Child ‘marriages’ and Sharia courts: It must end now


Dear Friend,

We are writing to you today to ask for your urgent and immediate support.

As you may have seen in the papers recently, there is growing evidence that young children – some as young at 5 years old – are being “married” to older men in Sharia courts across Britain. This is increasingly being sanctioned by the Islamists who run Britain’s network of Sharia courts, and there is evidence that this practice is growing.

Recent Investigations

A recent undercover investigation by the Sunday Times found imams in Britain willing to “marry” young girls, provided this was carried out in secret. The imams had been approached by an undercover reporter posing as a father who said he wanted his 12 year old daughter married, to prevent her from being tempted in to a “western lifestyle”.

Imam Mohammed Kassamali, of the Husaini Islamic Centre in Peterborough, sanctioned the marriage, but stressed the need for total secrecy. He stated: “I would love the girl to go to her husband’s houses (sic) as soon as possible, the younger the better. Under sharia (Islamic law) there is no problem. It is said she should see her first sign of puberty at the house of her husband. The problem is that we cannot explain such things (the marriage) if the girl went tomorrow (to the authorities).”

Abdul Haque, who officiates at weddings at the Shoreditch mosque, east London agreed to carry out the formalities of the wedding. However, he told the reporter that he should “tell people it is an engagement but it will be a marriage”. He added: “In Islam, once the girl reaches puberty the father has the right, the parents have the right, but under the laws of this country if the girl complains and says her marriage has been arranged and she wasn’t of marriageable age, then the person who performed the marriage will be jailed as well as the mother and father”.

Earlier this year, it was also reported that at least 30 girls, some as young as 9, were “married” in sharia courts in one London borough alone.

Clearly, child “marriages” are an abomination; they are nothing short of religiously-sanctioned child rape and paedophilia.

Sharia proponents deceptively say that forced marriages are unacceptable under Sharia and that both bride and groom must choose to marry as if that is the issue at hand. Islamists have gotten away with years of misogyny against Muslim women under cover of “choice” and are now using similar language with regards children. Nonetheless, child welfare must take precedence irrespective of religious beliefs. This is something we must urgently remind the Government of. Sharia courts are a scandal and must be stopped.

Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill

One important way to tackle this matter is to galvanise support for the Arbitration and Mediation (Equality) Bill introduced to the House of Lords last year by crossbench peer, Baroness Caroline Cox. The Bill is due for a second reading in October.

The Government has so far declined to support Cox’s Bill. They do not believe there is a parallel legal system in operation. They also insist that everyone has full right of access to the British courts. This is simply not the case. There are many with little or no English language skills, trapped by community pressure, who believe Sharia courts operate as real courts and who regard their decisions as legally binding. The idea that they can easily instruct a high street solicitor to help them access their full rights under UK law is far from reality.

The Government must be pressured into taking immediate action, including by supporting Cox’s Bill, and shutting down Sharia and religious courts. If child welfare takes precedence then the Government is duty-bound to take action.

Sign our new petition in support of Baroness Cox’s Bill; tell the Government that enough is enough! Please sign it now.

Help Us

Baroness Cox has said in the past that her Bill was inspired by One Law for All. To donate to our important work, please either send a cheque made payable to One Law for All to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK or pay via Paypal. We need regular support and also for supporters to commit to giving at least £5-10 a month via direct debit. You can find out more about how to join the 100 Club here.

If you shop online, please do so via the Easy Fundraising’s website. It won’t cost you anything extra but can help raise much needed funds for One Law for All.

We look forward to your immediate intervention in this matter.

Best wishes,

Maryam Namazie and Anne Marie Waters
Spokespersons
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731
onelawforall@gmail.com
www.onelawforall.org.uk

Comments

  1. Dunc says

    Given that these arrangements are already completely illegal (as evidenced by the need for total secrecy), how will altering the status of these “sharia courts” prevent such marriages from continuing? It’s not like they’re being officially sanctioned as it is. I support the Bill, but tying this particular issue to it doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • F says

      I took it as making justice more available to those who are insulated by their own culture or community. Simply running this bill through the houses of law, I’m sure, is meant to increase public awareness and prompt the existing law(s) to be better enforced.

      IOW, the actual intent of the bill seems to be to make it easier for this to happen:

      The problem is that we cannot explain such things (the marriage) if the girl went tomorrow (to the authorities).”

      I could be wrong; I have not re-read the bill since the last time the involvement of One Law For All came up.

    • says

      When you live in a society where even the government and some mainstream humanist organisations condones sharia courts and say it is people’s right to religion, you allow for the unmentionable to happen. The Islamists began with marriage and divorce, saying they are dealing merely with mundane civil matters, then they went into areas of child custody and domestic violence (which is a criminal matter here) and now child marriages. It is also supposedly illegal for arbitration to be involved with family matters, criminal matters and child welfare matters but they are doing it now. Banning it will have the impact of reducing it and making clear where the law and society lies. Laws against domestic violence haven’t ended it but they have helped. Banning sharia courts will help to reduced the abuse and discrimination faced by women and girls in particular.

  2. darnoujoum says

    I totally agree and have signed. Do the british gov accept sharia marriages if both people are over the age of consent as proof for benefits etc? Can sharia be used as means to commit what in britain is termed bigamy?

  3. Tumbledown Survivor says

    British law should be the only law in Britain. Sharia law has no place in the modern world and should be totally banned in Britain. Those that force Sharia law upon the innocent or the unknowing should be severely punished.

  4. Michael james says

    Before this piece was published the Muslim Council for Britain carried the press release of Islamic centre in Peterborough disowning the claims of the imam. The network of “Shariah Courts” of which you speak in somewhat hysterical tones are properly constituted Arbitration Panels. The law allowing them to be set up limits their jurisdiction, they have no jurisdiction with regard to marriages, but like the Jewish Beth Din will grant confirmation that the religious formalities for a divorce have been met, after a civil divorce has been granted. Many people only consider themselves divorced after this, even though many Muslim scholars say a civil divorce ends Marriage. As for “Islamists in charge”, the tribunals must consist of art least one person knowledgeable in Islamic law, and one qualified barrister of England and Wales. Please don’t inflame public opinion without knowing the facts.

    • says

      Arbitration is not meant to be used for family and criminal matters. It is however not illegal to do so which is why sharia courts can continue. To do arbitration the two people have to be there voluntarily. There is ample evidence that this is not the case. Also they must be of equal standing, which again is not the case due to a woman’s testimony being worth half that of a man’s. The Cox bill will ensure that it is made illegal. It may sound hysterical to you to call for equal rights for people irrespective of their background or beliefs but it is 21 century values for most people. Also Islamists run sharia courts. That qualified English barristers or the UK government for that matter think there’s no problem with it doesn’t really strengthen your position. Feel free of course to support Sharia courts which is an Islamist project to deny people rights and we will be free to defend rights and secularism.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Maryam reports that there’s growing evidence that very young girls are being “married” to much older men in Sharia courts in the UK. Girls as young as five. A recent undercover investigation by the Sunday Times found imams in Britain willing to “marry” young girls, provided this was carried out in secret. The imams had been approached by an undercover reporter posing as a father who said he wanted his 12 year old daughter married, to prevent her from being tempted in to a “western lifestyle”. […]

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