ostracised".

The Report recommends that Sharia courts be closed on the grounds that they work against rather than for equality, and are incompatible with human rights. Let us hope that it comes to the attention of the new government.

19 comments:

  1. A Seventh Day Adventist Church friend of mine advised they do the same with their problems rather than court. Also the Jewish community have the same with the rabbis and the Imams with the Muslims.

    With the decline in the role of the state in the home (symbolised by reduction in marriage rate, increase in pre nups and lack of credit in the taxation for marriage) perhaps the void as being filled by others where the moral superiority of politicians and law makers has gone. Not a bad thing, considering the mess of family courts and the budget deficit resultant from the 'elected' politicians.

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  2. So discriminating against women and children is 'Not a bad thing'? I beg to differ.

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  3. Jews and Roman Catholics have their own religious courts that may be used to greater or lesser extents for settling family disputes. The Beth Din has for many years dealt with substantial disputes also in other areas. There should be no bar to parties freely agreeing to resolve their diputes however they like, whether in the context of a religious tribunal or private agreement, or by mediation, just so long as it is clear that the host jurisdiction is not thereby to be ousted. At the moment my understanding is that at least in Scotland the jurisdiction of the courts with respect to children cannot be ousted, and the courts have the power to overturn unfair or unreasonable settlements of financial claims anyway.

    The problem is in the view of some that Moslem women are ex facie and uniquely an oppressed group. Do we go to the Moslem community on Britain in all its many forms and say that your religion and jurisprudence are so primitive and cruel that, above all religious groups in the UK, you are to be forbidden to settle family disputes outside the courts? The insult is deliberate and obvious and the reaction woold be likely to be strong and richly deserved. Or do we say to everybody (including all the mediators and ADR/collabrative people, even all the lawyers) that the all-wise State is the only forum for the issue? This is the kind of illiberal talk that earns governments all over Europe today a bad name. Can we really say that it is OK to settle by private agreement only if your agreement is sanctioned a delegate of the state?

    You have to allow people of full age to have and take responsibility for what they do, but you do also have to ensure that all have proper access to orthodox legal advice if they need it. Certinly in England there miust be a niche waiting to be filled there?

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  4. No set of laws based upon ancient superstitions and prejudices should have a place in a modern society. In any event, there is no question of 'niches' - there should be one law for all, made by our elected representatives.

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  5. I did not say that discriminating against women and children was ok, they are your prejudices.

    Laws made by elected representatives, what a novel idea, except most people don't know what or who they are voting for, like with financial regulation and public spending and that lobbyists and focus groups have more influence on the laws, like with all the domestic violence adverts with the world cup. What a ridiculous waste of public money, without public consultation or support, or knowledge, I mean women getting hit because England are playing badly, think that has been thought up by someone yet it gets public money, because the person was in an influential lobbying group. Like the family law we have. Not written by the public for the public but by professionals with an interest in making money on it. Same with the police, again where there is an acknowledgement that we should be policed by consent and they have gone off on one.

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  6. There is a lot to be said about laws being written by people who are unelected, as they don't have to try to be popular and thus would be more inclined to do the right thing.

    For example, the Roman Catholic view on promoting Abstinance rather than condoms in combating HIV and AIDS, which is being increasingly adopted and found to be more affective than the politicians who were rubbishing it. Also, I am not sure on them being unelected either, but I don't know how Imams, or Rabbis and so forth are appointed. I am vaguely aware that the pope is elected somehow though.

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  7. Your (and the reference you provide) prejudices against Sharia law that is. I would point out that Indian and Pakistani familes are more secure than ours though so think we could learn a lot from them towards that.

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  8. They seem to be doing well with their families and businesses. For example Mr Clutch who are mending my car at the moment.

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  9. I agree with Anonymous' comments also.

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  10. "I did not say that discriminating against women and children was ok, they are your prejudices." Pardon??? If you are suggesting that I am prejudiced against women and children, I shall have to ask you to withdraw that, or I will not be allowing you to comment on this blog again.

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  11. You said I said discriminating against women and children was ok, I did not, I was pointing out that you were saying Sharia law does say this.

    I do say that that that is your Islamic phobia and prejudices against that. If you want to not post this and ban me, that is up to you, it does rather confirm the statement, and if anyone should apologise it is you for saying I am anti women and children, when I did not say that, that is what went wrong here and was based on your prejudices against sharia law which are probably based on maintaining the staus quo, a status quo which I am trying to say is not working for many.

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  12. Yes, I probably do prefer sharia law (not the Taliban's version) to the family law we have in the country at the moment.

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  13. If you really want to talk about this you need to research the specifics of outcomes of sharia law rather than Daily Mail type soundbites on honor killings which I suggest are not the normal outcomes and are not typical outcomes. I would be interested if you were to discuss with an Imam what typically happens with Islamic divorces, no, I do not think the women and children are stitched up as you say they are, perhaps you should investigate further and know what you are talking about before insulting so many millions of people. Provide some stats on Sharia law ruining women and children and I might be interested, prejudices are not enough.

    That men are prejudiced against in family law and less so in sharia law is my point and why it is gaining traction. Perhaps a thorough analysis of a typical divorce under Eng and W law where bloke gets stitched up and Sharia law (where neither of us are sure what we are talking about) would be appreciated. I have heard that maintenance and financial settlements are for all and fair in Sharia law and now you (and the original posting) says the opposite without details and it sounds like prejudice against Islam without details or evidence.

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  14. I will accept your explanation, although I should be grateful if you would express yourself more clearly in future.

    I am not prejudiced against Islam - my views on that subject (and the subject of religious superstition generally) are fully informed.

    As for your last comment, I suggest that you read the Report referred to in this post.

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  15. I have just looked at it (thought you might say that), and it does not give enough information.

    It does not give typical divorce outcome information.

    The only reference I could see was where it said women are stoned to death for sex outside of marriage and eyes are taken in exchange for eyes, I would suggest not too objective and not putting the Jews and Christians in the same report doesn't help either.

    I have not heard of one women being stoned to death in this country for sex outside of marriage and think it is talking about the extremists. I have spoken with more contemporary and modern muslims in this country and they back sharia law and these courts as do many jews and christians to the family law of eng and wales in this country. I did never say was ok and you said I did say was ok to discriminate against women that was not appreciated either.

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  16. Here is a paradox. Mr Bolch says this should only be governed by lex fori. Lex fori says you can, if you want, settle the matter however you want, e.g. private contract, mediations etc.. So we go off and settle by our own lights ....... and Mr Bolch still does not like it.

    I fear though that we are talking at cross purposes here. Mr Bolch argues for the ultimate supremacy of lex fori, and nobody disagrees about that at all so far as I can see. The difference appears to be that he is concerned that some people may be induced into making bargains he thinks are bad for them. That is a concern I hope we all share. It happens just as much in secular as in religious settlements. He says you ought not to allow people to agree to determine their private settlement by means of a religious court, whether Beth Din, sharia, or the Diocesan tribunal. Before even thinking of the ECHR consequences of this, if there are people who do not want to use the state courts, do you really think the balance of social power that leads to oppressive agreements or rulings is going to be improved by removing the sharia adjudicator?

    Short of insult to all those of religious faith, the best amelioration to be had is to make sure that all residents in the UK have open access to appropriate legal advice - you ought not to legislate in a liberal society aganst being weak, only to provide choices for the weak that, if taken, may (in our eyes) serve them better.

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  17. The laws they refer to and slate also (as well as I am not sure if they are implemented) are in the old testament, which is not unique to the Quran, but is in the Bible and Torah (Jewish Holy book) also, which also further diminishes this item as all three of these major religious groups and courts use that as the basis of their laws yet the study just picks on Islam.

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  18. I'd agree with Anonymous' last comment and conclusion and solution if we are looking to reach an agreement.

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  19. Which I am, looking for a better solution, and agreement, and way forwards that is.

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