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Sharia Courts Rule Against British Law

Sharia Courts Rule Against British Law

Publication: Trumpet.com
Date: June 30, 2009
URL: http://www.thetrumpet.com/index.php?q=6306.4751.0.0

At least 85 sharia courts now operate within Britain.

At least 85 sharia "courts" now operate in Britain making decisions that sometimes contradict British law, according to a report by independent think tank Civitas. These Islamic courts, or arbitration tribunals, make rulings on marriage, polygamy and child custody that are illegal, the study shows.

Their decisions are likely to be unfair to women and backed by intimidation, with tribunals taking place behind closed doors, the report said. They keep few records, if any, of what takes place.

Since 2007, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (mat) has been running courts in London, Bradford, Birmingham, Coventry and Manchester. The courts' rulings are legally binding under the 1996 Arbitration Act, as long as both parties choose to use them, and as long as their decisions do not contradict British law.

However, the Arbitration Act specifically excludes rulings on divorce and child-care cases. While the five mat courts deal primarily with disputes between business partners or mosques, the estimated 85 sharia "courts" operating are exceeding that mandate, according to the Civitas report.

"Some of these courts are advising illegal actions," said the report's author, Denis MacEoin, a former lecturer in Arabic and Islamic studies. "And others transgress human rights standards."

The House of Lords, Britain's highest court, ruled in a decision last year that sharia law was "wholly incompatible" with human rights legislation. It prevented the deportation of a woman whose child would have been removed and placed with an abusive father under sharia law in Lebanon.

As the sharia courts in England are closed and opaque, MacEoin, in order to get an impression of the type of rulings these courts make, had to examine online fatwas-or religious decrees-issued by websites run out of, or accessed by, British mosques. He wrote:

Among the rulings … we find some that advise illegal actions and others that transgress human rights standards as they are applied by British courts. Here are some examples: A Muslim woman may not under any circumstances marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam; such a woman's children will be separated from her until she marries a Muslim man; polygamous marriage (i.e. two to four wives) is considered legal … a wife has no property rights in the event of divorce … sharia law must override the judgments of British courts … taking out insurance is prohibited, even if required by law … a Muslim lawyer has to act contrary to UK law where it contradicts sharia … a woman may not leave her home without her husband's consent (which may constitute false imprisonment); legal adoption is forbidden … a woman may not retain custody of her child after 7 (for a boy) or 9 (for a girl) … fighting the Americans and British is a religious duty ….

"About two thirds of Muslim marriages are not being registered under the Marriages Act, which is illegal," said Neil Addison, a specialist in the law on religion. A woman in this type of marriage would have to submit to sharia law for a divorce proceeding. "But it's not the way arbitration is supposed to work," said Addison.

Some compare the sharia courts to the Jewish rabbinical courts, called beth din, which also pass legally binding decisions under the Arbitration Act. Addison, however, points out an important difference between the two. "The beth din acknowledge that 'the law of the land is the law,' and a rabbi cannot perform a synagogue marriage ceremony unless a registrar is present to simultaneously register the marriage under English law," he said.

Muslims within Britain are now running a contradictory legal system. This has to lead to a divided society. For more information on how this poses a threat to Britain, see our article "Is Britain Being Conquered From the Inside?"

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