The Independent also reported on the matter of the Law Society’s guidance on Sharia-compliant wills and the reactions to same. At the end it gives the Law Society’s take:
The new guidelines are one example of the practice notes that the Law Society issues for the use and benefit of its members.
These documents represent the Law Society’s view of good practice in a particular area. Lawyers are not required to follow them, but doing so makes it easier for them to account to oversight bodies for their actions.
The Law Society has an article on its website blaming bad journalism for being all wrong about the Law Society’s guidance.
Law Society president Nicholas Fluck has attacked as ‘inaccurate and ill-informed’ press reports that the Society is promoting sharia law.
He was speaking after campaigners for secularism called for the withdrawal of a practice note advising solicitors to draw up wills in compliance with Islamic law.
Fluck said: ‘We live in a diverse multi-faith, multi-cultural society. The Law Society responded to requests from its members for guidance on how to help clients asking for wills that distribute their assets in accordance with sharia practice.
You know – as soon as you hear someone say that, check your wallet and your genitals and your rights. As soon as people start talking about living in (and thus owing deference to) a multi-faith society, they have shoved women out of the picture. As soon as you make multi-faith determinitive of what needs to be obeyed, you have handed the whole thing over to men. It is only a tiny minority of a minority of religions that allow women to be clergy and thus have an equal role in making and interpreting the rules. Most religions do the very opposite of that. Once you set “faiths” up as the arbiters, you have amputated women’s rights. Period.
So that’s half the population excluded. So people who live in secular democracies don’t owe those “faiths” any deference. We don’t. They operate in terms that are wholly illegitimate to people who have grown up with equal rights.
Charlie Klendjian, secretary of the Lawyers’ Secular Society, called for the note to be withdrawn.
‘By issuing this practice note the Law Society is legitimising and normalising – or at the very least being seen to legitimise and normalise – the distribution of assets in accordance with the discriminatory provisions of sharia law. This is a worrying precedent to set.’
I hope the Law Society isn’t dismissing what Charlie Klendjian said as “bad journalism.”
Maajid Nawaz did an excellent response to the “guidance” on Twitter.
Maajid Nawaz @MaajidNawaz
Yes,law hasn’t changed&there’s bad reporting.But why’s UK @LawSociety giving advice that discriminates against people like my Muslim mother?
So, to those patronising elements within UK @LawSociety please kindly stay the hell out of our religion. It’s called secularism, stupid
By assuming medieval interpretation of Islam is more authentic, UK @LawSociety betrays progressive Muslims http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/islamic-law-to-be-enshrined-in-british-law-as-solicitors-get-guidelines-on-sharia-compliant-wills-9210682.html …@LawSecSoc
Wondering what fuss is about? Here’s @TheLawSociety deciding medieval Islam is more authentic than contemporary forms http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/islamic-law-to-be-enshrined-in-british-law-as-solicitors-get-guidelines-on-sharia-compliant-wills-9210682.html …
Discrimination in wills is legal. But it’s not the business of @TheLawSociety to interpret Islam in a medieval way& advise on discrimination
Secularism, ok? The Law Society should be secular. That’s not asking much.