Sharia courts are now operating in Britain, and what’s the big deal? They’re just private, voluntary arbitration tribunals, like similar arbitration panels for Jews and Catholics.
In “Britain Adopts Sharia” in Chronicles, September 16, Serge Trifkovic explains what’s wrong with that analogy:
Muslim activists point out that allegedly simiral Jewish family courts (Bet Din) and Catholic marriage tribunals have existed in Britain for many years, but there is a major difference: such courts explicitly claim jurisdiction only over their believers, whereas according to orthodox Islamic teaching shari”a is the only legitimate law in the world, with universal jurisdiction over Muslims and non-Muslims alike. To a devout Muslim the incorporation of shari”a into British law is by no means the end of the affair. It is merely a major milestone on the road that cannot stop short of subjecting all Britons, regardless of faith, to the strictures of Allah’s commandment and Muhammad’s example.
And he also reports that Islamic law is already taking precedence over British law:
…Shari”a courts with these powers have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester with the network’s headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, with two more courts planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh. A visibly pleased Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the courts, explains that he had taken advantage of a clause in the British Arbitration Act of 1996, which classifies sharia courts as “arbitration tribunals” whose rulings are binding in law once both parties in a dispute agree to accept its authority. It goes without saying that battered Muslim wives and disinherited Muslim daughters will “freely choose” the authority of shari”a courts rather than face various unpleasant and potentially fatal consequences of not conforming to the “community”s” rules and preferences.
What this means in practice was evident from a recent inheritance dispute in the Midlands, when the Nuneaton shari”a court divided the estate of a Muslim father between three daughters and two sons. The “judges” gave the sons twice as much as the daughters””perfectly in accordance with sharia, of course, but contrary to any regular British court, which would have given the daughters equal shares. In six cases of domestic violence quoted by Siddiqi, the “judges” ordered the husbands to take “anger management” classes and “mentoring from community elders” (such as imams and shari”a judges). In each case, the battered women subsequently withdrew the complaints and the police stopped their investigations. It should be noted that under normal British law those six cases could have been prosecuted as criminal, rather than “family” cases….