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Government review into sharia law 'fails vulnerable women'

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Issued by Christian Concern

 

News Release
For immediate release
27 May 2016
 

Government review into sharia law 'fails vulnerable women'

The government has launched an independent review into sharia law. This follows mounting evidence that sharia councils are routinely discriminating against women.

Andrea Williams, Chief Executive of Christian Concern, said: "Women are suffering today from the operation of these sharia councils. The government should immediately curb their operation rather than initiate a lengthy review. Vulnerable women will continue to suffer.

"This review into sharia law is flawed from the start. It is asking questions that we already know the answers to. We already know that these councils discriminate against women.

"The government statement acknowledges that there is evidence of sharia councils discriminating against women. Women have suffered for too long from the workings of these councils. It is time for the government to put a stop to them.

"The government states that the terms of reference of the review are to explore to whether the application of sharia law is incompatible with English law. I find it extraordinary that this is the question. It is well known that sharia law is discriminatory and illiberal.

"Back in 2003 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy, as set forth in the Convention. Why then does the government need a review in order to establish this?

"Baroness Cox has been tireless in her work to highlight the effects of the discrimination against women arising from these sharia councils. Her Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill has passed through the House of Lords.  This Bill would make it illegal for such councils to discriminate on the basis of sex. Nearly 50 MPs and Peers have called on the government to support this Bill. Instead, the government has launched a lengthy review. In the meantime, women will continue to suffer.

"It is vital that the government upholds the fundamental principles of one law for all and equality before the law. These sharia councils are creating a parallel legal system which undermines these principles. The government needs to stop them in order to protect women and uphold the nature of the law."
 

Background

The government has launched an independent review into sharia law in the UK, after announcing that a review would be carried out last year. The review will be chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui, a Muslim academic. The government statement acknowledges that "there is evidence some Sharia councils may be working in a discriminatory and unacceptable way,seeking to legitimise forced marriage and issuing divorces that are unfair to women."

The government states that "The terms of reference set out the review’s intention to explore whether, and to what extent, the application of Sharia law may be incompatible with the law in England and Wales." The European Court of Human Rights has already ruled that "sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy, as set forth in the Convention."

It is well known that sharia law is incompatible with UK law in a number of ways. The following are just a few relating to the treatment of women:

  • Polygamy is allowed in Islam, and not allowed in UK law. Q 4:3
  • A woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man. Q 2:282
  • Men inherit twice as much as women. Q 4:11
  • A man may beat his wife. Q 4:34

Additionally, it is well known that divorce is much easier for a man than for a woman in Islam, and this is openly stated on the Islamic Sharia Council website.

 

Links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/independent-review-into-sharia-law-launched

http://www.islamic-sharia.org/talaq/

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