England Officially Recognizes Sharia Rulings

British courts will now enforce rulings from Sharia courts in cases ranging from divorce to domestic violence. The five Sharia courts will now be recognized as binding systems of adjudication.

Sharia courts have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester with the network’s headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Two more courts are being planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh. The recognition of these courts — part of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal — was accomplished through the use of a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996. They are now recognized as arbitration tribunals.

Jewish Beth Din courts operate under the same provision for many years.

For the full story, click here.

12 thoughts on “England Officially Recognizes Sharia Rulings”

  1. One does not have to know Sharia(sic)Law to be against its’ inclusion into GB’s civil canon. The same is true of the Bet Din, or even the 10 Commandments. Religious law of any form has no place in any serious legal system. First of all because there is no “set” law in any religion and so the rulings always come from the private religious notions of the particular expert or sect. Briefly, Sunni and Shi’a religious law contains varying perspectives. Jewish Hallacha depends on whether you are Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform and within those categories there are differences. The Catholic Legal Canon differs with Protestant Legal Theories and that doesn’t even take into account the various denominations and Mormanism. This doesn’t even take into account Hindu’s, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, etc., who no doubt have varying sects, each with their own set of beliefs.

    While the argument can be made that GB’s (or our) Civil Law is also open to interpretation, that interpretation is controlled by systems that for the most part represent a workable framework for
    uniformity of justice. This is true even though anyone could give many examples of systemic breakdowns. Religious Law does not have these systemic controls and is infused with the passion and zealotry of believers. This seems to me to be a poor way to provide legal protections to society.

  2. If one does not know another well enough, one does not fall in love with each other. So do we really know the Sharia Law that well to warrant us to condemn it without knowing a single hoot of what Sharia Law is all about? Do we know anything at all about the Islamic Holy Book, the Al-Qur’an, from which the Sharia Law is based on? Until I can answer those simple questions, then I dare not say and comment anything that will only smack me back in my own ugly face…

  3. As Melanie Phillips, Spectator’s journalist and blogger, said:

    “there’s nothing new here at all. The rulings of the sharia courts, which have been in existence for years, have always been enforceable under the Arbitration Acts, as is all dispute resolution. They have not suddenly been given the force of law. In that respect, the story seems to be overheated and misleading.”

    But… “The key point is that sharia law is not compatible with English law or the principles of equality and human rights that it embodies.”

    And… “Indeed, if this continues Britain will break up as a unitary state governed by one law for all. Sharia law should be stopped, not condoned or encouraged. No other minority in Britain either wants or is permitted to live under an alternative legal system. This is the way a society fractures — and then goes under.”

  4. MASkeptic,

    PC is an issue; the last thing a politician wants to be labeled as is unfriendly towards religion. So rather than ‘offending millions of constituents of the world’s largest religion’ (sound familiar from political talk shows?) they go out of their way to cater to these special interest groups and, unfortunately, undermine civil rights in the process. I would hate to be a battered woman in a Sharia-governed district.

    As far as your objection goes, I can see from your first comment that we are largely in agreement. I think you’re just trying to make a nuanced point in your second comment.

  5. Actually Danny, let’s be fair. I don’t really think this is an issue about political correctness, it is a legitimate concern about the roles civil laws vs. religious laws play in someones life.

    The issue as I see it:
    If a dispute arises from two persons who have engaged in a social contract where the contract’s very nature is rooted in the participants cultural/religious background, it is reasonable to expect that both parties would want someone who is AT LEAST familiar with the cultural/religious realities of the parties involved to rule on the case.

    I’m still pondering how I feel about this when stripped of the ‘isms. I know if I went to trial I would want a judge who wouldn’t suffer from culture shock when he heard the case.

  6. In the six cases of domestic violence, Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment.

    In each case, the women subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police and the police stopped their investigations.

    Siddiqi said that in the domestic violence cases, the advantage was that marriages were saved and couples given a second chance.

    Great, so some Islamic wives got their faces smashed in and the redeeming part of the Sharia law system is that the couple STAYS TOGETHER?????? The abusers should be thrown in jail and the women should divorce these creeps and seek counseling from social services! This development is so, so wrong. When are PC politicians going to wake up and realize that bending to the will of the extremist religious establishment only compromises the liberties of a country’s citizens?

  7. This type of ruling that could allow or sanction the physical and mental torture of women is abhorrent. This is the British version of the religious right wanting to bring “God’s Law” into the government and courts. Any religious “court” must only be used for religious matters and should not be allowed to creep into the secular systems.

  8. “The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.”

    I must agree with MASkeptic that this ruling is dangerous and wrong. In Sharia law men and women are, from the beginning, treated unequally. If inequality before the law is your starting point you can’t end with justice. No arbitration that does not begin with the legal equality of both parties, be that arbitration secular or religious, should be allowed to make rulings on the parties. I find this same problem with US mandatory arbitration clauses. Certainly this more serious, because beyond financial ruin, physical beating of women by men can be allowed to continue under Sharia.

  9. Giving force of law to religious courts is plain stupidity. I don’t care if they are civil issues. In all religions the “law” is in the eye of the beholder(judge). To allow religious law of any sort as an
    arm of justice begets a slippery slope that will lead to intolerance and totalitarian behaviors. history is replete with examples.

  10. Orthodox (insert religion here) is a threat to racial and sexual equality.
    It’s not funny, it’s not quant, it’s not rural.
    It is wrong.
    This system is a farce.
    Or am I to believe that a woman who’s been taught all her life to obey her husband and not to question men would insist on having her divorce handled by a secular court?

    What would happen if a Sharia court ordered a wife beaten for arguing with her husband? Or ordered a homosexual stoned to death? These are civil issues but I don’t know what the limits of their enforcement authority reach, even before taking into account he kind of thug ‘justice’ that we’ve seen on the streets in countries where the Mosque runs the country.

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