I wanted to write to give you a quick update on some of the things we’ve been doing recently, as well as some of our plans for the near future. Thank you, as always, for your support.
Meeting with Trevor Phillips
Recently, Maryam and I met with Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. We told him of our concerns at the existence of sharia tribunals in Britain and the treatment of women by these bodies. We also discussed the refusal of the Charity Commission to grant charity status to secular organisations such as the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain which was refused status by the Commission for being too political, despite the fact that the Islamic Sharia Council – which runs a system of sharia-based family law and promotes Islamism – is a registered charity. Mr Phillips was very supportive and promised to look in to these issues for us. He also agreed to contact Baroness Cox’s office at the House of Lords to discuss her Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill.
Baroness Cox’s Bill
One Law for All has been working closely with Baroness Caroline Cox and her team at the House of Lords helping to promote her Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill, which is due for a second reading in the Lords in October. As we’ve previously reported, the Bill aims to make it unlawful to arbitrate on an unequal basis – such as the testimony being worth less than that of a man – and would create a criminal offence of pretending to have legal powers you do not have; referring to the women who are led to believe that sharia courts are the ‘law of the land’ and told they must accept their rulings. The Bill is due for a second reading in the Lords in October of this year and One Law for All has spoken many times to an audience of Peers informing them of the actions of sharia tribunals and asking that they help to bring this to an end. We will keep you updated on this.
One Law for All was represented by Sundas Hoorain, a human rights lawyer and activist from Pakistan, at the 25th of July ‘London 2012: Justice for Women’ s protest against the Olympic Committee’s failure to implement principles of equality and neutrality. The group outlined its seven demands to Tomas Sithole, director of international Cooperation and Development of the International Olympic Committee. These included a ban on countries that exclude women from their delegations, parity between men and women within Olympic disciplines, and the elimination of discrimination based on sexual stereotypes. Mr Sithole committed himself to giving a complete report on the issues raised at the IOC meeting held on August 8. You can see Sundas Hoorain’s speech at the event here.
The deadline for One Law for All’s Fourth Passion for Freedom Art Competition is 28 September. The competition is open to all artists and will focus on exposing the discriminatory nature of religious based tribunals and encouraging equal rights. We invite artists to create works that encourage open discussion on subjects that are deemed controversial. For more information, click here.
We continue to speak at venues across the country on Sharia law. Upcoming speaking engagements are in Farnham, Coventry, Leicester, London and Jersey. For more information, visit here.
A lot has changed in the public debate on sharia law and equality as a result of our campaign. Please help us to continue our essential work. To donate to the work of One Law for All, you can either send a cheque made payable to One Law for All to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK or pay via Paypal. We also need regular support and for supporters to commit to giving at least £5-10 a month via direct debit. You can find out more about how to donate or join the 100 Club. More details can be found here.
If you shop online, please do so via the Easy Fundraising’s website, to help us raise more money. It won’t cost you anything extra but can help raise much needed funds for One Law for All.
Finally, if you haven’t already signed up to the One Law for All campaign, please join the nearly 29,000 people and groups that have.
Anne Marie Waters
One Law for All Spokesperson
BM Box2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731