Ban Sharia Courts in the UK: A Time Bomb
Ban Sharia Law in the UK
It is a welcome development to learn that “Nus Ghani, Wealden’s MP raised the issue with Home Secretary Theresa May and secured a review on Sharia during a Home Affairs Select Committee meeting last week as recent reports suggest there are around 30 operating in the UK.” A piece of research from the University of Reading has identified 30 major councils, and some smaller ones, providing services such as issuing Islamic divorce certificates, and give advice on other aspects of religious law. These councils, which are often attached to mosques, are said to also provide family mediation.
A number of women’s organisations are said have urged the Government to place an outright ban on courts seeking to uphold Islamic law.
It is pertinent to mention that there other organisations who have raised red alerts on the dangers posed by the existence and practices of Sharia Law in the UK. In my article titled “Sharia Law an Islamic Fundamentalism”, a presentation at a seminar during the Apostolic and Prophetic in 2012, I discussed some salient and indeed valid reasons why the existence Sharia Law is a conducive atmosphere for breeding Islamic Jihad.
In this article, I would like to argue that it would do the UK good to band Sharia law outright.
Supremacy over other Laws
The first reason why Sharia law should be outlawed in the UK is due to the fact it does not recognise any other law. Invariable, it claims supremacy over civil and customary laws. Secondly, there is no guarantee that the rights of women will be respected. A 40-page report by “A Parallel World: Confronting the Abuse of Many Muslim Women in Britain Today,” which was authored by Baroness Caroline Cox, a cross-bench member of the British House of Lords and one of the leading defenders of women’s rights in the UK, asserts that “Muslim women across Britain are being systematically oppressed, abused and discriminated against by Sharia law courts that treat women as second-class citizens, according to a new report, which warns against the spiralling proliferation of Islamic tribunals in the United Kingdom.” A Muslim woman interviewed for the report said, “I feel betrayed by Britain. I came here to get away from this and the situation is worse here than in the country I escaped from.”
Closely related to the lack of protection for women, Sharia law does not protect the rights of minorities or non-adherents of Islam. The rights of Christians and other religions are not protected in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan Syria, Iraq etc. The current blasphemy law in Pakistan, for example, puts the lives of Christians and other minorities are in constant peril. According to human rights watch, in Pakistan, “Abuses are rife under the country’s abusive blasphemy law, which is used against religious minorities, often to settle personal disputes. Dozens of people were charged with the offense in 2013. At least 16 people remained on death row for blasphemy, while another 20 were serving life sentences at time of writing the report. Aasia Bibi, a Christian from Punjab province, who in 2010 became the first woman in the country’s history to be sentenced to death for blasphemy, languished in prison.”
A catalyst for Islamic Fundamentalism
The second reason is that Sharia Law is the main catalyst for the rise of Islamic Jihad. Using Nigeria as an example, it is pertinent to mention that Sahara Law in Nigeria used to be practised as personal law, supposedly to Muslims only until its full implementation in 1999 in 12 northern states. Apart from the consequent backlash of religious riots, which led to wanton destruction of lives and property, there have been serious human right abuses in northern Nigeria. Boko-Haram is the offshoot or monster that Sahara Law gave birth to in Nigeria. The brutal and gruesome killing of thousands of men, women and children would have been avoided had the previous governments of Nigeria headed to warnings of well-meaning Nigerians. However, due to fear, personal and political compromise and political correctness, the political class allowed Sharia to be implemented and flourish in northern Nigeria. The former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, was quoted as saying “Sharia in Nigeria will die a natural death.” How naive and ignorant for him to have made such a statement, which is far from the truth, knowing fully well that spiritual matters do not die naturally. It was a colossal understatement that has caused Nigerians thousands of lives and property, and it remains the single major factor that can potentially divide the country.
Apart from Nigeria, there is not a single country in the world where Sharia Law is practised that is devoid of Islamic Jihad and human right abuses.
It is tantamount to contradiction for Britain to be at the forefront of war against Islamic fundamentalists such as Al-Qaida, Boko Haram and ISIL who are fighting for the full implementation of Sharia Law in their countries and in the world at large to allow the practice of Sharia Law on its shores.
Radicalisation and Grooming
The alarming rate of radicalisation of young British and grooming cannot be overlooked any longer. If the following statistics are true then the situation is dire.
Britain, about 1/2 of Muslims support ISIS, ICM (Mirror) Poll 2015: 1.5 Million British Muslims support the Islamic State, about half the total population.
- GfK NOP: 28% of British Muslims want Britain to be an Islamic state.” (http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/ShariaLawOrOneLawForAll.pdf)
- Center for Social Cohesion: 40% of British Muslim students want Sharia.” (http://www.socialcohesion.co.uk/pdf/IslamonCampus.pdf)
- United Kingdom, “In 2012, it emerged that over a thousand mostly white young girls in the northern England town of Rotherham were systematically groomed, trafficked, beaten and sexually abused by rape gangs consisting of mainly Pakistani Muslim men. A report released earlier this month confirmed that the local Labour government council and the police covered up this horror because they were afraid of being characterized as racist or politically incorrect.” (http://www.infowars.com/feminists-mute-on-muslim-rape-epidemic-sweeping-europe/)
Blasphemy and apostasy
A Sharia court (in the case Britain council) may treat blasphemy as deserving of several punishments up to, and including, execution. In many predominantly Muslim countries, conversion from Islam to another religion is illegal and often a capital offence. What is the fate of British Muslims who may wish to convert to Christianity, other religions or become agnostics or atheists?
According to humans rights reports 2015, In Saudi Arabia “Detainees, including children, commonly face systematic violations of due process and fair trial rights, including arbitrary arrest and torture and ill-treatment in detention. Saudi judges routinely sentence defendants to floggings of hundreds of lashes. Judges can order arrest and detention, including of children, at their discretion. Children can be tried for capital crimes and sentenced as adults if physical signs of puberty exist. Saudi Arabia applies Sharia (Islamic law) as the law of the land. Judges decide many matters relating to criminal offences pursuant to Sharia in accordance with established rules of jurisprudence and precedent.”
If these reports of violation human rights in Saudi Arabia are true then urgent steps need to be taken to re-examine the practice of Sharia Law in the United Kingdom.
In terms of demography, the fact that a Muslim could easily divorce his wife and marry another woman, there is the possibly of the proliferation of young single Muslims women who will be solely dependent on social services.
How prepared is the government to accommodate demands from other minority groups such as Hindus, Sikh etc. for separate legal systems? And since it is predicted that by 2050 Christianity will become a minority religion in the UK, will Christian demand for separate law courts or councils be regarded as genuine and legitimate?
In conclusion, I suggest that Sharia Law should be abolished so that all British citizens and residents of the UK be under one Law, the British Law. Britain for now is a predominantly Christian country, with British laws essentially based on Christian values, it is only fair to say only these laws should be allowed to exist in any form, since to the best of my knowledge British laws are not practised in any of the sovereign Sharia practising countries.
PhD, PGCE, MA, BED