|Whitechapel High Street in east London. The area is predominantly |
Muslim; just over half the population is of Bangladeshi descent.
Lady Cox says aim is to prevent discrimination against Muslim women and 'jurisdiction creep' in Islamic tribunals
SELF-LOATHING: This is the best word I can think of for modern Western Society. The so-called educated "elite" hate themselves, hate their lives, hate the free market system, hate their political freedoms and hate their nations. The Elite do everything in their power to destroy all the progress mankind has made.
As part of their self-loathing hate they write laws to import countless millions of foreigners. Many of these foreigners are viewed as every so much smarter and wiser than the evil Westerners. They are even allowed private religious courts to by-pass the secular court system and laws that the rest of society must live under. But a few are fighting back.
Islamic courts would be forced to acknowledge the primacy of English law under a bill being introduced in the House of Lords.
The bill, proposed by Lady Caroline Cox and backed by women's rights groups and the National Secular Society, was drawn up because of "deep concerns" that Muslim women are suffering discrimination within closed Sharia law councils.
Baroness Caroline Cox
The Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill will introduce an offence carrying a five-year jail sentence for anyone falsely claiming or implying that sharia courts or councils have legal jurisdiction over family or criminal law. The bill, which will apply to all arbitration tribunals if passed, aims to tackle discrimination, which its supporters say is inherent in the courts, by banning the sharia practice of giving woman's testimony only half the weight of men's.
Cox said: "Equality under the law is a core value of British justice. My bill seeks to preserve that standard".
In a similar way to Jewish Beth Din courts, sharia tribunals can make verdicts in cases involving financial and property issues which, under the 1996 Arbitration Act, are enforceable by county courts or the high court.
The tribunals should only be deciding civil disputes but two years ago the think-tank Civitas claimed sharia courts, some 85 of which operate in Birmingham, London, Bradford and Manchester, had crossed the proper limits of their jurisdiction and were regularly giving illegal advice on marriage and divorce.
|Disputes: Islamic leaders rule on disagreements|
Diana Nammi, of the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, said: "Women and children are very vulnerable members of the community and under sharia law they become invisible. Women and children are the most vulnerable in minority communities where religion tradition and culture has become the identity taking precedence over the human rights and women's rights that are protected under civil, UK law."
85+ Sharia Courts in Operation
At least 85 Islamic sharia courts are operating in Britain. The astonishing figure is 17 times higher than previously accepted.
The tribunals, working mainly from mosques, settle financial and family disputes according to religious principles. They lay down judgments which can be given full legal status if approved in national law courts.
However, they operate behind doors that are closed to independent observers and their decisions are likely to be unfair to women and backed by intimidation, a report by independent think-tank Civitas said.
Commentators on the influence of sharia law often count only the five courts in London, Manchester, Bradford, Birmingham and Nuneaton that are run by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, a body whose rulings are enforced through the state courts under the 1996 Arbitration Act.
Academic and Islamic specialist Denis MacEoin estimates there are at least 85 working tribunals.
Mr MacEoin said: 'Among the rulings we find some that advise illegal actions and others that transgress human rights standards as applied by British courts.'
Examples set out in his study include a ruling that no Muslim woman may marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam and that any children of a woman who does should be taken from her until she marries a Muslim.
Further rulings, according to the report, approve polygamous marriage and enforce a woman's duty to have sex with her husband on his demand.
The report added: 'The fact that so many sharia rulings in Britain relate to cases concerning divorce and custody of children is of particular concern, as women are not equal in sharia law, and sharia contains no specific commitment to the best interests of the child that is fundamental to family law in the UK.
'Under sharia, a male child belongs to the father after the age of seven, regardless of circumstances.'
It said: 'Sharia courts operating in Britain may be handing down rulings that are inappropriate to this country because they are linked to elements in Islamic law that are seriously out of step with trends in Western legislation.'