Critics say a UK probe into Sharia courts is a sham

Critics say a UK probe into Sharia courts is a sham July 3, 2016

A large number of women’s rights campaigners and organisations from Britain and abroad have submitted a letter to the Home Secretary Theresa May raising serious concerns about the Government’s ‘independent review’ into Sharia courts in Britain.
According to a press release issued this weekend by Maryam Namazie, above, of One Law for All, the letter states that the limited scope of  the inquiry and its “inappropriate theological approach” will do nothing to address the discriminatory effect and intent of the courts on private and family matters: areas where, arguably, the greatest human rights violations of minority women in the UK take place.

Rather than taking a human rights approach, the government has constituted a panel and terms of reference more suited to a discussion in theology than one which serves the needs of victims whose human rights are violated.  By making these religious appointments, the government has lost a vital opportunity to examine the discriminatory nature of not only Sharia bodies but all forms of religious arbitration fora including the Jewish Batei Din.

The panel chair, Mona Siddiqui, above, for example, is herself a theologian. One of the scholars, Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, is the joint secretary for Majlis Ulama-e-Shia, which sends delegations to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In his sermons, he has supported the death penalty in Islamic states, advised Muslims to go into government “and change the system” and says women dressed in “tight clothing” are “corrupted”.
Another scholar, Qari Muhammad Asim, speaks of “men retain[ing] their wives in marriage” and sees women in only relation to their male guardians:

Each women is someone’s mother, daughter, sister or wife.

He also trivialises violence against women by saying:

Women as well as men can be victims of domestic abuse.

Both scholars advising the panel are on Imams Online. Ustadah Khola Hasan, above, a judge at the Islamic Sharia Council, is a contributing editor to Imams Online. Clearly, Imams and Islamic scholars cannot investigate themselves.

Women and Sharia Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism in the UK by Elham Manea published in May 2016 documents the harmful and even life threatening consequences for vulnerable minority women in matters pertaining to the family.  Testimonials gathered by campaigners highlight some of the emotional, mental and physical effects of the courts on women and children.
The women’s rights campaigners are calling on the Home Secretary to establish a thorough and impartial judge-led human rights investigation, which will fully examine arbitration in family matters and whether violations of human rights are condoned or even promoted by Sharia bodies.
Some examples are: women’s testimony being worth half that of a man’s, marital rape, sexual violence and domestic abuse, the age of consent, guardianship, forced marriage, honour-based violence, ritual abuse, child custody and child protection, polygamy, divorce, sexuality, inheritance, inter-religious relationships, female dress codes and abortion.
Broader issues such as the treatment of religious minorities including minority sects in Islam and decisions pertaining to apostasy and blasphemy must also be examined to understand the full range of threats faced by people affected by religious laws, and indeed, by the State promoting these laws.
The press release concludes:

The law and not religion is the key basis for securing justice for all citizens. Campaigners urge the government to do the right thing and ensure that the same principles of human rights, equality before the law, duty of care, due diligence and the rule of law are applicable to all British citizens.

Editor’s note: See video footage of an April 30 conference on Sharia Law, Legal Pluralism and Access to Justice with author Elham Manea and other women’s rights campaigners. Please contribute to a crowdfunding campaign to get a copy of Elham Manea’s Women And Sharia Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism In The UK into the hands of every UK Minister, MP and Peer.

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  • PerUnitVolume

    For as long as religion endures, the rule of law will remain non-existent throughout all human societies.
    No delusional ideology can ever form a credible basis for the rule of law by definition.
    I look at history and see no sign of the rule of law, only the rule of brutality everywhere.
    Anyone who points to their joke of a “justice system” and claims that this means they have the rule of law are woefully deluded or lying.
    At no time in human history has anything ever been done to create the rule of law, for it requires that the brutal tyrannies throughout the world release their sadistic grip on their power to those who have ethical standards equal to the task.
    We are still in the dark ages and I’m not just saying that.
    I absolutely despise having to live in these dark ages with delusional lying slimeballs everywhere, refusing to follow even the lamest of laws.
    Having laws does not give you the rule of law nor do laws mean that they rule you when it is openly obvious that they do no such thing.
    Just because we have fancy gadgets doesn’t mean that everything isn’t still just as shit as thousands of years ago in terms of society and all that.
    Fucking dark ages. That’s all I see.

  • Peanut

    Just like Sir Humphrey Appleby said when asked by the Prime Minister on how to secure a conviction “You pick a judge who does not need to have pressure applied to him”. I agree with Maryam … To whole Enquiry seem to be a sham with a foregone conclusion.
    Pick a card … Any card. … Political sleight of hand. Disgraceful.

  • Peanut

    Government too terrified of upsetting the islamists.

  • Barry Duke

    The Telegraph has been forced to pull an article entitled headlined “Theresa May is a great self-promoter, but a terrible Home Secretary”. Read it in full here:

  • Broga

    “Rather than taking a human rights approach, the government has constituted a panel and terms of reference more suited to a discussion in theology than one which serves the needs of victims whose human rights are violated. ”
    That is a brilliant summary which goes to the core of the panel with its religious experts in bullshit. They will have a great time, and get lots of our money, strutting their stuff while massaging each other’s egos.

  • Since England is okay with two systems of law, I’m sure it won’t mind three. I have a sincerely held belief that I am owed 10% of the money in England. I will compromise and accept 5% immediately because my sincerely held belief is so kind and wise. You are welcome, England.
    Or, perhaps England could remember that it was the nation that gave the world the Magna Carta, one law for all, and end sharia courts immediately.

  • RussellW

    Sharia isn’t a legal system in the usual liberal democratic sense, so ‘Sharia courts’ can’t possibly be valid. They should,in fact, be illegal as they operate in violation of human rights principles.

  • barndoor

    One law for all.
    All = Everyone without exception even those who think because they follow the primitive and barbaric rules of islam that they have a right to ignore the law of the country. If people want sharia, true sharia, without all the benefits and protection of living in a civilised secular democracy then I invite them to fuck off and live in any fly blown sandpit failed islamic country of their choice. Plenty to choose from and all of them rather awful.

  • Laura Roberts

    I can’t believe they use the term “religious scholar” with a straight face — it’s an oxymoron. Good scholarship demands that we investigate and present thoroughly all sides of a claim, but especially counter-arguments and contrasting evidence. Real scholarship requires the discipline and humility to assume you’re wrong about your pet theory until you can demonstrate that it might work. The only so-called “religious scholars” who seem worthy of the name are the mythicists (Doherty, Carrier and others), and even their work has yet to be validated thoroughly.

  • Broga

    @Laura Roberts : On the other hand some theological scholars come up with conclusions that would not be out of place on this site. Years ago a curate (later to leave the church) told me that if he preached what he learned at theological college the congregation would eject him from the pulpit.
    Being a religious scholar for most of them is a great way to become an expert without having to do the usual research and hard work required by real experts. H.L.Mencken has some good stuff on religious experts. I think I read it when he was writing about the Tennessee Monkey Trial.

  • barndoor

    For me ‘scholar’ is a now pejorative term. I would never describe people like Hawking, Higgs, Kraus, Feynman, Dirac,Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens (C), Grayling, Coyne as scholarly. Intellectual – yes. Genius – yes. Scholar – NO.
    The overburdened and disingenous usage of the term scholar in association with a person dogmatically welded to a religion has completly inverted the meaning. A person who has only ever studied one book to the point of being able to recite it and quote from it on demand and defend it to the point of absurdity as the immutable and final word of god, can be called a scholar.
    Scholar – a wilfully dishonest defender of confected immoral absurd primitive texts.
    The term ‘Islamic Scholar’instantly conjures up the vivid image of a spittle flecked, narrow minded, petulant, self loathing, hate freighted, perverted, overblown, bigmouthed, bigotted, shitehawk guttersnipe.

  • L.Long

    Sorry-ass Law and any religious exceptionalism is proof that a muslin (or any other religion) cannot be a true (insert country). And they will try to take over as soon as they can. Think I’m crazy? Well just look at anything east of Europe and over most of history. Dogmatic aholes have been trying for centuries to do so, its only the dogma of the control freaks that have changed. And they are easy to spot as they always say “we AND YOU MUST DO THIS because BS-BS-BS-bs-bs! i.e. “you have to wear the mini-tent because ….. and YOU cannot come into our neighborhood dressed like a slut.”

  • Angela_K

    “Islamic scholar”that would be a person who learns by rote one book to the exclusion of all others.

  • barndoor

    This makes me sick … “Ustadah Khola Hasan, above, a judge at the Islamic Sharia Council”

  • barriejohn

    Similar problems in Pakistan:
    At least SOME are railing against the ridiculous state of affairs.

  • 1859

    Completely irrelevant but Mona the ‘theologian’ looks like something from a Wallace and Gromit film – possibly Chicken Run?
    Ahhh if only they’d do a W & G film about sharia law…

  • barriejohn

    1859: The same thought occurred to me, though I didn’t like to say anything, and I think you are referring to A Matter of Loaf and Death. She certainly does have a strange expression!
    All those “theological books” that line the Muslims’ shelves remind me of the endless volumes churned out by “book clubs” in days gone by – and usually sold to the victims of “impulse buying”. As with those tomes, none of them seem ever to have been opened, let alone read. Maybe they don’t know how to stop them coming!

  • Stephen Mynett

    There can be some quite serious problems joining a book of the month club:

  • 1859

    Spot on barriejohn! – thanks for the pikkie. Yes I’ve often noticed that when writers, academics, politicians and anyone else who wants to be taken seriously are interviewed, they almost invariably have a background filled with books – as though this in itself advertises/guarentees the quality and depth of their intellect. When did you last see an interview with some literati who had pictures of Wallace & Gromit in the background!?

  • John

    I think most of you have not understood that this present government is stuffed with religious zealots.
    May and others like Morgan and Crabb are religious zealots.
    Asking this present lot to do something about religious extremism is pointless because they themselves are religious extremists.
    The only way this situation will change is with a change of government – arguably to one led by Jeremy Corbyn.
    Get it?

  • barriejohn

    John: The Daily Mail is rooting for Theresa May-have-been-a-member-of-the-“Nazi Party”, but also proclaiming the Christian credentials of the other candidates for Tory leadership. Crabb (blatantly homophobic) and that Thatcher MkII “woman that no one’s ever heard of before” are VERY keen, so watch out!
    British politics has long been seen as a hostile environment for those of faith. Religious MPs have struggled to articulate their beliefs without sounding insane and so most have tended to keep religious views personal.
    But there is a re-awakening. We have an openly Muslim Mayor of London from a Labour party that has struggled for years to find room for religious voices.
    The Tory party has often been seen as having a more cultural affinity to Christianity. Despite the tensions between Anglican bishops and Conservative leaders, the Church of England is still sometimes fondly referred to as the “Tory Party at prayer”.
    But it is still striking that each one of the five candidates for Conservative leader have professed some form of religious faith. And for most this goes much deeper than the nod to Britain’s cultural Christianity that has been seen in many Conservative MPs.

  • Broga

    And Crabb, until recently anonymous, has ambitions to be PM. No chance of opening up TFTD if that happens. I think, good Christian that he is, that he had a bit of a glitch over getting expenses money, since repaid, over a property.
    You really do have to be beware of these preachy Christians.

  • barriejohn

    Stephen Mynett: Thanks for that reminder. Nothing’s really changed, though, as you still get phone calls, emails, and endless bumph through the post unless you ticked a little box somewhere to say that you DON’T want it. The Mailing & Telephone Preference Services are absolutely useless, and do bugger-all to stop it.

  • Angela_K

    I heard Crabb being interviewed on Radio 4’s “Today”he was challenged about his homophobia, opposition to equal marriage and links to a religious “gay cure”cult, his answers were very unconvincing – another liar for Jesus.

  • barriejohn

    Angela: Stephen Crabb is the most tolerant, unprejudiced, gay-friendly person that you could wish to meet. I know that because he said so himself!

  • barriejohn

    PS Here’s a really heartwarming story from America that puts Crabb and co to shame:
    They’re also reporting that water pistols are being banned at Trump rallies, but handguns are OK. You couldn’t make it up!

  • barriejohn

    News about Andrea Leadweight – though she’s probably claiming already that she’s changed her mind, as she did about Brexit!

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