Here is still another dismal and utterly unacceptable report of Sharia in action in Britain. Note that the wife has been “repeatedly” beaten (see also: Qur’an 4:34), but must make her case to the Sharia court while her husband could simply obtain a “triple talaq” divorce, as described below. The court seems to find this unremarkable. There seems to be no particular urgency to ensure justice (according to non-Sharia standards) or even safety for her.
There is so much else that is wrong even in the one case described in the story below. Jameela’s case is fraught with conduct that Sharia courts should be legally bound to report to civil authorities, including domestic violence and polygamy. No protests, no negotiations, no excuses. “Sharia: a law unto itself?” by Jonathan Wynn-Jones for the Telegraph, August 7 (thanks to all who sent this in):
After being beaten repeatedly by her husband — who had also threatened to kill her — Jameela turned to her local Sharia council in a desperate bid for a way out of her marriage. Today she discovers the verdict. Playing nervously with her hands, the young mother-of-three listens as the panel of judges discuss whether they should grant her a divorce.
The council meets once a month at the Birmingham Central Mosque. Many of the cases relate to divorce and involve the husbands and wives entering the room separately to make their appeals.
In an airless room in the bowels of the mosque, Jameela is asked to explain why she wants a divorce. She replies that her husband spends most of his time with his second wife — Islamic law allows men to have up to four wives — but complains he is abusive whenever he returns to her home.
Across the desk, Dr Mohammed Naseem, chair of the mosque’s Sharia council, sits alongside Talha Bokhari, a white-robed imam, and Amra Bone, the only woman sitting on an Islamic court in this country.
While a husband is not required to go through official channels to gain a divorce — being able to achieve this merely by uttering the word “talaq” — Islamic law requires that the wife must persuade the judges to grant her a dissolution.
Although the judges appear sympathetic, they are concerned about the rights of the father, as Islamic law says he is still responsible for his children’s education. “For the sake of the children, you must keep up the faÃ§ade of cordial relations,” says Dr Naseem. “The worst thing that can happen to a child is to see the father and mother quarrelling.”
The burden is on the wife to “keep up the faÃ§ade of cordial relations.” The husband clearly hasn’t been doing his part there.
Jameela is one of hundreds of Muslims applying to Islamic courts every week for a ruling on family and financial issues. While these courts may be the cornerstone of many of Britain’s Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities, there are growing concerns that they are creating a parallel legal system — and one that is developing completely unchecked.
Michael Nazir-Ali, the former Bishop of Rochester who was born in Pakistan, was accused of scaremongering after he said, in this newspaper three years ago, that parts of the country were being turned into “no-go” areas for non-Muslims. “To understand the impact of Sharia law you have to look at other countries,” he says. “At its heart it has basic inequalities between Muslims and non-Muslims, and between men and women.”
Last month, Islamic extremists put up posters in the London boroughs of Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Newham, warning residents that they were entering a “Sharia-controlled zone” where Islamic rules were enforced and gambling, alcohol and music was banned. The posters were later removed by police.
Alan Craig, a former Newham councillor who has lived in the area for 30 years, says: “I can no longer walk to my local shops and find anywhere to buy conventional, non-halal meat. Posters at bus stops of swimwear models are spray-painted over with a burka. The pavements are crowded with women wearing not just the face-veil, but black gloves to hide their hands.”
He recalls that last September, staff at a local primary school assured Muslim parents that they would ensure their children observed Ramadan by refusing them food and drink, even though Britain was in the middle of a heatwave. “I was stunned. This is where we”ve got ourselves to. Secular authorities policing Ramadan for Muslim parents.”
It is only a few minutes” walk from Newham to Leyton, home to the headquarters of the Islamic Sharia Council, a body set up in 1982 that oversees about a dozen Sharia courts across the country. It is estmated that there are as many as 85 Sharia courts in Britain. One of the judges who sits on the Leyton council, Dr Suhaib Hasan, wants Britain to introduce the penal law where women are stoned for committing adultery, and robbers have their hands amputated.
The contrast between this and the council at Birmingham Central Mosque reflects how the interpretation of Sharia — which unlike Western law has never been codified — can differ markedly between communities.
That should be no comfort. An inconsistent legal system is a defective one that lends itself to deception, as a shape-shifting jellyfish that can’t really be said to be anything — at least not anything bad. Though apologists employ that supposed flexibility as a defense, Sharia has been consistent in falling short of basic standards of human rights. Either way you slice it (and Sharia knows a thing or two about slicing), it is simply bad government.
Based on the Koran and the Sunnah, the two main Islamic texts that deal with how Muslims should lead their lives, Sharia covers everything from diet and hygiene to bigger issues such as crime and relationships.
The Sunnah is not a text, but the words and example of Muhammad as found in biographies (Sira) and ahadith.
In an attempt to counter the proliferation of these courts, a Bill has been tabled in the House of Lords by Baroness Cox calling for Sharia courts to be outlawed where they conflict with the British legal system….