Sharia courts in Britain ?
Yes there are Sharia courts in United Kingdom. This is what Wikipedia say about it.
The Islamic Sharia Council (ISC) is a British organisation that provides legal rulings and advice to Muslims in accordance with its interpretation of Islamic Sharia based on the four Sunni schools of thought. It primarily handles cases of marriage and divorce and, to a lesser extent business and finance. According to BBC News, thousands of Muslims have turned to the Council to resolve family and financial issues. The Economist magazine states it has offered rulings to “thousands of troubled families since the 1980s”, the council states that it has dealt with an average of between 200 and 300 cases monthly as of January 2012.
The council has no legal authority United Kingdom,and cannot enforce any penalties; many Muslims would appear voluntarily to accept the rulings made by the ISC.
Now lot of women has petitioned British Parliament against Sharia courts.
We are women who have experienced abuse and violence in our personal lives. Most of us come from Muslim backgrounds, but some of us come from other minority faiths.
We are compelled to voice our alarm about the growing power of religious bodies such as Sharia Councils and their bid for control over our lives. We oppose any religious body – whether presided over by men or women – that seeks to rule over us: because they do not have any authority to speak or make decisions on our behalf and because they are not committed to women’s rights and social justice. Whether we are women of Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or Christian faiths or of no faith, we have much in common with each other in the face of cruelty, tyranny and discrimination in our families, in our communities, and in the wider society. Many of us are deeply religious, but for us religion is in our hearts: a private matter between us and our God. Religion is not – and must not be – something that can be used to deny us our freedom or the little pieces of happiness that we find by mixing and borrowing from many different traditions and cultures which give meaning to our otherwise difficult existence.
We know from personal experiences that many religious bodies such as Sharia Councils are presided over by hard line or fundamentalist clerics who are intolerant of the very idea that women should be in control of their own bodies and minds. These clerics claim to be acting according to the word of God: but they are often corrupt, primarily interested in making money and abuse their positions of power by shaming and slandering those of us who reject those aspects of our religions and cultures that we find oppressive. We pay a huge price for not submitting to domestic violence, rape, polygamy and child abuse and other kinds of harm. For this reason alone, we are fearful of religious laws and rulings from such bodies. Our experience in our countries of origin and in our communities tells us that they are deeply discriminatory and divisive. They will weaken our collective struggles for security and independence.
We struggle to fit into this country and to educate our children, especially our daughters, and to protect them and give them a better life. We struggle to have our experiences of violence and abuse addressed properly in accordance with the principles of equality and justice for all. We do not wish to be judged by reference to fundamentalist codes that go against our core values of compassion, tolerance and humanity. We do not want to go backwards or to be delivered back into the hands of our abusers and those who shield them.
Many of us have not made public comments on this issue, because we are afraid of the consequences of doing so openly. All of us have faced abuse and we are desperately trying to rebuild our lives in the face of constant and continuing threats and trauma. Some of us have used only our first names to support this statement, but we feel strongly enough about this matter to do so.
We do not want Sharia Councils or other religious bodies to rule our lives. We demand the right to be valued as human beings and as equals before one law for all. We demand the right to follow our own desires and aspirations.
Also this week, One Law for All submitted devastating new evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into Sharia Councils on how violence and gender inequality lie at the heart of the courts.
By permitting Sharia courts, Britain is clearly failing to meet its obligations to gender equality in the family as specified in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
According to Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters:
Muslim fundamentalists have mounted what can be described as a two pronged pincer like manoeuvre based ostensibly on the demand for religious tolerance, but which is in reality a bid for power in which the control of female sexuality is central.
On the one hand they seek to ensure that personal religious codes are normalised within the legal system, and on the other they seek to formalise a parallel legal system through the establishment of alternative religious forums for dispute resolution in family matters. This process – a sort of ‘shariafication by stealth’ of the legal apparatus – involves making state law and policy ‘Sharia’ compliant’.
Maryam Namazie, spokesperson of One Law For All writes:
Despite all efforts to repackage and rebrand the courts, including by Islamic feminists, Sharia courts represent a concerted attempt by Islamists to normalise the denial of women’s rights in the family and gain further influence.
Clearly, Sharia courts are not compliant with either British law or international human rights treaties. By undermining British legal principles of equality before the law, the universal concept of one law for all and the protection of the rights of women and children, these courts help to increase discrimination, intimidation and threats against the most vulnerable.
By accommodating them, the government is itself in breach of its obligations.
The law and not religion must be the key basis for securing justice for all citizens.
Religion is the most misogynist institution in the world and patriarchy can be over turned only by defeating it.