Inside a Shariah court


by Jobeda
2nd October, 2007 at 3:35 pm    

When did Shariah become cuddly?

Last night’s This World documentary on BB2, Inside a Shariah Court was actually a very dangerous programme. It is dangerous because it tackled a hideous political issue in an authored documentary style, which is completely inappropriate. This approach meant that there was only one voice analysing the situation, and worse, in attempting to apply it to our own society.

The BNP would never have been given this kind of platform – I agree the BNP should have a voice because I believe in free speech, but fascism would never be allowed without a dissenting voice alongside it. Why does the BBC think Shariah is any different?

I believe in authored documentaries; they are accessible and enjoyable and having made three myself, I always bemoan the lack of this style of documentary on TV. Inside a Shariah Court kept to this style, it kept to the author’s point of view and aesthetically, it was a ‘nice’ film, as these types of films should be. However, Shariah is not a suitable subject for a ‘nice’ style of film.

The reason I call it dangerous is because it takes Shariah out of the “this is really bad for the world” box where it quite firmly belongs, into a “this is a cuddly personal issue” box, where it clearly does not belong – or have I been sleeping while Britain decided that democracy is a questionable political system?

We know that some people favour Shariah, we know that judgements of Shariah law will sometimes be reasonable – whether Shariah works to mete out justice is not the issue – at all. The issue is the fact that this is an immutable system, there is absolutely no room for changing or even questioning it. Muslim liberals, like the author,

Ruhi Hamid, may think that Shariah is workable with tweaks, but that is frankly a ridiculous position. The fundamental premise of Shariah is that people cannot decide what is right or wrong. The fundamental premise of Shariah is that human beings must not presume to challenge what was written down between 12-14 centuries ago.

The blood and tears of millions of people, through many centuries, from many nations, have gone into creating political and judicial systems that take immutable “divine” laws out of the justice system. This is development. Nations where this is adopted are more civil, humane and peaceful. We do all we can in our power to support development so that other nations can also benefit from fair judicial systems, from healthcare, from education, from all the other indicators of development.

I don’t question that Shariah is a reasonable subject of discussion, quite the opposite, I welcome the opportunity to discuss it and to challenge it and hopefully to persuade as many people as possible that it’s a bloody daft idea with no place in the 21st century.

What I am objecting to, is that the gravity of this subject is reduced when we have an ordinary British Muslim taking us on a journey of personal exploration. I’m not criticising Ruhi Hamid – this isn’t about how well she did the job. This is about the fact that sending an ordinary person on a personal journey diminishes an important subject we should be debating with rigour into a genteel cultural consideration.

On a terrestrial channel, with its access to the largest audiences, this does Islam absolutely no favours. It shows that British Muslims are nice people, like Ruhi, so if they want to consider backward systems, that is their culture and they are entitled to explore it. If this isn’t quite the “fetishisation of balance” that Martin Amis writes about, I don’t know what is.

As a British Bangladeshi, would the BBC broadcast a film I make about how excluding women from education in Bangladesh teaches Britain lessons and there are some advantages to it? An authored piece about adopting Shariah is the same, it’s discussing going backward in development terms.

How could going backwards possibly be a cuddly subject? I am utterly baffled at why the BBC considered it suitable to attempt to turn something horrific into something ‘nice’.

———–
This a guest post. Jobeda is a filmmaker.


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  1. Soso — on 2nd October, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

    How could going backwards possibly be a cuddly subject? I am utterly baffled at why the BBC considered it suitable to attempt to turn something horrific into something ‘nice’.

    Many reasons. The Saudis have they hooks into the UK, big-time. Tariq Ramadan, an “intellectual” rejected by many other european countries lectures at Oxford, for example. The mayor of London regularly hosts clerical fascists, and he and his pathological entourage of media types see enraged Muslims as the new proletariate

    The blokes running the BBC are inveterate leftoids whose opinion that only Whites can be racist, colonialist, imperialist etc constitutes a celestial certainty of such proportions that even the Koran cannot challenge it.

    The Burkha is a form of feminist self-realisation, a liberation that can only be understood in context and with all negative ‘stereotypes’ squelched, etc, etc, etc.

    Makes perfect sense to ageing brain-dead white boomers.

  2. El Cid — on 2nd October, 2007 at 4:20 pm  

    Great stuff Jobeda.
    You are so right.

  3. Mostaque Ali — on 2nd October, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

    The answer is simple folks if you want to look at it. Much of the British media is Jewish controlled, and like any group anywhere there is a Jewish group mentality which has nothing to do with being British/impartial broadcasters airing neutral facts and views,——……it’s nothing more than propaganda. Which is why Britain after Israel is the most Islamophobic country in the world (Harris poll 2007)

    These Jews in the media feel they have to do their bit for Israel, their mother country, and the end product is that it raises racial tensions, AND it encourages security forces in the country, especially around Jewish London, to up the ante with false flag ops.

    Jewish Control of the British Media. Written by Nattalnews
    Thursday, 13 September 2007, Printed AT ZIOPEDIA.
    http://www.ziopedia.org/en/articles/jewry%10lobby/jewish_control_of_the_british_media/

    So brace yourself as programs of this kind will become more come.It is called mind conditioning, andit’s real target audience is the majority of the non-Muslims.

    To the non-Muslim reader all I would say is a Jew run totalitarian state with emergency powers isn’t going to be that fun either.

    Regards,

    Mostaque

  4. El Cid — on 2nd October, 2007 at 4:33 pm  

    Of course, the jews

  5. igotlife — on 2nd October, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

    And yet, the majority of Muslims I know will assert that the BBC is fundamentally anti-Islamic.
    I don’t get it – should they be attacking or defending?
    Correctly the answer is neither – which is why they had a doc on BBC1 suggesting we should be very worried about HT (the scare-mongering agenda) and then a doc on BBC2 (the ‘Islam is lovely but misunderstood’ liberal option).
    How more balanced can they be?

  6. igotlife — on 2nd October, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

    Mostaque
    Havent you missed the point? The documentary is showing Sharia in a good light…why would the ‘Jewish media’ be producing such documentaries?

  7. justforfun — on 2nd October, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

    Jobeda – well put. It was a very disturbing film for all the reasons you give.

    I normally give the “Islam programmes” a miss , but I have been to Nigeria many times so I thought I would watch it. Thank you for putting some issues forward on paper, as I came away from watching that documentary with a trouble mind and I could not put a finger on it.

    Justforfun

  8. ChrisC — on 2nd October, 2007 at 5:01 pm  

    Ziopedia – wow, what a site that is Mostaque Ali.
    Links to white supremacist David Duke and all…
    You’re in good company there!

  9. bananabrain — on 2nd October, 2007 at 5:17 pm  

    i’m feeling so powerful now i’m just going to give mostaque ali a wedgie by the mystical jewish power of my mind.

    *tug*

    hur hur hur.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  10. Soso — on 2nd October, 2007 at 5:44 pm  

    Yep, sharia is now cuddly because of a Jewish plot.

    ‘Round and ’round and ’round we go.

    No, sharia is cuddly because the clueless ’68ers’running the Beeb are moral relativists who long ago lost sight of any sense of right and wrong.

    This isn’t a Jewish plot; it’s plain old human stupidity, Mostaque.

  11. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

    Typical drivel from a pickled politician.

    No consistant argument or any analysis of what shariah is, just the typical smearing:

    Shariah = facism
    Shariah= backwardness

    and by implication from this section:

    The blood and tears of millions of people, through many centuries, from many nations, have gone into creating political and judicial systems that take immutable “divine” laws out of the justice system. This is development. Nations where this is adopted are more civil, humane and peaceful. We do all we can in our power to support development so that other nations can also benefit from fair judicial systems, from healthcare, from education, from all the other indicators of development.

    that Shariah doesn’t promote fair judicial systems, healthcare or education.

    Where is the evidence for these assertions, nowhere. The author writes as though we should all just accept them at face value.

    The Shariah may be immutable but it’s interpretation and it’s application differ according to time and place and is constantly being revised by the relevant jurists.

    It’s core principles are fixed and assure people of consistancy in the law unlike man-made systems whose principles can easily be thrown out of the window, say for instance the principle of habeus corpus being ditched in favour of 28 days dentention without charge.

    The Shariah is not facistic, there is a clear division of the public and private spheres in it’s jurisdiction. The courts and police cannot intervene in the private sphere.

    Finally the Shariah promotes education, judicial fairness and healthcare. Anyone who knows even a little bit about the Ottomon Empire knows this.

    I’m very sorry that women’s education is blocked in parts of Bangladesh, but what has that got to do with Shariah? Bangladesh is a secular democracy, some religious people who conflate their culture with religion may be against women’s education but it is wooly thinking to extrapolate from that, that is what Shariah says.

    The Prophet (SAAWS) wives and daughters were some of the main teachers in the early Islamic community and throughout the history of the community we have had women scholars in all fields.

  12. Billy — on 2nd October, 2007 at 5:49 pm  

    So the Saudis AND the Jews control the media in this country? Impressive.

  13. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 5:54 pm  

    I note this is also not true:

    Soon after the introduction of Sharia to the northern states of Nigeria, two women were condemned to death by stoning for adultery. But, with the help of human rights activists their convictions were overturned on appeal to the federal Nigerian courts.

    Actually they were overturned in a higher Shariah court.

  14. Boyo — on 2nd October, 2007 at 5:58 pm  

    The BBC is brought to you by the same dinner party set that run the Guardian, and we all know what road it has taken.

    There is a long and dishonourable history of liberals cuddling up to fascists – for heavens sake, the commissioning editors are the grandchildren of the same trustafarians who appeased Hitler and got up close and personal with Stalin.

  15. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 5:59 pm  
  16. newmania — on 2nd October, 2007 at 6:05 pm  

    Blimey the Jew BBC …I wouldn`t allow that sort of thing on my blog and we are supposed to be the ” Racist” Tories.We have our own gripes with the BBC whuich are well documented and I am struggling to think of many Jews involved. I`d say it was more Guardian controlled
    On Sharia …it might be nice it might be nasty( nasty would be my guess).It has no more relevance in this country that the constitution of a cub scout pack and that is that. It has no authority because we do not have laws adopted as if by children with a dressing up box .Real ones are enacted though the government of the coutry and the Judiciary.
    You might think that this sort of vestige of another age would wither away but this is what concerns me ….

    “In a recent survey of young Muslims One in 8 admires al Qa’eda ., 40% want Sharia law in Britain and 75% want women to wear the veil. In all cases the view of the over 55s are far less radical for example only 17% wanted Sharia law in Britain.”

    Perhaps we do have something to learn from some of the values that bulwark this um…custom. If so they will be imported into the British legals system by the usual process of statute common law and democracy.

    Interesting comments actually

  17. j0nz — on 2nd October, 2007 at 6:23 pm  

    Sunny you never fail to surprise. I, for some reason, expected you to applaud the film style and approach to sharia. My hindu friend, not that it actually matters of course what religion or not one is, turned off after 10 minutes due to ‘blood pressure issues’.

  18. Homi K Bhaba — on 2nd October, 2007 at 6:29 pm  

    Much of the British media is Jewish controlled…

    I wish it was. Then maybe we wouldn’t have to read/watch/hear about the poor little Palestinians on an hourly basis. Yawn.

  19. Don — on 2nd October, 2007 at 6:46 pm  

    I missed the programme, I was watching Murphy’s Law. (That moustache hypnotises me, one of these days I swear it will launch a renegade operation of its own.)

    So, was the legal system as portrayed manifestly superior to the one we have now? Do we have an example of a country where sharia law is consistently enforced in such a way as to make it a model worth emulating? Are the brutal and bizzare judgements one reads of mere anomalies?

    I don’t doubt that sharia law served a purpose in its time, that is was probably often superior to what it replaced, or that it provided a degree of consistency while allowing for interpretations which suited local conditions. You could probably say the same thing about the feudal system.

    But we have moved on. The current legal system we have is heavily flawed, but these flaws are not divinely sanctioned and so the nature of any argument for change and reform is free from the dead and fossilised hand of an imaginary being.

    Until I see a very, very strong argument to the contrary, I want to keep it that way. Haven’t seen one so far, but I’m listening.

    (But if that argument is predicated on a ‘Jew run totalitarian state’ then please don’t waste my time.)

  20. Rumbold — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:16 pm  

    Ismaeel:

    “The Shariah is not facistic, there is a clear division of the public and private spheres in it’s jurisdiction. The courts and police cannot intervene in the private sphere.”

    What does Sharia say about the following then?

    Homosexual acts

    Apostacy

    Adultery

    If these actions as perscribed in any way then Sharia is clearly interfering in the private sphere.

    Jonz:

    “Sunny you never fail to surprise.”

    The article is not written by Sunny.

  21. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:16 pm  

    I think it’s important to remember the context the film was made in, i.e. that British Muslims in the UK want to introduce aspects of the Shariah code relating to Civil matters for themselves, not for the whole population of Britain.

    Therefore the question of debating it’s reform etc is irrelevant, those wishing to submit themselves to a Shariah judge can do so and those who don’t, don’t have to, as in the case of the northern states of Nigeria that were shown in the documentary.

    In that situation family issues such as marriage, divorce, custody, maintenance, inheritance and possibly even buisness transactions could go before an Islamic Judge IF all parties agreed.

    We have actually had this system enacted before- in India when it was part of the Raj, Muslim subjects of the Raj had their own civil code with it’s own courts and appeals would go to the normal appeal courts. As a result a slew of traditional law books both Sunni and Shi’ah were translated into english to assist the English judges adjudicating appeal cases.

  22. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:23 pm  

    Rumbold

    if your apostacy, adultery, homosexuality and for that matter intoxication occurs behind closed doors then it is not for the police or judges to intervene according to Islamic Law, they are matters between their perpetrators and Allah (SWT).

    The head of the most widespread of Islamic schools of Law Imam Abu Hanifah is reported to have intervened to have his drunkard neighbour released from custody because he had been arrested on the basis on his rowdy singing from within his house. Because he was within his house the law could not intervene.

    That is why you need 4 eye witnesses to actually witness the entering of the man into the woman in the case of adultery, highly unlikely.

    Before you say anything about this allowing people to get away with rape, well actually no, the case of rape is separate from adultery and can be proved by dna etc with it’s punishment at the discretion of the court.

  23. Rumbold — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:23 pm  

    Ismaeel:

    “I think it’s important to remember the context the film was made in, i.e. that British Muslims in the UK want to introduce aspects of the Shariah code relating to Civil matters for themselves, not for the whole population of Britain.”

    Plenty of Muslims, especially the women, would not want their case heard before a Sharia court. You say it would be entirely voluntary, but I wager that some Muslims would be forced to go to the court. If you want to lobby for a specific chnage to the law, or elect someone who agrees with you, fine. But if we let self-appointed community leaders choose their own laws then we might as well drop any pretence to being a civilised society.

  24. Rumbold — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:26 pm  

    Ismaeel:

    “If your apostacy, adultery, homosexuality and for that matter intoxication occurs behind closed doors then it is not for the police or judges to intervene according to Islamic Law, they are matters between their perpetrators and Allah (SWT).”

    So if I were to hand out leaflets promoting apostacy, or hold hands with my male partner (not that I have one), what would be the punishment? What about if I criticised Muhammad?

  25. PFM — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:29 pm  

    Fantastic post Ismaeel, the author makes many assumptions without actually learning about shariah herself and has prob had most of her knowledge gained from a culturally polluted point of islam.

    People love jumping on the bandwagon on pickled politics. The author would find many people wanting to take up her challenge about wether shariah is a good idea in the 21st century and not like the judge in the docu! Who kept saying that you couldnt question, but questioning to understand is a fundamental part of Islam. Weird guy anyway, had a really high pitched voice.

    I doubt it will happen, the major reason being the world economies are founded through an interest based system outlawed in shariah.

    Also im very suprised that so many people on this thread keep making so many assumptions.

    As for the jews, they killed my cat :(

  26. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:30 pm  

    Rumbold

    your statements make no sense. If a person was forced then they could make that clear to the judge. Safeguards would obviously have to be worked out to prevent abuses just as they have been elsewhere.

    It’s not a question of choosing laws, everyone would still be subject to English law, the issues we are talking about can be resolved using existing laws of adjudication anyway, e.g. a man and his wife can go an Islamic scholar and submit their dispute over custody to him agreeing under the rules of adjudication that his decision will be binding on them.

  27. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:34 pm  

    Rumbold

    you asked:

    So if I were to hand out leaflets promoting apostacy, or hold hands with my male partner (not that I have one), what would be the punishment? What about if I criticised Muhammad?

    As for the first and last then they would be matters for the state as they would be undermining the state’s legitimacy- however we are not discussing that here, we’re discussing the civil code being used by a minority in Britain. As for holding hands with another man, it would depend on the culture, in the Indian subcontinent it’s considered very normal for close male friends to hold hands.

  28. Rumbold — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:35 pm  

    Ismaeel:

    “Your statements make no sense.”

    My questions were on how Sharia law would rule on aspects of life in the UK- sorry if I did not make that clear.

    “It’s not a question of choosing laws, everyone would still be subject to English law.”

    If English law is paramount anyway, then how would introducing Sharia law to civil cases work?

  29. PFM — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:36 pm  

    more than 75% of islamic laws are actually in relation to protecting the rights of women and orphans. bet you didnt know that.

    Rumbold people have been promoting apostacy since Islam first sprooted so go ahead, as for criticising Muhammed PBUH pick a point to criticise but remember there is a line between criticism and derogatory.

    Also any judges who sit in Shariah courts would have to be suitably qualified, unfortunately some who sit at the moment arent really all that good to be honest. It all depends where you go.

  30. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:38 pm  

    Rumbold,

    as i explained in a similar way to as how private adjudications work now, however i would suggest as PFM has that it is conducted under qualified Islamic Judges who are also conversant with British Law.

  31. PFM — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:40 pm  

    Rumbold, living in the UK the UK law would supercede Shariah anyway shariah would be an option

    People could opt for Shariah in disputes over inheritance and maintenance etc without having to go to the civil courts but the choice is there if they wish to go to the civil courts.

    Rumbold, what rights does an orphan have in the UK? It relies solely on the goodwill of relatives to ensure the orphan receives his due after they have become the guardians.

  32. PFM — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:43 pm  

    My posts are so fragmented, and I apologise for the poor grammar.

    ……..Rumbold, what rights does an orphan have in the UK? It relies solely on the goodwill of relatives to ensure the orphan receives his due after they have become the guardians.

    Shariah ensures that the rights of the orphan are fulfilled to the highest degree.

    When you mentioned Shariah people often jump straight to the taleban or the draconian shariah practised by the saudis which is highly cultural.

  33. Rumbold — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:44 pm  

    Ismaeel and PFM:

    I am not suggesting that Sharia is somehow a uniquely bad system, more that, as Jobeda says, an Burke-style organic legal system that can develop over time is better.

  34. j0nz — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:44 pm  

    “Sunny you never fail to surprise.” The article is not written by Sunny.

    Ooops. It makes a bit more sense now….

  35. ZinZin (doing the chairwoman's job) — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:45 pm  

    “Rumbold, living in the UK the UK law would supercede Shariah anyway shariah would be an option”

    Why have Shariah at all if that is the case?

    Please put an end to this peculiarly islamic form of onanism. You are both calling for a parrallel system of law that would play second fiddle to UK law, idiots.

  36. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:53 pm  

    Rumbold

    there is no question that Shariah requires interpretation in a new historico-social-economic situation as in modern britain. However there are already decades of work that has already been done by legal experts on the subject.

    Zinzin

    The reason is because we would like to be judged according to Shariah rather than British laws especially when it comes to family law which even British people are generally very unhappy about. My driving instructor for example is highly unhappy about the divorce settlement that lost him his house despite the fact that he was not guilty of infidelity.

  37. PFM — on 2nd October, 2007 at 7:53 pm  

    Why have shariah?

    As a choice maybe? Last time I checked it was a free country. The fact is more and more muslims are using Shariah to resolve disputes.

    So many people beleive in free speech on PP and in having a choice but they dont like the idea of somebody choosing shariah to resolve a dispute.

    Pot kettle black

  38. j0nz — on 2nd October, 2007 at 8:02 pm  

    So many people beleive in free speech on PP and in having a choice but they dont like the idea of somebody choosing shariah to resolve a dispute.

    Pot kettle black

    Disputes such as whether somebody had sex outside of “marriage”? A yes would result in what?

    Such as whether somebody has rejected Islam? A yes would result in what?

    Such as whether you should beat your wife if she severely disobeys? To beat or not to beat?

    Please do enlighten!!

    Not “liking” the idea of a cruel and barbaric penal system is perfectly compatible with freedom of speech.

  39. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 8:17 pm  

    Jonz

    you clearly haven’t read any of the previous posts- we are talking about civil law in the UK not questions of adultery/fornication which are criminal matters in Islam and require a very high standard of evidence-

    4 eye witnessess witneessing the man’s genitals entering the womens.

    If the accuser cannot produce this evidence then he himself will be punished.

    Rejecting Islam as a crime was due to it’s link to treason in an Islamic state- not an issue in the present context.

    As for domestic violence it is not allowed in Islam and if you watched the documentary you would have heard testimony from women who said that men had been punished by the shariah court for beating them.

    A light tap with a toothbrush as a symbolic last gesture to a rebellious wife to indicate that divorce proceedings in immanent is what is meant by the word translated as “beating” in the Qur’aan.

    If your going to accuse a penal system of being ‘cruel’ and ‘barbaric’ then you have to make your case.

    Is is cruel to send someone who commits assult to recieve lashes in the public square or is it cruel to send him for six months in prison, where he will have no liberty, be possibly raped, have no dignity, cultured in a criminal society etc?

    Is is barbaric to execute a murderer or have him pay compensation to his victim’s family or is it civilised to allow a murderer to live in luxury at the innocent taxpayer’s expense for 15 years then let him out to live happily after, perhaps even become a successful tv star, while his victim’s family live in agony?

  40. j0nz — on 2nd October, 2007 at 8:35 pm  

    Oh thats ok then. Thanks Ismaael. Lets introduce Shariah.

    Can you give me an example of one place in the world where Shariah law is practised as you make out? Saudia Arabia, Iran, Nigeria?

    And let’s say for arguments sake that we have 4 male muslims who will testify of sex outside marriage. What is the punishment in that “rare” case????

  41. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 8:48 pm  

    Jonz

    I like the way people on PP do not like to actually follow consistant lines of argument and counter argument using examples and evidence but prefer to use sarcasm, obsecenities and abuse depending on the circumstance.

    Nigeria is close because it follows a traditional Sunni viewpoint, which is the one i follow whereas KSA is Wahabbi and Iran is Shi’ah.

    If there were to be those 4 witnesses then they would then have to fufil certain conditions

    First they have to be ‘adl (just)
    i.e. they are practicing Islam and not openly committing any sins and are not known to have ever produced any false testimony previously.

    Second each of their statements would be checked and rechecked and compared to each other for any discrepencies- if there were the case would be thrown out.

    It is instructive that to the best of the knowledge of all the religious scholars i have spoken to, no case under the Islamic state from the time of the Prophet (PBUH) to the fall of the Ottomons was even proven on these grounds.

    If however these conditions were to be met then the offender would be stoned to death if they were married and had been committing adultery- as a detterant to those who would so openly (and it would have to be open to be witnessed in this manner- which i think it’s pretty barbaric) cause such mental and emotional anguish (cruel don’t you think) to their marriage partner and their children and also undermine the importance of the family unit.
    If they were unmarried then they would be lashed 100 times in public if male and in private if female.
    But as this hasn’t happened in the last 1400 odd years i don’t expect it to now.

    Again this is in the context of an Islamic state and not in the context of a religious minority in Britain seeking aspects of Shariah’s civil provisions on a voluntary basis. It would be nice if you could keep on subject.

  42. septicisle — on 2nd October, 2007 at 9:02 pm  

    I didn’t see this, but it’s maybe worth noting that half an hour before this was on, Panorama (and the BBC) were yet again featuring a Hizb-ut-Tahrir defectee. Swings and roundabouts.

  43. Don — on 2nd October, 2007 at 9:15 pm  

    ‘It is instructive that to the best of the knowledge of all the religious scholars i have spoken to, no case under the Islamic state from the time of the Prophet (PBUH) to the fall of the Ottomons was even proven on these grounds.’

    Excellent. So we have established that the punishment of stoning, or other lethal sanction for sexual insubordination, has never been carried out under the sanction of the accepted authority of a sharia court.

    But it has, frequently. Of course those incidents don’t count, because no true scotsman …

  44. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 9:27 pm  

    Don,

    the question that has to be asked of both the Iranians and the Saudis (who i believe you are referring to) is whether they have followed proper procedure.
    My view is, is that is doubtful. Most cases seem to be prosecuted on the basis of pregnancy, however this doesn’t constitute evidence by itself according to any of the jurists.

    If the women is married the pregnancy is assumed to be from her husband, if she is not then she cannot be killed.

    Also if she declares that she was raped, then her word is to be accepted without even the need to give an oath to that effect.

  45. ZinZin — on 2nd October, 2007 at 10:09 pm  

    Ismaeel
    Are you willing to discuss another individulas private life on this thread to prove the superiority of Shariah? Your driving instructor may have lost his house in the divorce settlement for a multitude of reasons.

    If your unhappy with any aspect of Family law you can lobby the government for a change in the law. Can you do that with shariah law?

    “the question that has to be asked of both the Iranians and the Saudis (who i believe you are referring to) is whether they have followed proper procedure.”

    Weasel words.

  46. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 10:13 pm  

    ZinZin

    as a Muslim i am ipso facto happy with Shariah Law that is inherent in the words themselves- it is what philosophers call an analytic statement.

    If you have a problem with what i have said, come out and say it, instead of using statement such as “weasel words” to hide behind.

  47. soru — on 2nd October, 2007 at 10:21 pm  

    Can you give me an example of one place in the world where Shariah law is practised as you make out? Saudia Arabia, Iran, Nigeria?

    Israel is probably the best example. It rarely gets mentioned by even moderate shari’a advocates, for obvious reasons, but it does have exactly what those IslamoTories ask for. Seperate, state-funded religious courts that handle marriage, divorce, inheritance and similar topics, within a standard western liberal constitution and criminal law system, all descended from the Ottoman millet system. See for example

    Since November 2001, Muslims also have the right to bring matters such as alimony and property division associated with divorce cases to civil courts in family-status cases. However, paternity cases are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Muslim or Shari’a court.

    It’s not a thing that in itself that turns rich western Israel into Taliban Afghanistan. In the big picture, economics trumps details of court organisation. But that doesn’t make it unproblematic, most notably it is practically impossible for an Israeli Jew and Muslim to marry.

  48. ZinZin — on 2nd October, 2007 at 10:23 pm  

    Weasel words I am afraid are appropriate here and I make no apology for that. Shariah Law is barbaric yet you argue that it is not the case. Theory is fine, the application is nothing to be proud of.

    Calling for Shariah to be used in family law is nothing more than an attempt to deprive women of any legal rights.

    “as a Muslim i am ipso facto happy with Shariah Law that is inherent in the words themselves- it is what philosophers call an analytic statement.”

    But not all muslims. Does a good muslim have to be in favour of Shariah law.

  49. Sid — on 2nd October, 2007 at 10:34 pm  

    Shariah is, like the Hindu caste system, unworkable unless applied to a small, ardent and insulated population within the narrow context of time and place. Naturally enough, it is widely rejected by all levels of society in most parts of the non-Arab Muslim world. The only bits that are still practiced are probably to do with family law, but certainly not property law. And the 2 women witnesses to 1 male witness is offensive.

  50. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 10:36 pm  

    I’m sorry i don’t know what this “weasel words” mean and i don’t know what it means in relation to my comments, please enlighten me so i can respond.

    Just saying Islamic Law is barbaric doesn’t make it so. An argument must be backed up with evidence, example etc. I feel i’m back with my year 11 students sometimes when i come on this site.

    The the application for 99% of history has been fine but i agree most modern applications are not.

    Shariah in family law actually more often than not upholds women’s rights, if you’re going to make assertions please make them up with some sort of evidence.

    Quick Arabic lesson for you:
    Muslim means someone who is surrendered, Islamically this means to Allah.

    Shariah means the path to the water, Islamically this means the path to Allah (SWT)’s pleasure.

    Therefore to call oneself a Muslim means you wish to follow Shariah. Someone who calls themself a Muslim but doesn’t like Shariah is either one of two types of people:

    1) Uneducated as to what Shariah means in Islamic law, theology and how it is is administered, has seen some of the botch applications sensationalised by the western media etc

    or

    2) Believe that Shariah Law as practiced today is not in conformity with how it should be or that it needs to be reinterpreted for modern circumstances.

    If they do not fall into one of the two camps above, it is difficult to concieve of them being Muslims at all except by using the term to describe a cultural grouping of people who were born into Muslim families.

  51. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 10:39 pm  

    Sid

    except that it did work for 99% of the time Islam has been practiced on the earth.

    It is questionable as to whether it has had a fair chance to be accepted or rejected in modern times when any Islamic party elected to power is inevitably forced out by a western backed coup as in Turkey and Algeria

  52. Don — on 2nd October, 2007 at 10:40 pm  

    ‘…the Iranians and the Saudis (who i believe you are referring to)’

    No, wasn’t being that specific. You have misread my point.

  53. Sid — on 2nd October, 2007 at 10:57 pm  

    except that it did work for 99% of the time Islam has been practiced on the earth

    …by 1% of the Muslim world.

  54. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 11:09 pm  

    Sid,

    no sorry it was carried out in most parts of the Islamic world from North Africa to India, Turkey and Central Asia. Probably the only parts it wasn’t formally implemented was in Malaysia and Indonesia.

  55. ZinZin — on 2nd October, 2007 at 11:24 pm  

    Ismaeel you do know what weasel words are, and you do understand sarcasm and irony.

    “If however these conditions were to be met then the offender would be stoned to death if they were married and had been committing adultery- as a detterant to those who would so openly (and it would have to be open to be witnessed in this manner- which i think it’s pretty barbaric) cause such mental and emotional anguish (cruel don’t you think) to their marriage partner and their children and also undermine the importance of the family unit.
    If they were unmarried then they would be lashed 100 times in public if male and in private if female.”

    That does contradict what you wrote earlier:

    “The Shariah is not facistic, there is a clear division of the public and private spheres in it’s jurisdiction. The courts and police cannot intervene in the private sphere.”

    Ismaeel the big difference between us is that I do not want to live in a theocracy. Like many exponenets of shariah law you have an excessive interest in other peoples morals.

  56. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 11:39 pm  

    Zinzin,

    no-one is asking you to live under a theocracy, the question at point is whether Muslims can apply civil provisions of the Shariah amongst themselves within this country. You and others keep on getting off this topic.

    However to address the issue you have raised, when a person has been adulterous in the public realm with all and sundery to see him (or her) to reach the necessary level of proof then it ceases to be a private matter and becomes a matter of the state because it has damaged the moral tone of society. Every society maintains a certain level of moral standards in society, even this one. You are not for example allowed to walk around naked or have sex in public nor is it allowed to sell alcohol, cigarettes or pornography to under 18s, the question is where do you place the threashhold.

    Binge-drinking, lack of responsible male role models and father figures, broken homes have all been proven to have adverse affects on many of our young people and many of our incaracerated criminals and anti-social youth are results of such things. So other people’s morals should be all of our concern.

    I of course understand sarcasm, never denied it, i am curious to know what weasel words means and how it applies to my statements, as you can’t seem to answer me, i can only assume it is as i thought that you yourself don’t know and are just hiding behind name calling

  57. Doing Refresh's work — on 2nd October, 2007 at 11:44 pm  

    My goodness – its amazing what people find when they read an article like this. Its equally amazing a filmmaker can become so agressive towards someone’s work.

    To me it seems that there is no room for an enquiring mind here on pickled politics.

    The filmmaker being attacked for her work is Ruhi Hamid. I hadn’t heard of her but it seems she has form.

    “THE RORY PECK AWARD FOR FEATURES

    The Rory Peck Award for Features honours work demonstrating determination and stamina, together with versatility and originality in approach and storytelling.

    Ruhi Hamid (British)
    At the Epicentre
    Shot: Indonesia
    Filmed March – May 2005
    Commissioned by BBC 2 Current Affairs”

    http://www.rorypecktrust.org/awards05/winners05.htm

    And here is brief biography:

    “Ruhi Hamid – At the Epicentre
    Ruhi Hamid was born in Tanzania of Pakistani origin. Graduating with a Masters degree in Graphic design from the Royal College of Art, she worked as a graphic designer in Holland, and the newly independent Zimbabwe as part of a collective of young black designers and photographers. By listening and allowing contributors to open up and trust her, Ruhi has gained unprecedented access to peoples and cultures otherwise hostile to the media. Thus she has captured the important moments on camera. This has been the case whether she is working with an autistic boy in England, the Indians in the Brazilian Amazon, or the criminal courts in Pakistan. She specializes in working alone filming on DV camera. Her three-part Channel 4 series ‘Lahore Law’ was nominated for the Grierson and Broadcast award for Best Documentary Series. A Muslim herself, Ruhi has directed and filmed across the Islamic world making a two part series for Channel 4 on Women & Islam, and the award winning film ‘The Rock Star & the Mullahs’ about Music & Islam in Pakistan. The sequel to this was a film project about American Muslims in post 9/11 America during the run up to the November 2004 elections. Ruhi Hamid has completed a one hour documentary for the BBC in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Her film focuses on the Tsunami survivors of a village as they attempt to rebuild their lives and community. Currently, she is making a film about AIDS in India. In 2004, Ruhi was a finalist for The Sony International Impact Award for her film on the plight of the Hmong people who have been trapped in the mountainous jungles of Laos for thirty years.”

    And looking back its fair to say the program I saw last night reflects pretty much what the biography says about her.

    An excellent program, impressive reportage. It did show Sharia working, and as a benign system. We should have more of these types of programs.

    I found the judge to be hilarious, quite a character; and all the Nigerians of all faiths pretty astute and admirable.

    The program also reminded me of the days (mid-90′s)when a respectable US university had been commissioned by Christian organisations to see how an interest-free economy could be used in the US; and they looked in depth at Islamic banks.

    Tragically, you would not expect any form of scholarly enquiry nowadays. This thread seems to prove it.

    I think a much more interesting debate could have been had – had Ruhi Hamid done a follow-up article.

    Jobeida would rather you and I didn’t have the opportunity to see such enlightened programming.

  58. Sunny — on 2nd October, 2007 at 11:51 pm  

    except that it did work for 99% of the time Islam has been practiced on the earth

    Like… Pakistan’s hudood laws? Like the Taliban?

  59. Ismaeel — on 2nd October, 2007 at 11:59 pm  

    Sunny,

    you must read the whole discussion before wading in half cocked like that.

    As i said previously from the time of the Prophet (PBUH) to the fall of the Ottomons is the period which nonwithstanding some lapses was a period when Shariah was practiced generally successfully.

    The Hudood Laws in Pakistan are a mishmash of western and Islamic law and thus a hopeless mess, there is an article on my blog at present about a televised meeting by Pakistan’s leading scholars saying the same and that they want the laws overhauled wholesale. Please read it.

    As for the Taliban it has been widely reported that much of what they did was as much their tribal pashtun laws as it was shariah. Women being beaten in the street by militia men for showing their hands is absolutley nothing to do with Islam or Shariah.

    Many things done in the name of religion in the Indian subcontinent like honor killings for example are more culturally based which is why we find the same acts carried out by Hindus and Sikhs as well.

  60. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:48 am  

    Hi Izzy,

    I saw that dicussion you had with Peter.

    “In many cultures women are intellectually, emotionally and physically mature by this age [9] to be married and have sex. Please stop trying to impose your liberal values and laws on everyone.”

    Great quote by the way!

    I especially like your response this text “any tradition that can today accept slavery under any circumstances, that accepts the rape of slave women, however that might be phrased, and advocates or accepts sex with under age girls – which is always rape – is abhorrent.” was “Unlike you i have not demanded that you justify your every viewpoint, if i did then we would soon find that you yourself belief in some very barbaric things.”

    You won that exchange for sure!

    TFI

  61. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:54 am  

    TFI

    i’m very sorry for you that you have nothing better to do then rip sentances out of context and try and make some purile point.

    Peter was as usual attempting to trap me by deliberatly placing value judgements on issues we were discussing which do not bear those judgements or at least are open to dispute, i simply refuse to play his school boy game. It is sad that he is still mad that we spoilt his little demo and is eager for revenge, however he continues to fail again and again.

    I can only assume that you have brought this up because you yourself cannot make any sort of point on this topic- unsuprisingly.

  62. Sunny — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:15 am  

    meeting by Pakistan’s leading scholars saying the same and that they want the laws overhauled wholesale.

    Funny you should say that, because every time Musharraf tried to do away with them, they rose up in anger. Apart from a few enlightened people, and I’d put the late Dr Zaki Badawi and Hamza Yusuf among them, most of the major religious leadership in the Arab world is as intellectually and morally corrupt at the dictators you keep harping on about.

    Seems to me that people like you keep dreaming about the utopian Ottoman empire, like Sikhs do about the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and pretend that times haven’t changed.
    No wonder people like Jobeda (and myself) have little time for this sort of rubbish.

  63. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:28 am  

    Sunny,

    abolishment is not the same as overhaul, they want the laws reformed not abolished. Please read more carefully.

    We all know the Ottomon Empire wasn’t a utopia and we know times have changed, for the worse in the Muslim world and yes we hearken back to an age where the law was fixed and applicable to all and the rulers were accountable to the people, rather than the corrupt depotism we see throughout the Muslim world today.

    Hamza Yusuf eh? That’s interesting because he is certainly an advocate of the restoration of the shariate and caliphate as so many of his cds and dvds attest to. As for the majority of the scholars in the Muslim world, i’m sure you could count the number you know by name on your two hands.

    Do you believe the following are morally and intellectually corrupt by the way:

    Habib Ali Jifry,
    Shaykh Muhammad Yaqubi
    Shaykh Tahir-ul-Qadri
    Shaykh Nuh Ha Mim Kellar
    Shaykh Abd Al Hakim Murad

    in fact do you even know who they are?

    You know next to nothing about Islam except what the sensationalist news media tells you and you lap it up.

    As usual you have no point to make Sunny nor any example or evidence to back it up, you content yourself to just make assertions and judgments much like many of my other interlecutors here.

  64. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:30 am  

    Sunny,

    it’s nice to see you believe in the reforming ability of an “enlightened dictator” like Musharaff, like all “liberals” you’re only “liberal” with other “liberals.”

  65. Sunny — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:38 am  

    You know next to nothing about Islam except what the sensationalist news media tells you and you lap it up.

    And you only rise up from the parapet when you want to send out or copy&paste a press release here from the ‘Muslim Action Committee’. How’s the Global Civility movement going by the way?

    It’s no use debating with you Ismaeel, that’s the problem, even if I know a lot more than you think. I’d much rather engage and debate with someone like Ali Eteraz who understands the modern world than keeps dreaming about utopias.

  66. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:45 am  

    Lol Sunny you’re so amusing.
    Seeing as i’m here debating with you now shows that your statement vis a vis MAC is nonsense. The reality is i’m extremely busy and i rarely have time to get into these discussions.

    You’d rather debate with someone who has already accepted most of your assumptions and prejudices is what you mean. Ali Eteraz represents only his own warped view of Islam and no-one elses.

    The fact is you can’t answer my questions or my points as per usual and you hide behind your defamatory comments as you always have done. I on the other hand have always answered yours, that’s called common courtesy and civility and so the answer to your question is therefore no, it is not going well because people like you are promoting the opposite using defamation, insult and prejudice to close down debates you are uncomfortable in engaging in.

  67. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 2:23 am  

    I also note with amusement that i have been consistantly discussing here about the introduction of shariah courts for civil matters amongst British Muslims and how it would interact with the British legal and political system.

    Surely if i was such a utopian with no understanding of the modern world i wouldn’t be doing that now would i?

  68. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 2:25 am  

    Oh and Sunny, there’s pleanty of reason to debate with me, because you can display to everyone how wrong and misguided I am and how correct your position is.

    Sadly you won’t and more than likely you’ll just lock this thread in frustration as is your habit.

  69. Sunny — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:07 am  

    The reality is i’m extremely busy and i rarely have time to get into these discussions.

    Of course you are. Not too busy to send out a press release at the first sign of a controversy though.

    Ali Eteraz represents only his own warped view of Islam and no-one elses.

    I thought you said you were interested in engaging in a civil manner. Describing someone’s else’s interpretation of their religion as ‘warped’ certainly does not exhibit the respect and humility you seem to demand of others. One standard for yourself and another for others as usual then…

  70. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:49 am  

    I send out press releases as I am directed to, not from any desire of my own.

    You brought up Ali Eteraz, not me as you attempted to run away from the debate you started when it became clear that the scholars you had earlier identified with were probably more on my wavelength than yours, you then attached yourself to a modernist who as i said shares your assumptions and prejudices.

    You still have not answered my questions i note.

  71. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:54 am  

    In fact what is your point and what does it have to do with this topic?

    Do you think we British Muslims should be allowed to have our own Shariah courts for civil matters on a purely voluntary basis or not, if not why not?

  72. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 5:15 am  

    Ismaeel,

    You are a really linear sort of guy, aren’t you? However.

    Here’s a compromise for you. If your law is so good, why not get it incorporated into UK law? In any decent debate, you’d win, obviously. And then we’d all be beholden to Sharia law, ’cause that is the better law? Perhaps we should have a referendum though, before you try to impose your law on others.

    To explain, it has always been the case that the religious have attempted to imposed their rules on their ‘subjects’. Which has sometimes been successful, much to my disgust.

    You are, frankly, in exactly that category. Your rules stink. Have you got that? It is unreasonable to argue for Sharia until it reforms itself. You can apparently go on the internet and see stoning and beheadings. That is what you are arguing for. It is ridiculous.

    How many British Muslim women are going to submit to a stoning? And what moral code suggests that the rest of us should not shoot the stoners?

    If you wish to argue that religion should arbitrate, that would be a different story. But you have consistently failed to see any difference between arbitration and law. To you, law is arbitration. Let me assure you it is not.

  73. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 5:26 am  

    Douglas

    you seem to have failed to even read one line of the debate so far.

    Let me reiterate

    this is about CIVIL code relating to FAMILY issues being incorporated into British Laws as it has been previously as in under the Raj for BRITISH MUSLIMS on a VOLUNTARY basis. Which part of this do you not understand.

    Secondly if your going to assert something please please back it up with something resembling an arguments with points and evidence.

    You don’t like stonings and lashings, well i don’t like paying for murderers and rapists to put up their feet in belmarsh and hone their criminal skills.

    I am well aware of the difference between arbitration and law, we already have the former and many Muslims are already availing themselves of it.

  74. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 6:01 am  

    Ismaeel,

    I have read every line of this debate so far.

    What is your problem? If you want arbitration based on religious concepts, I doubt that the state would intervene. Unless, of course, that arbitration led to punishments that the state had already rejected. Then, obviously, the state, would prohibit you from fullfilling your sadistic, and it must be said medieval, depravity. Have you got that? I’ll quote you here:

    “You don’t like stonings and lashings, well i don’t like paying for murderers and rapists to put up their feet in belmarsh and hone their criminal skills.”

    It is about the money is it? You really are a bit of a cheapskate, aren’t you?

    If you think that you can persuade the bulk of the people in this country, and I’d include the few Muslims I know, that you have any credibility whatsoever, let me know.

    Still, sadism is AOK, especially when the state does it?

  75. Desi Italiana — on 3rd October, 2007 at 8:27 am  

    Jobeda:

    “This is about the fact that sending an ordinary person on a personal journey diminishes an important subject we should be debating with rigour into a genteel cultural consideration.”

    I agree and disagree:

    1. First, I agree with your take on the Sharia system and the problem with one voice analyzing it.

    2. I disagree that everything needs to be placed in a “bad box” without listening to personal stories of ordinary people, because ultimately, it’s important to see how people interact with systems. And many times, Sharia laws as practiced (like Pakistan) are often intertwined with other kinds of localized, social practices and laws that aren’t always rooted in the Sharia.

    As such, I’d propose a two pronged approach: looking at the macro and micro level. Like when we are talking about the garment industry in Bangladesh, talking to people and showing their experiences AND putting in into a larger framework is very informative, I think.

    -”have gone into creating political and judicial systems that take immutable “divine” laws out of the justice system. This is development. Nations where this is adopted are more civil, humane and peaceful.”

    India is supposedly a secular country and the “largest democracy” in the world which has (sort of) taken out the immutable stuff out of politics (not so much judiciary or civil code, like Personal Laws still exist). Do you consider India to be more civil, humane, and peaceful?

    Also, I think that by stamping one system as “bad” and another “good” or “better” causes us to overlook serious judicial abuses that may occur in “better” systems. I’m American, so I am thinking about torture, alleged human rights violations/torture in prisons, our own way of handling justice, corporal punishment for minors, etc and then, of course, Guantanamo, Abu Graeb, suspension of habeaus corpus and being ajudicated before a military trial, and countless other episodes we rarely hear about.

    I also read the BBC article linked to here and I didn’t get to watch the video…but forgive me, I don’t see the article framing the Shariah as “cuddly-” there’s lot of stuff in that article that points to the arbitrariness, painful and harsh punishment, etc. But entirely possible that the broadcast was framed differently from the article.

    ***

    Ismaeel:

    It is very hard to take someone seriously when they fall back on examples from centuries ago to argue why the Sharia is good, and using “Muslim scholarship” as evidence.

    ***

    Sunny:

    “Funny you should say that, because every time Musharraf tried to do away with them, they rose up in anger.”

    Are you sure about this? Because judging from the reports I’ve read (written by Pakistani activists and journalists), it seems like Musharraf is all too willing to keep in place the Hudood Ordinances, rather than “trying to do away with them” and then giving in to the mad mullahs…

  76. Bartholomew — on 3rd October, 2007 at 8:53 am  

    If Jobeda wants to make tediously didactic films which insult the audience’s intelligence by constantly telling us what to think, he is welcome to do so, but the vitriol he pours on the film is unwarrented. Viewers can make up their own mind about Judge Isah without some voiceover saying: “This person is bad”. It seemed to me that the shortcomings of Shariah rule were pretty obvious.

    Also, there are plenty of films that look at dodgy characters (including the far-right) without laying it on with a “dissenting voice” – I saw one just the other day, about Johnny Adair. Louis Theroux’s recent film on Fred Phelps also comes to mind.

  77. The Common Humanist — on 3rd October, 2007 at 9:28 am  

    I look at Britain and I think, you know what would help civil harmony…special treatment for muslims.

    Yep. That’ll work. The introduction of early medieval military law….yep, can’t see a problem with that….

    There is absolutely no reason for any aspects of Sharia to be introduced into the UK. None. NOt one.

    If people want to live under sharia there are many places where that can happen. The UK should never ever be one. Ever. Ever. Ever.

  78. The Common Humanist — on 3rd October, 2007 at 9:36 am  

    “this is about CIVIL code relating to FAMILY issues being incorporated into British Laws as it has been previously as in under the Raj for BRITISH MUSLIMS on a VOLUNTARY basis”

    Aye right. And I look good in a little black dress.

    And how long till we have ‘honour killings’ because a British Muslim women refused to go to the Shariah court and wanted a proper UK Court instead? (Where She would be valued as an equal. The section of the TV programme on rape made me incadescent with rage – when a judge utters the statement ‘and it is possible the women may escape punishyment’ and he is referring to a rape victim you know the system in question has absolutley nothing to offer.

    Why on earth should we re-introduce medievalism into the UK legal system? We kind of left that behind…at the end of the Middle ages………!

  79. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 10:16 am  

    We are not going to persuade Ismaeel that he is wrong. It is just a delight to see his nonense being rubbished here.

  80. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 10:18 am  

    Or nonsense, dammit.

  81. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 10:30 am  

    Desi Italiana,

    You make some very good points. I am as infuriated as I think you are about Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and rendition. The point is that they are disgraceful blemishes on the body politic of the Western world. It is up to us as individuals to do what we can to stop that barbarity. Which is not an option under Sharia, where barbarism is entrenched in the code. And two wrongs don’t make a right, I think.

  82. sahil — on 3rd October, 2007 at 10:42 am  

    Good point in post 78 Common Humanist. This idea of a ‘voluntary’ decision to refer to a Shariah court is nonsense.

    Lastly if you have specific problems about the UK system concerning divorce settlements or whatever, deal with specific issues, why overhaul the entire structure just because some Middle-Eastern ‘Scholar’ calls it more kosher than other judicial systems?

    And Ismaeel don’t even try to justify the death penalty. There is no place for it in any civilised society.

  83. Mostaque Ali — on 3rd October, 2007 at 11:06 am  

    Folks programs like that can’t be about Muslims being modern, looking to the future,and wanting to fit into British society—which is what most immigrants from South Asia aspire to I assume—otherwise they would be applying to live in Saudi Arabia.

    I am sure most don’t want to live in over surveillanced ghetto’s with high unemployment rates, seething with resentment and lost opportunities in what is otherwise a GREAT COUNTRY. Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, despite the Islamophobia of the country want to achieve the success of the Indian community.And they can.

    Again I say, this is a propaganda piece, WHOSE TARGET AUDIENCE WAS, non-Asians. The title and content WILL attract a largely non-Asian audience of course, who are already alarmed by events and sights in the UK, carefully orchestrated. Imagine then as a ‘local’seeing an Asian guy going about talking in a matter of fact way about the benefits of Sharia law! duh! duh!duh!

    Basic psychology people! “The Muslim hordes are at our gates” “The Kingdom of Heaven” played by a British actor.

    To those college grads who think the BBC is all light and progressive thinking, with pure intentions, do a little research. It’s a government funded organisation, with a high percentage of senior staff working for the intelligence service MI5.

    When I was at high school I noted the subtle propaganda of the monthly unemployment reports back in the early 1980′s from the BBC. “Unemployment has risen sharply again this month…blah…blah..showing a ‘local’ at the job center looking for work….then it cuts to ‘new’ jobs being created, and guess what, an immigrant happily busy at work.

    That was ages ago, and one can say it was subtle propaganda. Since then I have found that the BBC played a role in the coup against the Mossadegh government of Iran in 1953–documented in American state papers released recently. There are strong allegations that the BBC was involved in the coup against the Shah IN 1978-79, by PROPAGATING the mullahs of Iran.

    http://www.ziopedia.org/en/articles/neocons%10neolibs/iran%e2%80%99s_impending_destruction%3a_is_ahmadinejad_clueless?/

    “But what is not reported is that prior to the British-sponsored massive public relations campaign on behalf of the Ayatollah the government of the Shah was loved by the vast majority of the population”

    http://www.redmoonrising.com/Ikhwan/BritIslam.htm#V.

    Regards.

  84. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 11:12 am  

    Mostaque Ali,

    You said:

    “To those college grads who think the BBC is all light and progressive thinking, with pure intentions, do a little research. It’s a government funded organisation, with a high percentage of senior staff working for the intelligence service MI5.”

    Really? Do you have any evidence to back that up? If you do, please share it here.

  85. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 11:13 am  

    good points jobeda.

    anyone who wants to explore shariah can jolly well go and live in iran or saudi arabia, or the mooon – as far as i am concerned.

    this business of voluntary visits to shariah courts is the most ridiculous and dangerous thing i have ever heard.

    nut perhaps the point of the programme was to show that some people think that shariah is workable. and seeing as some people do think that, having a programme on it is not the end of the world i think. and if it gets people talking about whether they really want shariah in their life..

  86. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 11:18 am  

    good point from TCH in 78.

    the whole problem with being muslim is the community pressure thing. if it were really that individuals had full freedom of behaviour and thought without social interference and osctracisation from the ‘community’- that would be one thing. i would love to be able to hold forth to aunties about our dear Prophet’s exploits and what it actually says in the holy hadith, but alas, much as i would love the look on the aunties faces at my disobedience, my concern for my dear mother keeps me biting my tongue.

    one day though..

  87. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 11:24 am  

    Sonia,

    It is arguably all about controlling women, is it not? In a system where a woman’s testimony is substantially inferior to that of a man? That is not a step forward, it is a giant leap backwards….

    Still, Ismaeel seems to have gone all silent. Perhaps he is reconsidering….

  88. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 11:32 am  

    of course douglas! no woman in her right mind would ever go to a Shariah court, certainly when she has UK laws which would much better serve her. If a Muslim woman simply read up a bit more on Islamic Jurisprudence She would learn a Few Things She wouldn’t like ( if that was the law of the land she would be even more pissed off)

    {In Bangladesh, Douglas – where i am from – as a woman who is “considered” Muslim – I have no right to initiate divorce proceedings, should i wish to. } Again, in Bangladesh, there have been many attempts to do something about the inequality of divorce procedures for men and women, and the Mullahs have of course blocked this, and now we are in such a big mess, women’s rights have fallen by the wayside.

    the underlying problem which the ‘elders and betters’ would not want anyone to know is that religion is not really a matter of choice – for most people born Muslim, unless you are either really lucky with your family, or you are fine being some sort of social outcast. That is the fundamental bottom line. Of course, if you say this, people will say you are an Islamophobe ( esp. if you’re a white male) if you are a female, and one that came from a muslim upbringing, people will say what a traitor you are. ( which just about proves the whole community pressure thing ;-) )

  89. Katherine — on 3rd October, 2007 at 11:47 am  

    Personally, I turned off when I heard the first sentence – “how can Shariah Law fit into Britain” or words to that effect. The answer to that it can’t, in the same way that Canon Law no longers fits into Britain. Any discussion of that as if it were a serious question was of no interest to me whatsoever.

    Now, if someone were to put together a documentary about what Shariah Law means, and how it has been put to practise in other countries, then I would watch it as something educational.

  90. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 11:49 am  

    douglas – no. 72. wonderfully said.

    its this idea that the muslim ‘community leader’s have : these muslims are our subjects and why should we not rule over them! you have your subjects, let us have ours.

  91. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 11:59 am  

    interesting point Katherine – i think you’re right, that there is a need for people to be educated about Shariah law, where it comes from, who formulated it, the study of Islamic Jurisprudence – in itself. that would be interesting – i don’t think most Muslims know much about it either.

    the problem is that it would be hard to present such material neutrally. like – when it comes to the fact that slavery was regulated- and the issues of ‘concubinage’ within that slavery – i.e. sex slaves .

    how would one present that without being accused of showing historical Muslims in a bad light? therein lies the difficulty.

  92. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:00 pm  

    Sonia,

    Point.

    There are huge social pressures to conform, no matter which society you are a member of. It takes a realist such as your good self to understand the underlying group think that underpins it all. In this case, allegations of treason or Islamophobia are all part and parcel of it. It was not that long ago when Christianity was in it’s ascendance in the West that similar strategies were used against folk that thought for themselves. Or, at least thought against the prevailing orthodoxy.

    Take care.

  93. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:05 pm  

    ah yes, all those heretics.

    thanks douglas.
    this ramadan i am feeling so much better. no more guilt :-)

  94. The Common Humanist — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:14 pm  

    “interesting point Katherine – i think you’re right, that there is a need for people to be educated about Shariah law, where it comes from, who formulated it, the study of Islamic Jurisprudence – in itself. that would be interesting – i don’t think most Muslims know much about it either”

    I think that is a very good point. Most Shariah (i think I am right about this) dates from the 7th, 8th and 9th Centuries, during Islams initial expansionist phase – so essentially it is early medieval military judicial opinion – martial law in effect.

    Once I knew that it rather explains alot as to how Shriah is what it is and why it is wholly incompatible with modern civil society in the UK.

  95. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:26 pm  

    I didn’t watch all this programme but feel that Shariah is being misinterpreted both by mullahs in the west and “back home”. I wouldn’t go to a shariah court if it was run by idiots just like I wouldn’t go to a lawyer if he sounded like an idiot. When I got married, my husband approached an Imam that was able to understand the lives of muslims in this country and then explain the nikkah in this way…isn’t a muslim marriage part of shariah? am I being non british by wanting to have a muslim marriage and not just a civil one? The late Zaki badawi was a great example of Shariah in personal law being practised on an everyday level in this country..however, these need to be checked and open to scrutiny, not hidden away in some back alley mosque.

    Sonia, if you have questions about Islam, you should be able to ask them. And if people think these questions are offensive then they aren’t doing themselves any favours by creating an atmosphere of suspicion and fear. I do believe in Islam, but this does not mean I don’t question and think about certain parts of it. I do understand how you feel as I’ve mentioned to you before about the lack of debate within the communities and the fear of questioning. I think you should try to find other people who are able to answer your questions, not just family.

  96. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:34 pm  

    wikipedia article on Fiqh – islamic jurisprudence

    Mainstream Islam distinguishes between fiqh (“understanding of details”), which refers to the inferences drawn by scholars, and sharia, which refers to the principles that lie behind the fiqh. Scholars hope that fiqh and sharia are in harmony in any given case, but they cannot be sure.[2]

    we would have to have contemporary scholars debating issues of jurisprudence that were settled in the 7th century. sex slavery is a good example – its still in the lawbooks, so technically, if countries weren’t subject to international law which forbid slavery, it could be perfectly legal, if you had an islamic state which wasn’t subject to international law. ( thank goodness for international law then.)

    i urge you all to go read that sex slavery link on my post up above- its a very illuminating example.

    ali eteraz on this sex slavery business

  97. Homi K Bhaba — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:39 pm  

    Sofia

    From what I can see, sonia doesn’t have any questions regarding Islam. What she does have is a reasoned opinion on it. This opinion includes a virulent dislike of sexual slavery and hagiographic interpretations of Islam.

    Shariah law is a joke. Even funnier is Shariah economics. I once knew a staunch Islamist, and even he struggled to grapple with its inconsistencies. Very amusing stuff.

    Those who pine for Shariah should have went to Afghanistan when the Taleban were in charge.

  98. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:41 pm  

    this issue has disturbed me and I have not really looked into it too much as I haven’t found an environment in which to discuss it properly. Still looking though…

  99. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:42 pm  

    Homi, when you have an opinion you also ask a lot of questions. As for hagiography…I don’t believe in that anyway.

  100. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:43 pm  

    and can someone please tell me what an “islamist” is..as it means fuck all to me

  101. Mostaque Ali — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:44 pm  

    Hi Douglas,

    Even if I had a full list of agents working in the BBC for MI5 I wouldn’t be foolish enough to publish it in an open source, after all they are government servants doing a job.

    They monitor and control the corporation for folks at Thorny row. They decide what is legit to be aired, and what can’t get through. But the control is not anything like Soviet era television, but a little bit more subtle, as most things British.This has been the case since the BBC was established. BTW this is the case in most other Western media outlets.

    If this area interests you I invite you to do a little research yourself using, “Open sources” of course.My only little advice would be to shed any preconceptions of “It’s British, and it’s the best corporation in the world”, personally, though I haven’t watched the BBC for a while I found it parochial.In terms of professionalism and standing it is highly regarded by other countries.

    Douglas if you have a little time read the top two sites I quoted, and then read this one below, and then work your way back. Good luck, it can be interesting as long as you don’t think about publishing a book on the subject.

    http://www.payvand.com/news/06/mar/1090.html

    In 1978, the Iranian Ettelaat published an article accusing Khomeini of being a British agent. The clerics organized violent demonstrations in response, which led to the flight of the Shah months later. See U.S. Library of Congress Country Studies, Iran. The Coming of the Revolution. December 1987. The role of BBC Persian broadcasts in the ousting of the Shah is detailed in Hossein Shahidi. ‘BBC Persian Service 60 years on.’ The Iranian. September 24, 2001. The BBC was so much identified with Khomeini that it won the name ‘Ayatollah BBC.’

  102. Homi K Bhaba — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:45 pm  

    this issue has disturbed me and I have not really looked into it too much

    You are not alone. Many other Muslims are also in denial about the sanctioning of sex slavery and Muhammed’s own train of concubines.

    Sickening.

  103. Boyo — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:45 pm  

    Perhaps this point has already been made, but surely people who want to live in this country (or come to this country to live) should live by the laws of this country. Why would they want to import the laws of another country or culture?

    If I go to live in France, I don’t expect to be subject to English civil and criminal law, nor to expect to choose it.

    It’s stupid (ie, why would I move to a country in the first place if I wanted to change it to my own) and rude. It’s also quite arrogant and imperialistic, now I come to think on it. It promotes segregation. And of course if you are, say, a Muslim woman and don’t want to be divorced in a sharia court people will say you aren’t a “real” Muslim.

    It’s wrong wrong wrong.

  104. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:50 pm  

    Mostaque Ali,

    So, your information is a privileged secret, only known to those and such as those? Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

    However, I shall follow your links, and report back if there is anything substantive in them. Don’t hold your breath.

  105. Homi K Bhaba — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:51 pm  

    why would I move to a country in the first place if I wanted to change it to my own

    It’s also quite arrogant and imperialistic

    Nail hit on head.

    That is Islam: imperialistic.

  106. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:53 pm  

    Homi you really are blind aren’t you? did you read the rest of my sentence…of course not, because you only assume…

  107. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:54 pm  

    what is with ppl on this? Why can’t you be civil and have a proper discussion and then you talk about muslims being irrational…

  108. Homi K Bhaba — on 3rd October, 2007 at 12:57 pm  

    sofia

    What? Who is being irrational and how?

    The only irrational people I can see on this thread are, well, Muslims (the ones towards the top of the page talking about the ‘Jewish hand’).

  109. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:02 pm  

    Sofia,

    Can I ask you a question?

    You said:

    ” I didn’t watch all this programme but feel that Shariah is being misinterpreted both by mullahs in the west and “back home””

    Could you explain to me how interpretation ought to be carried out then? As you appear to have rejected jurisprudence.

  110. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:14 pm  

    So let me sum up the arguments made so far while i was asleep:

    1) We don’t like Shairah Law

    2) It’s barbaric

    3) We should go and live in another country if we don’t like it here. (no xenophobia there i note)

    4) It needs updating

    5) Some drivel about criminal law etc and people being pressurised into using the system

    6) It can’t be part of British law.

    As for the first two they are just assertions, if you don’t like something and you think it’s barbaric explain why you think so, don’t automatically assume that everyone is just going to agree with you.

    As to number 4 I have explained several times that that process has been going on for decades.

    No 5- hello we’ve been talking about civil provisions, who said anything about criminal law, also yes people may be pressurised, that can happen in any system- all it requires is appropriate safeguards.

    As for no 6- yes it can be part of British Law, it has been in the past, there is no reason why it can’t be now.

    The majoirty of the posters here are as usual stuck in their tired old fallacy of- this is the way things are and how we like them therefore that is the way things ought to be.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong.

    There is no such things as honest, reasoned or opened debate. It’s more like a punch and judy show- shariah boo boo hiss hiss.

    And just to clarify is the USA an uncivilised place. How do you define civilisation and barbarity exactly? I think 28 days detention without charge is pretty barbaric as well as prosecuting illegal wars and “collateral damage”.

    Oh and TFI be a man and stop posting under other names to make it appear as though you are more than one person- yes yes you TCH

  111. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:17 pm  

    In relation to No 4 in my above post- this is a DEMOCRACY- thereofore anyone has a right to attempt to change the law. Doesn’t DEMOCRACY mean the people ruling- therefore why shouldn’t Muslims who want to submit themselves to a Shariah court on a voluntary basis do so- and no it’s not a silly idea it works both in practice here and as we saw in the documentary in Nigeria- again if you want to make an assertion about something e.g. it’s silly it would be good to back it up with an argument, example etc, as this is how civilised people debate.

  112. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:21 pm  

    As for slavery, it was abolished under the Ottomons under a reciprocal arrangement with the west. Slavery in Islam was due to the social-political-economic factors of the day especially the fact that everyone had them and imprroved slaves rights considerably as well as incentivising their release. With the ending of slavery worldwide there can be no prospect of it’s re-emergence in the Islamic world regardless of whether we can still read about it law books.

  113. Homi K Bhaba — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:28 pm  

    With the ending of slavery worldwide there can be no prospect of it’s re-emergence in the Islamic world regardless of whether we can still read about it law books.

    So you reject the part of Shariah which allows a person to have slaves?

    Essentially, you are a ‘pick and mix’ advocate of Shariah.

    A reformer, if you like. Interesting.

  114. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

    No Homi,

    as i explained slavery is essentially a political matter vis-a-vis international relations as understand by the Jurists- several books on the medieval period especially by scholars belonging to the Hanafi school (the school by which most of the Islamic lands was ruled by) clearly denoting a principle of reciprocity- slavery falling into this category.

    Therefore slavery was allowed when it was the political norm vis a vis international relations- now it is not.

  115. The Common Humanist — on 3rd October, 2007 at 2:00 pm  

    I really don’t see why Muslim Britons, and by extension muslims staying here, should get a special legal system.

    We cannot accept a legal system for UK Citizens that makes 50% of the population inferior in the eyes of the law.

    We left that shit behind in the 19th century and there is no justification whatsoever for it to return.

    Medievalism belongs in the past.

  116. The Common Humanist — on 3rd October, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

    Who is TFI? I thought Chris Eveans was on R2 now?

    I am The Common Humanist. Yes, I am Common and, yes, a
    Humanist.

  117. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 2:05 pm  

    Douglas, what I mean is that these so called “shariah courts” have sprung up and run by people who are accountable to no one. There is nothing in place to monitor these people and having been on the receiving end of some rather unhelpful comments at Regents part mosque for one, I would pick someone who was able to understand an individual solution to an individual circumstance, thus use islamic jurisprudence as well as common sense.

    I feel that many who say they know about Shariah only have limited interpretation of it. They are unwilling to explore situations and often in cases of divorce will lay blame if any on the woman, or make her feel guilty of even wanting a divorce. I am not saying this is the case with all, as I know there are always exceptions to the rule…I just wish these so called Shariah experts would apply the same. Also, where are the female scholars? as a Muslim woman, I find we have gone backwards rather than forwards and if I speak about female rights I’m labelled a feminist by many Muslim men.

    As for Homi, you are one of those individuals who is only interested in being offensive for the sake of it, with nothing new or interesting to say. I know its easier to be like this when no one can see you..and you obviously have issues with Islam which is completely up to you..but the least you could do is try to engage instead of making general assumptions based on ignorance and prejudice.

  118. Sunny — on 3rd October, 2007 at 2:25 pm  

    The whole point of law is that everyone is treated equally under it.

    Shariah may be fine in instances that allow Muslims to live in accordance with their faith – halal meat, prayer rooms, time off for Eid etc. But in civil disputes, there is no reason why basic law cannot be and should not be applied. And besides, until its implementation is a lot more benign than we see around the world (in other words it has to be re-interpreted for modern times) then I’m afraid people have the right to say it should not be brought here.

    Why? Because it would inevitably be stacked against the smaller minority groups and women… and given that most ‘community organisations’ are dominated by middle aged men, this inherent sexism will only be perpetuated. Theory and reality are two different things PFM and Ismaeel.

  119. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 2:29 pm  

    Sofia,

    You make fair points.

    Thanks for your considered and intelligent reply.

    I think I understand better where you are coming from now.

    But, as for Ismaeel, it just gets worse and worse…comment to follow when I’ve calmed down a bit.

  120. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 2:41 pm  

    Shariah is being practised in many cases without people even thinking it is a specific “law”, look at Muslim births, marriages and deaths…these are all quite straigthforward situations where I don’t think anyone would have a problem, (unless you are talking about polygamy). I know of men who have two wives, but where only one is registered under civil courts. This is where I have a huge problem. Where is the financial and legal protection for the second wife? It bugs me that these men are able to take one verse out of so many and twist it to suit their own lifestyles without a thought to all the other things they may be ignoring but are emphasised more. I also find it dangerous for women to allow them selves to be in situations where they may not have legal recourse. Would the “shariah courts” be left to deal with these women? The system is open to abuse and would have nothing and no one to monitor it. I personally don’t want to live in a country like Saudi Arabia or Pakistan because they have a truncated version of shariah which suits men, and the rich, end of. Unless you have a transparent system in place which does treat all equally (and different where need be), Shariah will never be implemented honestly and openly. And as long as Muslim women are left on the fringes of this Muslim men will never be able to say that Shariah (as it stands now) is just.

  121. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 2:42 pm  

    sofia if you are interested in a place where you can discuss the aspects of sex slavery i can point you in the direction of some really interesting mostly muslim women’s blogs i’ve been reading since about jan 2007 ( and lovely strong women they are too!) and very informative as well. there are a lot of discussion about polygamy and all sorts of other stuff. you’d probably have a lot of common in them and there’s a lot of interesting thinking being done. if you’re interested, pls email me soniacub@yahoo.com and i’ll send you some links ( i don’t know if the ladies would like all of PP to descend on them!)

  122. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 2:51 pm  

    yes i’ve struggled with a lot of questions Sofia about the religion i was brought up in – and there was certainly never even a hint of asking those questions to family. interestingly, through discussions with other Muslims – some very devout – and people who like me – had issues- mostly on the internet – and through reading the Quran and Hadith and a lot of Quranic exegesis, i’ve come to my own conclusions now and resolved my questions. the interesting thing that i am sure you will be able to empathise with, is that young muslims simply aren’t encouraged to actually read up about their religion, and if they do, they simply can’t ask questions openly. and these are questions that do need to be asked – about Islam’s history and the not so nice things in the past – how do we grapple and reconcile them today? lots of people are asking the same questions -and they are talking to each other on the internet – the old days of everyone simply glossing over the unpleasantness and hoping for the best and not having to deal with it out in the open, are gone. blogging particularly has brought it out very much into the open.

  123. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:04 pm  

    No-one is suggesting that it should be set up on a basis where there is no expertise assessment, transparency, accountability, safeguards etc. They would all have to be looked into, examined and the appropriate measures put in place.

    However on reflection considering the governments complete lack of understanding of anything to do with the Muslim community and the Islamic faith i can see why there would be serious cause for concern in this regard.

  124. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

    Sonia I think many muslims do this subconsiously…accepting things because to do otherwise is somehow wrong, or even that they can’t be bothered. I’ve said this before but to believe in an unseen God you’d have to have a bit of blind faith as it is. To look at things like nature and use that as a way of explaining existence can swing both ways.
    I have many what people would say orthodox views, but those are because I choose to have them based on what I have read and understood and my basic beliefs…where I find my struggle is with the position of women in modern muslim societies. I am a historian by “trade” so historical practices will always be something I can analyse and offer various explanations (notexcuses) for, therefore are in a way “easier” to reconcile. It is what is going on now that I find hard to justify or question. I find young Muslim girls questioning whether they are allowed to go out without a father/husband/brothers “permission”…some who are questioning their right to an education or to go away to university. Their right in choosing a life partner, or to have children at a time which may suit them. It makes me wonder how Muslims can judge others when “our own backyards” are full of rubbish.

  125. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:08 pm  

    and given that no other government appears to have managed it either ( and them being muslims themselves!) just goes to show, don’t it.

  126. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:09 pm  

    Sunny said

    “the whole point of law is that everyone is treated equally under it”

    Sunny that doesn’t happen in any system of law, there are always exceptions, differentations made on the basis of various factors etc.

    What is being asked for is not the wholesale adoption of Islamic law throughout the UK to be applied to all citizens- it is a voluntary procedure whereby individuals can submit their disputes regarding family law issues to an Islamic judge for a binding ruling recognised and upheld by the British Legal system with an appeals system to the normal courts if necessary along with all other manner of safeguards, like for example proceedings conducted in english, the availability of social workers, legal advice etc.

    Why we keep on getting back to discussing about criminal law procedures practiced in countries like Iran and KSA is utterly beyond me.

  127. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

    yep Sofia, its precisely those things you mention – that really what young people are struggling with now.

  128. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

    Sonia said:

    and given that no other government appears to have managed it either ( and them being muslims themselves!) just goes to show, don’t it.

    but which Muslim government do you think is actually sincere towards Islam and the Muslims? i can’t think of one, certainly not the grossly corrupt Saudis. Most of the governments in the Muslim world are dictatorships which are in place to ensure that these countries comply with the “rules of game” according to global capital.

  129. The Common Humanist — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    Can you not see why the introduction of a legal system where women occupy second class status to
    men is deeply deeply objectionable to people in the UK (of all stripes)?

    TCH

  130. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:23 pm  

    Women do not hold second class status under an Islamic legal system, rather they have some rights which men do not have, men have some rights which they do not and they have most rights in common.

    This differentation of rights also exists in the British family law syster: a man is expected to provide maintenance to his divorced wife, though not vice-versa, it is a presumption also in the law that in the case of a divorce that a woman is more deserving of custody unless.

  131. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:29 pm  

    Sofia @ 124,

    It seems quite clear to me that the young Muslim women of your accquaintance are undergoing their own version of feminism. Do you think I’m right?

    Do you see it as the fundamental political, or indeed psychological, shift that I do?

    I happen to think this is very important. It seems to tie in quite neatly, perhaps too neatly, with one of the main agendas of PP.

  132. The Common Humanist — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:31 pm  

    So that will be a yes then (to second class status)

    the requirement for family support -= which is common to all legal systems – is hardly on a par with having a womens evidence weigh less then a mans or the presumption of blaming the victim in rape cases etc etc etc.

    In the UK men and women are equal under the law. Get used to it. Religious minorities should not have an opt out and a seperate system for civil or criminal proceedings.

  133. Kismet Hardy — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:33 pm  

    Inside a shariah court

    Doesn’t the whole lynch mob mentality mean they usually administer most of it outside though?

  134. a — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:37 pm  

    Ismaeel, that is a presumption of the judge on the basis that in most, but not all, divorce cases women earn less and undertake more child care. It’s also thankfully changing and more and more men are being awarded joint or main care of children. Where women earn more and are not the main carer they pay maintainence to their male ex-partner.

    It is not legally enshrined that women should care for children purely on the basis of their gender, let alone that they should be treated differently under law because of it. to do so is atavistic and no british citizen of either gender should be discriminated against in law in that manner.

  135. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:46 pm  

    TCH/TFI

    i know that you have difficulty reading but as i said before no- there is a differentation of rights.

    No the victim of a rape case is not presumed to be lying, in fact the Jurists agreed that her testimony is to be accepted without proof or oath. Imam Malik differed and said she should prove it by physical evidence of violence to her body.

    A woman’s evidence is only less than a man’s in certain issues relating to buisness matters which are again are not at issue here and the reasoning behind that is that traditionally women stayed at home and had little acquaintance with contracts etc which has led some jurists to question whether this stipulation is based on the origin of her being a woman or to do with her role in society and thus whether a significant change in a woman’s role in society would change this distinction.

  136. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

    a

    thanks for the clarification, but the point is there has been differentation in the way the law has been applied in the past which was my point, it is changing now to reflect people’s changing circumstances and lifestyle choices.

    However for those traditional religious Muslims who want to maintain a traditional religious way of life and wish therefore to be governed by a system of law which reflects and caters for this, why stop them?

  137. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:50 pm  

    I do agree with Ishmaeel when it comes to Muslim countries not espousing Shariah properly. However, who is best placed to do so? The mad mullahs in this country? I don’t think so..i’d rather live as a hermit in the hills than have to abide by their “version” of shariah..And Ishmaeel I know about the rights of women in Islam, what I’m finding again and again is regression in the communities where we are coming up against issues I have mentioned in post 124. Are these women being brainwashed into a particular and rather sexist interpretation of text? If Shariah is going to be introduced properly anywhere, surely it should be done with the express will of the people. And once again I will go on about women, because Ishmaeel, how many mosques fully integrate women in community/political/financial affairs without it being specifically for women?? Are women unable to think of anything other than domestic violence and having babies? It really peeves me when we have this talk of shariah when we havent even explored basic Islamic rights of women in a more meaningful way. Why is this?? What are muslim men afraid of? is this a control thing? once again i know not all men are the same, but I haven’t stepped in a mosque for years…the reason being what’s the point of using it to pray in, i can do that at home. What else is my function in a mosque besides this? I mean the men haven’t even got these mosques right and now we have a debate on shariah…bloddy pathetic.

  138. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    Earlier on, you said this:

    “You don’t like stonings and lashings, well i don’t like paying for murderers and rapists to put up their feet in belmarsh and hone their criminal skills.”

    Which suggested to me a quid pro quo, that locking murders and rapists up is one option, and that stonings and lashings is another.

    You really, really, have to address the issue of punishment in what, at best, would be a voluntary code in the UK. You have zero chance of getting agreement from anyone beyond your immediate group for the reintroduction of judicial stoning or lashing.

    So you changed your tune. Then you said:

    “Women do not hold second class status under an Islamic legal system, rather they have some rights which men do not have, men have some rights which they do not and they have most rights in common.”

    Which means, correct me if I am wrong, that men and women are to be treated inequally in whatever system you, Ismaeel dream up: for there is no society, no exant example of this dream ticket that we can identify with. It is, frankly, all in your napper.

    So, in summary, we are to be beaten if we disagree with you, we are to be stoned if we break your rules and the court of appeal is you good self?

    I don’t think so.

    For all it’s faults the law in this land is subject to revision and improvement on a democratic basis. What you’d have folk believe is that stoning is a good thing. Tell it to folk from the Dark Ages. Don’t insult us.

  139. Homi K Bhaba — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

    traditionally women stayed at home

    Err, no. In pre-Islamic Arabia women had jobs (remember Khadija, the business woman?) and held positions of power.

  140. a — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:57 pm  

    Ismaeel, nobody is stopping anyone from living as they wish within the law so I fail to see why it’s necessary to introduce a divisive and undemocratic legal system for a discreet section of the population. Continuing the divorce example – should both parties wish to reach an agreement that reflects their interpretation of their creed there is nothing to stop them, provided it’s legal.

    Sharia in this case is a red herring and one has to ask if that given it’s unnecessary what the point of lobbying for it is – other than to further religious control over people who do not wish to be subject to those restrictions.

  141. Soso — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:57 pm  

    So if I were to hand out leaflets promoting apostacy, or hold hands with my male partner (not that I have one), what would be the punishment? What about if I criticised Muhammad?

    Think “Theo Van Gogh”, Rumbold.

    Where was Ismaeel and his “tolerance” then?

    I lived and worked for a while in the Gulf States and had plenty of opportunity to observe how women were treated.

    They were treated like second-rate sub-humans for the most part. In fact, I witnessed this ugly misogyny even though I lived in a compound reserved for non-muslims…a kind of upscale Bantustan in which the *impure* were keep isolated. That ugliness and chauvinism was one of the reasons I did not renew my contract.

    Here’s a very good example of what I mean:

    http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=0821a06b-a34d-4e76-aaf9-b3015c1a37bb&k=66020

  142. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 3:59 pm  

    Douglas, I don’t know whether it is “Islamic Feminism” if there is such a thing. I’m not even sure I would want to label it. What I do know is that, unless you get womens rights sorted out, it makes all this discussion about Muslims being just and equitable a bit shallow. (please note the difference between the doctrine versus the male interpretation of it as practised by many). The status of women will always be a yardstick by which to analyse a community. And frankly, the Muslim communities in this country are doing pretty crap. If anyone wants to tell me otherwise, I’ll dig out some suicide and mental illness statistics for you regarding Asian (predominantly Muslim) women. I will also dig out statistics on the number of (Muslim) women being murdered because they happen to choose a husband/partner of their own. Maybe a few statistics on forced marriages will also be quite illuminating.
    Of course one has to take into account other factors such as the migrant experience and culture, but having said that, why is it that Muslim communities are still lagging way behind other ethnic minorities. Every time I raise this with people there is some sort of excuse. But I’m sick of this,enough of the chip on the shoulder attitude.

  143. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:00 pm  

    ha ha good one kismet

    yes muslim countries haven’t espoused Shariah correctly. it is hardly suprising that God’s divine ( assuming one even knows what that is) will would be perfectly administered by humans who are by nature imperfect and a bit dumb to boot. ( otherwise we would not be still arguing amongst ourselves who exactly was Gods’ Messiah??)

    Just because everyone believes in God ( say they did) is still no guarantee that

    a)we know what Gods will is
    b) even if we knew could we agree on how to carry it out properly?
    c) how do we get past the fact that everyone will say their pet thesis/plan/policy is God’s will?

  144. bananabrain — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:02 pm  

    now, i’m not a lawyer and our dear katy will probably kill me for wading into an area in which i so manifestly lack expertise, but it seems to me that all this bad-tempered handbag-swinging about shari’ah being either a mediaeval military code or a cuddly form of civil law is a bit, well, at cross-purposes.

    as a jew, i control the media, oops, sorry, i meant, i am able to marry in a jewish ceremony which is recognised as constituting marriage for the purposes of UK law. i also have to sign a civil marriage certificate and register my marriage and all that, but i have agreed to be bound by the laws of the jewish religious court in this particular matter – in fact, i’ve signed papers to the effect that i will take any divorce proceedings to them, but i haven’t thereby invalidated UK law’s tenets – i’ve just agreed to binding arbitration. surely, if a muslim wants to do the same for a personal civil matter, using an agreed shariah court as the arbitrator, that needn’t bother the UK, as long as nobody is coerced and all parties agree to abide by the outcome?

    the point is that if you can have ecclesiastical law used as a determinant in agreed cases of arbitration, then you should be able to go to whatever arbitrator you can agree on – of course, i look forward to professor dawkins being deluged by all the people who want to get divorced on the basis of evolutionary incompatibility…

    “my husband’s got a small tonker, which will put our kids at a genetic disadvantage!!”

    hur hur hur

    and i forgot about shari’ah in israel, that’s right too. the only (!) problem there is that it can be imposed on people regardless of whether they wish it in many cases….but that is surely fixable.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  145. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:03 pm  

    mind you, please keep this in the context of our abilities to agree on something as simple as when will Ramadan start- and soon to come up – the start of Eid. the simple fact that we have to set up ‘moon-sighting committees’ that cannot even agree with each other so different groups of muslims in the same country often celebrate eid on a different day – doesn’t bode well.

    Plus – who decides when God’s will/law has been implemented perfectly? God? Humans?

  146. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

    bananabrain :-) you don’t control the media?..

  147. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:04 pm  

    No Izzy, TCH isn’t me. I cannot be arse to take the piss out of you when everyone else is doing it so well.

    TFI

  148. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:05 pm  

    good point from a.

  149. The Common Humanist — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:09 pm  

    Ok, seriously, I am not The Friendly Infidel.

    I have read a reasonably large amount about Shariah and women are indeed second class citizens.

    I think ‘a’ and Douglas are right @ 140 and 138

    Even if Shariah was a just system, which it isn’t and as it is meant to be immutable etc it is unlikely to fundamentally change despite claims to evolving, it would still be deeply wrong for a particular religious group to get special treatment through a seperate legal system.

  150. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:11 pm  

    Sofia,

    i agree with all your points about women and their present plight within the Islamic community. Yes there is definitly need to deal with these issues and yes there need to be many more women scholars.

    Douglas you are not even making coherent statements any more and they are certainly not related to anything i have said so i will no longer respond to you until you have the decency to actually read and see what i am saying.

    Sonia,
    of course the administration of shariah will never be perfect because as you said we are imperfect, limited human beings.

    As Muslims your various questions about how do we know what is God’s will and how to apply it have been answered by 1400 years of scholarship which continues to this day.

    No-one has been suggesting that Britain becomes an Islamic theocracy and it is rather a cheap trick on the part of various parties here to keep diverging off the actual issues which British Muslims are calling for to some fantasy land world where Muslims are demanding that they rule Britain under the sway of Islamic law. I’m not suggesting that such Muslims don’t exist but what i’m saying is that that is not what the vast majority of British Muslims who are calling for limited provisions are calling for (nb: i’m not saying the vast majority of British Muslims are calling for this, i’m referring to those that are.)

  151. a — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:11 pm  

    I should really try a longer name – a (pure laziness on my part) turns out to be fiddly.

  152. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:15 pm  

    Sofia @ 142,

    I’m sorry if I have upset you, that was not my intention.

    I take it, reading between the lines, that you do think that your religion has some catching up to do on the equality stakes?

    I’d like to think I was on your side. Which is a bit worrying, as I’m not quite sure what your ‘side’ actually is.

    Still, I’ll stand by you. :-)

  153. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

    Ishmaeel, do you not see a danger in this such as with divorce cases? Where women may feel morally obliged to go through the trauma of having to explain her situation to an intrusive idiot mullah in order to get a divorce.

  154. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:26 pm  

    Sofia, that’s why i said the whole system has to be thought out in depth and procedures put into place. For example there could a female scholar or social worker etc who the sister could speak to her about her case and the questions and answers could be relayed to the Judge in question.

    A Mullah by definition is not able to judge in a divorce case, although i do understand your reservations about some of the Imams of the masjids we have here. It is important however not to stereotype we also have many second generation english speaking scholars who in many cases are trained solicitors, barristers, engineers and doctors as well as being religious scholars. I think sadly you have not had the chance to meet many or perhaps any like this and as i said before i do think that any judge would have to be qualified, vetted, be able to speak english and be familiar with english law and possibly have a normal magistrate as an advisor.

    And one last small point- my name is Ismaeel not Ishmael, i would be grateful if you could address me by name not another form of it. JazakAllah

  155. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

    Douglas i’m not upset. I wouldn’t say my religion needs to catch up, rather the interpretation of it. I’m tired of reading women aren’t allowed to this aren’t allowed to do that blah blah…it makes me wonder why so many women are choosing to be Muslim if it were such an oppressive religion. Am I missing something, even though I was born and brought up a Muslim? Or are these women who are choosing this religion know what they’re letting themselves in for. All of a sudden they will be judged on their appearance and traditional gender role. Not by the religion but by the people who profess to follow it. As a Muslim woman I sometimes have to go through life ignoring certain Muslim men on the peripherey of my own experience because locking horns with those types of men would be enough to put me off Islam..Sad really

  156. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:30 pm  

    “As Muslims your various questions about how do we know what is God’s will and how to apply it have been answered by 1400 years of scholarship which continues to this day.”

    well that is assuming one accepts such scholars’ viewpoints. personally, given their reasoning on slavery- i find that reasoning to be very suspect – there is no reason why i should trust them on any other accounts. generally speaking, they have gone out of their way to interpret Islam as a religion where Man is practically intermediary between God and the rest.

    I have no reason – apart from what they have told everyone else down the chain – to believe that God spoke to some man in the desert and told him HIs Will and Law. of course i might like to believe it, it may well be true, my parents think so – but unfortunatley – in the end, given the privileges the early Muslims conferred upon themselves and that the justification of their empire was based on religion – it is a very convenient set of events. my innate suspicion towards humans and warmongerers and empire builders leads me to be very skeptical.

    of course someone can choose to believe in god if they so choose, even if there is god out there i fail to see why there has to be a ‘pathway’ and one messenger – that is such a typical Political Party Leader type trick. and frankly i dont believe in a god that sends down memos that get so lost and confused he has to try it in 3 goes.

  157. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

    Also on the same point don’t people here think it would be better for a vetted, regulated, transparant and accountable system to be set up here for the administration of these matters rather than the ad hoc Shariah councils and individual Muftis giving rulings and counter rulings all over the place with absolutley no transparancy or accountability?

  158. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

    Ismaeel, (sorry for spelling your name wrong, I know myself how annoying it can be)
    I understand your point of view but once again you talk of women talking to other women on womens issues…is this all we’re good for?
    As for not meeting the right scholars…I have met some who I would on the whole agree with, such as Hamza Yusuf and the late Zaki Badawi..also people such as Ajmal Masroor who I don’t know of as a scholar but who I think is ok, (on the whole). However, i’m talking of the average Muslim experience, maybe not in London as the majority of the communities do not live in London, but say in Bradford, Birmingham, Manchester. It’s like walking into a time and cultural warp…I’m asian and I feel like an outsider, so the thought of creating a shariah based legal system in areas like this is already making me feel uneasy…as these ppl have segregation, deprivation, educational, issues that have yet to be resolved without creating another feeling of “otherness”

  159. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:36 pm  

    Well Sonia, that’s your view and your entitled to it, but now we’re steering into issues of theology and belief which is again off topic and no doubt if i started to address your issues i would be accussed (as happened here before) of being a religious supremacist who is aggressivley propagating my religion to all and sundry.

    Thus i won’t be drawn into this distraction rather suffice to say many of the early Islamic scholars were women and that the reality is many people (approx 20-25%) of the world do believe in Islam and would like ideally to be administered by Islamic law.
    We have a situation of a religious minority in this country who wish to submit themselves to certain issues of family law within a shariah framework- and this is the real parameter of this debate or at least should be.

  160. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

    are women choosing to be muslims sofia? (there are some converts out there..i’ve been reading some ‘Brother’s theories on why these women – mostly ‘white’ as he points out – convert. ) granted women who are born muslim are struggling with families over career and partner choices, choosing your own religion, or rejecting the one you were born with, is a difficult step indeed. the difficulty is that we women have been taught for so long that our family’s honour rests on our shoulders, we must be good mothers, and pass on our family values onwards, its hardly suprising so many women hush the frustrating and difficult questions. and other women make it very difficult too. there is a very problematic approach – which runs along the lines of ‘i’m putting up and not complaining, why are you making a scene, why are you better than us? are you different to us?

  161. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:37 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    Oh, deary me, the wee boy can’t debate, won’t debate.

    “Douglas you are not even making coherent statements any more and they are certainly not related to anything i have said so i will no longer respond to you until you have the decency to actually read and see what i am saying.”

    And all I have done is cut and paste what Ismaeel actually wrote. Well, hell mend me, I am an evil wee toad, not worthy of his wit and wisdom.

    What?

    “You don’t like stonings and lashings, well i don’t like paying for murderers and rapists to put up their feet in belmarsh and hone their criminal skills.”

    This would be Ismaeels’ words, not mine. Judge for yourselves, is this a reasonable position to take? Ismaeel seems to think so, Ismaeel is incapable of arguing his point. Ismaeel is so far up his arse that he considers his views are worthy, when they clearly are the expressions of a poncy wee schoolboy. Ismaeel, please keep commenting here. Please, for fucks sake please, don’t respond to any criticism you get, You never know, Sunny might hand the site over to you. See that flying pig?

  162. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:38 pm  

    frankly, that’s what i get from some of my sisters, my cousins, my nieces – very hostile sometimes, and very dispiriting.

  163. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:40 pm  

    yes it is my view Ismaeel, thanks. the issue really is in any case that you see muslims as a bloc – as a group – rather than a collection of individuals who probably have a very different idea of what being muslim means. even if i accepted scholar x y or z’s theories, it would still be my right as an individual to define my religion. Not yours.

    the fact of the matter is that the ‘collective’ is not one entity with one opinion.

  164. a — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:41 pm  

    no, Ismaeel, I don’t think it’s the states place to regulate the implementation of your religious law. National law is amendable by it’s people and accountable to them, sharia is neither of those things – by it’s nature it cannot be transparent or accountable but rather a matter of theological interpretation. To regulate it would be to accept it as a quasi-legal system, which it can’t be here.

  165. sonia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:41 pm  

    so you simply cannot say Muslims want this, give it to *US* because it is simply not that simple, you do not know that Muslims want what you want, or that we will all agree on how Sharia should be implemented in Britain.

  166. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

    Sofia,
    you misunderstood me, you commented that women may feel uncomfortable having to explain their divorce case to a Mullah, so I gave some solutions. I was not suggesting that was all they were good for.

    There are many trained women Islamic scholars in this country and perhaps they could sit on a joint panel with male scholars- i don’t know if these ladies are organised into some sort of body or society, but they should be definitly involved.

    I understand your concerns about other parts of Britain but again i think you are succumbing again to stereotyping. I live in the midlands and often visit Manchester, Bradford, Rochdale etc and even there there are many good people doing good work.

    Yes there is a huge amount of work to be done in our communities, a major part of that is building a strong and positive sense of identity, if Muslims can see themselves empowered legally within their own communities with their own laws- i believe this would certainly help give them a better and more confident view of themselves rather the extremely conflicted one we sadly see so many have today.

  167. a — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    “Yes there is a huge amount of work to be done in our communities, a major part of that is building a strong and positive sense of identity, if Muslims can see themselves empowered legally within their own communities with their own laws- i believe this would certainly help give them a better and more confident view of themselves rather the extremely conflicted one we sadly see so many have today.”

    The problem that some muslims have in being both british and muslim should be addressed by creating a muslim only identity and muslim only legal systems for them within Britain?

  168. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:49 pm  

    Douglas

    other people started bringing up issues vis a vis stoning, lashing etc, i responded. It has however absolutly nothing to do with the issue at hand which you conflated it with deliberatly to distort the picture, hence my response.

    Sonia

    no one is stopping you or anyone else defining your religon for yourself, do what you like. The premise i have put forward from the start is whether British Muslim INDIVIDUALS can VOLUNTARILY submit themselves to an Islamic court on certain RESTRICTED CIVIL matters in the UK or not.

    A

    If British Muslims wanted these laws- then ipso facto they would be laws chosen by the people for those people and only those people.

    Law isn’t defined by being created by human beings, that is a very narrow definition which reflects your own political prejudices.

  169. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:55 pm  

    A

    Muslims live in a society where their religon, culture, history etc is constantly under attack from politicians, journalists, commentators etc. This can lead to deep frustration and resentment as we have seen. Muslims need to feel that they have a strong Islamic identity based on Islam which they can robustly uphold and feel proud of. This doesn’t mean that this should be their only identity, i’m not in the camp of you have to choose whether you are british or muslim.

  170. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 4:59 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    I did say I’d keep commenting.

    You said:

    “if Muslims can see themselves empowered legally within their own communities with their own laws..”

    Rubbish.

    If you have issues with the current legal status, fight it democraticaly, don’t do the victim thing. You are becoming less credible the more you post.

    And, what is this ‘our communities’ stuff? I take it you mean ‘my community’ stuff. You are a self centred person, that’s what you are. Protective of the male domain, much like a Lion.

  171. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 5:04 pm  

    Douglas

    I have no issues per se with our current legal status, you again fail to see my point. Your view is it is all or nothing. Either Muslims change the whole system for everyone or it’s not changed for anyone. I on the other hand am proposing a separate system for those who volunteer to use it.

    I also note that as usual you’re reverting to making assertions about me, Islam, the Shariah etc again without anything resembling an argument and as such i’ll ignore the childish remarkes made at the end of your comment.

    Although I am half Sinhalese (trans: People of the Lion) on my father’s side.

  172. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 5:06 pm  

    or toad.

    TFI

  173. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 5:06 pm  

    Sonia, I know lots of women who have converted, and have done so not to get married to some pakistani bloke who got suddenly remembered he had to take his …I also, although having been brought up a muslim largely out of not thinking of any other religion, would now think of myself as someone who is trying to be Muslim.

  174. Sofia — on 3rd October, 2007 at 5:07 pm  

    ok i missed out on the whole women converting to get married thing..blah blah

  175. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 5:34 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    You have still not addressed the question of punishment. I happen to think, as an atheist, that it is ridiculous for religious folk, Muslims happenstance, to think that apostasy equals death.

    Personally, I’d never meaningfully give my vote to a groupiscule that thought that that was an OK viewpoint.

    What, exactly, is the Ismaeel position on apostasy? Just a light beating perhaps, or a stoning, or an execution?

    Readers of this blog deserve to know.

  176. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 5:36 pm  

    As i said earlier it was connected within the context of an Islamic state to the question of treason which was a capital offence.

    It is not outside of those contexts punishable at all.

  177. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 5:48 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    So, can I take it that you, personally, are against murdering folk for apostasy? And what would you do if your betters told you otherwise?

    You are not engaging.

    You have messed up mate. You do not have an arguement worth it’s name.

    Sad, but there you go….

  178. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 5:53 pm  

    Douglas,
    yes i am against murdering apostates and would not do so even if my betters were to tell me so because there is no obedience to the created in disobedience to the Creator.

  179. Desi Italiana — on 3rd October, 2007 at 6:06 pm  

    Ismaeel:

    “Muslims live in a society where their religon, culture, history etc is constantly under attack from politicians, journalists, commentators etc. This can lead to deep frustration and resentment as we have seen. Muslims need to feel that they have a strong Islamic identity based on Islam which they can robustly uphold and feel proud of.”

    What on earth does this baqwaas mean, please? It is very true that Islam and Muslims are villified in the media and by politicians. It is also true that media frame discussions having to do with Islam, the Sharia, and Muslims in a certain way which is lopsided and clearly has an agenda (ie CNN. I swear, everytime I watch CNN’s little info-tainment pieces on countries where the people are predominantly Muslim, I feel like hurling my coffee cup towards the TV. And I’m not even Muslim).

    But so many of the points you make, Ismaeel, are empty. Any conversation that falls back on religion is not only mind-numbing, but such a waste of time because most of it is illogical. I’m all down for seeing how the Sharia affects people’s lives, and so far, no one has been able to answer what was so offensive about the BBC piece.

    Ismaeel, your comments about “Muslim people” need to have a “Muslim identity” is so empty. What the heck do you exactly mean?

    “The premise i have put forward from the start is whether British Muslim INDIVIDUALS can VOLUNTARILY submit themselves to an Islamic court on certain RESTRICTED CIVIL matters in the UK or not.”

    Not to be mean or anything, but this is the stupidest comment I’ve read so far. So you’re advocating some sort of parallel judicial system, and that parallel system can be resorted to voluntary. Have you any idea of these sorts of consequences, both legally, socially, and economically?

    Really, apart from falling back on “Islamic scholars,” you haven’t thought this out beyond them and your various “Muslim identity” stuff, have you?

  180. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 6:15 pm  

    Desi Italiani

    aside from your insulting comments, i’ll respond to your comments.

    Firstly a Muslim like any other person needs to have a sense of self-respect, dignity, confidence in who he or she is.

    Who he or she is consists of a number of identities- religious, racial, linguistic, ethnicity, nationality etc

    If however an individual is primarily idenitfied with one identity and demonised because of it- their self-respect, dignity etc is eroded.

    By giving individuals and communties autonomy over their own affairs allows them to grow and rebuild their sense of identity and self-respect.

    As for the legal, social and economic ramifications of the establishment of a parallel legal system, i think they would be only beneficial. If you can suggest some examples by which you think it would be detrimental i’d be more than happy to discuss it with it you.

    If you prefer to just use obsecenities, insult and rely on your assertions and assumptions then i don’t see much point in engaging with you.

  181. Desi Italiana — on 3rd October, 2007 at 6:29 pm  

    Ismaeel:

    You’re lashing out on everyone who is criticizing Sharia as stereotyping Muslims, yet you are stereotyping them yourself.

    You think that something singular as the Sharia in and of itself will give substance to “Muslim pride” “Muslim identity” and “Muslim dignity.” Do you think that people who claim adherence to Islam are as one dimensional as you paint them out to be? That having the Sharia at their disposal will give them this sense? Do you honestly think that Sharia will fulfill or give substance to the pluralities that make up a person’s identities and give it a strong foundation? Quit looking at people who claim their faith to be Islam as flat and not complex individuals not everyone else, Muslim or not.

    Also, you seem to consider yourself as some kind of spokeman for “Muslims”. You are not.

    “rely on your assertions and assumptions then i don’t see much point in engaging with you.”

    You should follow your own criticisms. And then ask yourself why everyone else doesn’t want to engage with you anymore.

  182. vader — on 3rd October, 2007 at 6:34 pm  

    People here on this blog are being very unfair to dear brother Ishmael.

    I think it extremely reasonable that british muslims should have sharia law as an option to the heathen, ungodly secular laws.

    Only, I’d go further. I’d insist that the ENTIRETY of the sharia – da hudud you mofos – is the option, not just the ‘civil’ bits.*

    That will sort out da REAL muslims from the posers!

    *Brother Ishmael may also find himself a proper job if he proves himself adept at wielding a sword/whip …somehow i have no doubts on this score.

  183. Desi Italiana — on 3rd October, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

    Douglas Clark:

    “The point is that they are disgraceful blemishes on the body politic of the Western world.”I am as infuriated as I think you are about Gitmo, Abu Ghraib and rendition.”

    I disagree that they are “blemishes”. In terms of torture similar to Abu Ghraib, there was nothing deviant about that. Torture- or “interrogation techniques” as the euphemism in military training manuals has it” is not an aberration in terms of military practice. What was aberrant is that the torture become publicized to the extent it did.

    Torture is also legal now under POTUS.

    PATRIOT ACT is a law which strips many rights.

    Habeaus Corpus has been legally suspended.

    The civil rights we have, particularly in reference to equality of all citizens regardless of ethnicity, is not something that was granted by the benevolent American political system. This came after an intense movement by African Americans. And this is not too long ago and we still have a ways to go (witness the legalization of “resegregation” that took place recently.)

    And while some of the above legal directives smack in contradiction which the law itself (like suspending habeaus corpus and the fifth amendment which was guaranteed by the Constitution), there have been numerous examples in which the law itself has sustained and created inequalities and inhumane treatment (capital punishment, etc).

    So no, I don’t see the American/Western politic and/or seemingly secular as something inherently “better.” Yes, we do not have a chop chop square like Saudi Arabia, but there are plenty of practices that I don’t regard as “better” in the US and/or Western world. Furthermore, focusing solely on the Sharia causes us to overlook similar practices that do NOT stem from the Sharia that still take place. Like throwing acid on a woman because of dowries. That’s not law, but it sure does happen, very few men get prosecuted for it, and similar practices function as customary laws which a non Sharia and supposedly secular judicial arm does not bring into line or superimpose itself.

    Also, no one pointed this out, but the current Western legal system is based on some Judeo-Christian elements, especially in terms of justice.

  184. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 6:48 pm  

    Desi Italiana

    I haven’t lashed out at anyone here for stereotyping Muslims, i mentioned quite nicely once or twice to Sofia that she may have fallen prey to a tendency to stereotype.

    I don’t believe that adopting shariah courts is the be all and end all of Islam or being a Muslim, neither have i suggested that.

    I have not claimed to be a spokeman for Muslims, i have had a job as a spokesman for a muslim organisation whereby i spoke on behalf of the organisation’s leader.

    I am however speaking on behalf of myself and others who i know feel the same way as i do.

    Desi, i have been more than happy to discuss with anyone here any and all of my views rather than just attempting to force them down other’s throats as you and others have done. I note that you are avoiding the points i made to you and have instead just resorted to personal abuse.

    It seems to me that those unwilling to engage in the debate here fall into 3 categories

    1) Those who just want to demonise Muslims and Islam regardless.

    2) Those who regard the western liberal democratic legal-economic-political-social model as inherently superior without any need to demonstrate this through any means of proof and regard any other system as backwards and barbaric again without demonstrating this through any means of proof.

    3) Those who have not sufficiently examined their own philosophy/ideology sufficiently and have found they cannot adequatley formulate responses to unexpected points being put their way.

  185. Don — on 3rd October, 2007 at 6:56 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    The system you are describing appears to be little more than a domestic arbitration system – sort of Relate with a religious foundation. However, your frequent emphasis on the voluntary nature of such arbitration seems to me to be either disingenuous or naive. Once such a system is instituted as being in any way (appeals nothwithstanding) binding, then how much social and familial pressure will be brought to bear on people (yes, mostly women) to ‘volunteer’, whatever their true inclinations?

    Rhetorical question, we both know that the answer is ‘A lot’. I am reminded of the debates over religious dress in schools, where we frequently heard moslem schoolgirls saying that if a particular girl upped the ante and was permitted a more severe form of dress then they would be deprived of their best argument against being pressured into wearing a garment to which they were averse; ‘Can’t, we’re not allowed.’

    Once there is an alternative to the law of the land, even in principle, then the protection that the law offers to all equally is in hazzard. Once you open that door then you will inevitably allow through it the attitude that there exists ‘our’ law (virtuous, divinely sanctioned and superior) and ‘their’law (decadent, unholy and inferior). How can that not re-enforce division and alienation?

    I’m sure that is not what you intend, but unintended consequences are inescapable facts.

    I think it reasonable, when sharia law is proposed, for people to look at situations where it currently exists, or is claimed to exist. And the fact is that courts which claim the authority of sharia do dispense a form of justice which many (including myself) see as barbaric. You may well be correct in arguing that such courts are in fact implementing hudood or other cultural norms under the guise of sharia, but the level of personal interpretation available to often ignorant clerics is such that sharia has been shown to lend itself to such distortions. If, indeed, distortions they be.

    The fact that sexual slavery, wife-beating and the death penalty for apostasy or homosexuality remain ‘on the books’ is a problem which cannot be avoided by saying, in effect, ‘Yes, but my interpretation is that we wouldn’t do that, or at least not here, not now.’ The possibility is intrinsic, is it not? And a legal system containing those intrinsic possibilities is not one that will be welcomed in the here and now.

    I accept that you are not intentionally calling for a theocracy, but you are suggesting that the interpretation by a cleric of the wishes of a (in my opinion imaginary) deity as revealed in the distant past should have, at least in priciple, the force of law. I hope you can understand the profound extent to which I am opposed to that principle. It preety much goes to the core of my being.

    And the only benefit you have so far proposed is that some moslems might feel better about themselves. Not an adequate reason.

  186. Desi Italiana — on 3rd October, 2007 at 7:19 pm  

    Ismaeel:

    The sentiments you echo seem to be a first generation preoccupation.

    I am sure that there are many, many British Asians who identify themselves as Muslim (both first generation and not) who are comfortable resorting to the existing system without an appended Sharia option.

  187. Desi Italiana — on 3rd October, 2007 at 7:22 pm  

    “I note that you are avoiding the points i made to you and have instead just resorted to personal abuse.”

    Read my comments to you, Jobeda, and Douglas Clark. That should answer your questions. I haven’t been avoiding them, I am just at work.

  188. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 7:28 pm  

    Don.

    You said ” However, your frequent emphasis on the voluntary nature of such arbitration seems to me to be either disingenuous or naive. Once such a system is instituted as being in any way (appeals nothwithstanding) binding, then how much social and familial pressure will be brought to bear on people (yes, mostly women) to ‘volunteer’, whatever their true inclinations?”

    You may have missed the point i made earlier, which is that we already have these arbitrations happening under the authority of one or other Shariah Council or Mufti, so the dangers you fear for Muslim women are in fact greater in the unvetted, unregulated and unaccountable system we have at present.

    “Once there is an alternative to the law of the land, even in principle, then the protection that the law offers to all equally is in hazzard. Once you open that door then you will inevitably allow through it the attitude that there exists ‘our’ law (virtuous, divinely sanctioned and superior) and ‘their’law (decadent, unholy and inferior). How can that not re-enforce division and alienation?”

    I can wholly understand your concerns here and these somewhat tie into what Sofia was saying earlier about the wider issues within the Muslim community. There needs to be alot of work done on education about what how Muslims should act towards and view non-Muslims from both a theological and practical point of view. However one of the big barriers those who work in this field face is that some of our youngsters due to the recent wars and the confrontational nature of some commentators, public figures and politicians as well as certain demagogues within our own community view any such education with a great degree of suspicion as a government strain of Islam and thus inauthentic. Something therefore needs to be done to empower people within this society.

    On the reverse side Muslims may also view non-Muslims more favourably as they will see them as allowing to practice their own laws and giving them more liberty, it worked under the British Raj.

    You said “but the level of personal interpretation available to often ignorant clerics is such that sharia has been shown to lend itself to such distortions. If, indeed, distortions they be.”

    That’s why i’m in favour of regulation and oversight.

    You said “The fact that sexual slavery, wife-beating and the death penalty for apostasy or homosexuality remain ‘on the books’ is a problem which cannot be avoided by saying, in effect, ‘Yes, but my interpretation is that we wouldn’t do that, or at least not here, not now.’ The possibility is intrinsic, is it not? And a legal system containing those intrinsic possibilities is not one that will be welcomed in the here and now.”

    That’s again to take us back to the issue of totality of Shariah Law which none but a tiny minority are calling for.

    “I accept that you are not intentionally calling for a theocracy, but you are suggesting that the interpretation by a cleric of the wishes of a (in my opinion imaginary) deity as revealed in the distant past should have, at least in priciple, the force of law. I hope you can understand the profound extent to which I am opposed to that principle. It preety much goes to the core of my being.”

    That’s your view, but does that mean it should be enforced on others who have a contrary faith based view?

  189. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 7:32 pm  

    Desi Italiana,

    You aid:

    “Also, no one pointed this out, but the current Western legal system is based on some Judeo-Christian elements, especially in terms of justice.”

    Well, what is wrong with that? Tell me.

  190. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 7:32 pm  

    Desi Italiana

    in fact they are second generation preoccupations, the majority of the first generation were quite happy to keep their heads down and not involve themselves in this political system at all. Can you recall any of the older generation ever bringing these issues up, no neither can I.

    Also you have not told me of any of the terrible social, economic and legal effects of the implementation of shariah courts in this country yet, so no you haven’t answered my questions, although i do appreciate that you are busy and will endeavour to be patient in waiting for your response on this issue.

  191. Desi Italiana — on 3rd October, 2007 at 8:18 pm  

    Namaskaar, Douglas Clark:

    -”“Also, no one pointed this out, but the current Western legal system is based on some Judeo-Christian elements, especially in terms of justice.”

    “Well, what is wrong with that? Tell me.”

    Nothing’s wrong with that. I only wanted to point out that we tend to think of Western laws as free of religious influence, and it’s not. And we are harping on the Sharia for being religiously based (but Sharia is ripe for debate though, for the reasons that a lot of the commentators have pointed out).

    Of course, the substance of laws- whether they stem from religious elements or not, and whether they are “Western” or not- is always up for debate (do they guarantee certain rights in accordance with our definition of rights, justice, etc). As is everything else.

  192. Don — on 3rd October, 2007 at 8:50 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    If, as you say, Moslem women are endangered by an ‘unvetted, unregulated and unaccountable system’ of religious courts/tribunals, then that is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed. I just doubt that formally legitimising the principle upon which those assemblies base their authority is the right course of action.

    Of course I am aware that only a tiny minority are calling for a total sharia, but minorities have often shown themselves to be energetic enough and organised enough to shift agendas in unexpected ways. Have you considered the possibility that your intentions for an effective regulation and oversight system may be over-optimistic?.

    ‘That’s your view, but does that mean it should be enforced on others who have a contrary faith based view?’

    No, I was stating my position. I think we would all be better off if religion played less of a role in identities and communities. You are asking to increase the status and authority of essentially theocratic institutions. I oppose that.

    What do you mean by ‘enforced’, in this context?

  193. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 9:01 pm  

    Don,

    what i meant by “enforced” was that your atheistic views about the authority of religious law should be used to deny Muslims the right to administer themselves under it if they so choose. Enforced was probably a poor choice of wording.

    As for being over-optimistic, perhaps i am, but if it wasn’t going to be a system which had the appropriate fairness, transparency, accountability then i would have serious reservations about it as it would probably do more to blacken the name of Shariah which would be contrary to my intention.

  194. douglas clark — on 3rd October, 2007 at 9:59 pm  

    Ismaeel,

    Well, as a well known atheist, and consequently a member of the silent majority, I do not accept your ‘right’ to administer your views to half of your population. Acceptance of your viewpoint, based as it is on submission, is no way forward. It is, in fact, a humiliation. Male Muslims have no more ‘right’ to control the lives of their women than I have.

  195. Ismaeel — on 3rd October, 2007 at 10:25 pm  

    Don,

    atheists are not a silent majority, not by any research done by anyone and you are certainly not silent at any rate neither are your brothers in atheism Dawkins, Hitchens et al.

    I don’t see how you equate individual voluntary submission to a court as controling the lives of women. As Sofia and many other Muslim women will tell you, your views are steeped in orientalism and how little to do with Islam although may reflect some people in the Asian community of all religious backgrounds.

  196. Don — on 3rd October, 2007 at 10:56 pm  

    ‘As Sofia and many other Muslim women will tell you, your views are steeped in orientalism…’

    If Sofia cares to tell me anything of the sort, I’ll listen to her reasons. I won’t be easy to convince, but I’ll listen.

    But you are right, I’m not silent. Why the hell should I be?

  197. douglas clark — on 4th October, 2007 at 12:16 am  

    Ismaeel @ 195,

    Well, you do an excellent job of attempting to define what other folk should think. Sofia, for instance, seems to me to think something other than you. It makes you look like a petty control freak when you argue otherwise. Sofias point of view has only become apparent to me through her willingness to discuss it here. It is an admirable point of view. It is most certainly not connected to any orientalism.

    Which is exactly why you and yours should never, ever be allowed a free ride for your ridiculous sentiments.

  198. soru — on 4th October, 2007 at 12:18 am  

    Why we keep on getting back to discussing about criminal law procedures practiced in countries like Iran and KSA is utterly beyond me.

    Because the single word _shari’a_ is being overloaded to mean at least four distinct things:

    1. full national-scale official criminal and civic law, with police, courts, and scary punishments, as in Iran and KSA.

    2. national-scale official family and personal status law, with certificates and court orders, as in Israel and Malaysia.

    3. informal, non-binding conflict resolution, enforced by community pressure, as in the UK and Canada

    4. a personal moral code, as in everywhere a muslim observes ramadan or doesn’t drink beer.

    It’s pretty exactly like if the word ‘imperialism’ was being used interchangably for:

    1. the Raj

    2. some murky arms deal with bribery

    3. some reasonably sensible trade arrangement

    4. someone who happened to like Bond/Bollywood films

    That would be a pointless and unproductive discussion: there are like 10,000 million words in English, using the same one for such vastly different things is either foolish or, more likely, an attempt at sleight of hand, to say something like:

    ‘if you hold _this_ position on some 19C war, that means you should buy _this_ product, not that one’

    or even:

    ‘less people died in the making of this film than in the Bengal famine, so what’s the problem?’

  199. Sofia — on 4th October, 2007 at 10:18 am  

    Gosh it’s a weird feeling when ppl put forward what I think without me even saying anything…
    hmm…I think i’ve made my position on Shariah clear.
    But just to recap:
    a) I’m not “against” shariah per se. What I do want is the mechanism for transparency and integrity set in place before there is an actual court. I also highlighted the dangers of segregation in an already segregated community. A tier system where some would completely bypass certain british legalities in order to go to the shariah court. I.e would ppl just go to these courts for civil litigation or would the boundaries then be pushed to include other issues that would be sorted on the side.
    b) Ismaeel, I think you have many valid points but you seem to antagonise ppl by some of you style in commmenting (not your comments themselves).
    c) I don’t think I have been stereotyping ppl as I have highlighted in posts above that there are always exception to the rule.

  200. The Common Humanist — on 4th October, 2007 at 10:56 am  

    Ismaeel,
    I agree with Douglas, you are exhibting what I have found to be a deeply troubling pathology amongst muslim men – the automatic desire to impose and control muslim women.

    If I said that went against everything I stand for would be the understatement of the year.

    I am sure you are, in yourself, a good bloke but the supremicist religiousity and gender imperialism does you no favours at all.

    There is no valid reason for Shariah – informal or formal – to be present in the legal system of this country.

    None of the cultural religious groups in this country should egt any form of legal special treatment, from whichever faith.

    TCH

  201. Natty — on 4th October, 2007 at 11:42 am  

    The reason Shariah is a dirty word is due to the media. The fact that PP even allowed the above to be published with its hostile attitude is beyond me, when a similar article for other faiths legal systems would be subject to much tighter control by the editors.

    Shariah and Rabbinic law are already used in civil cases in this country. What you’ll find is that the majority of Jews and Muslims prefer its use in suhc cases.

    http://www.theus.org.uk/the_united_synagogue/the_london_beth_din/about_us/

    Continually using KSA and Iran is just a pretty poor way of discussing the subject. Tey have an interpretation of this law. In other parts of the world they have a different interpretation.

    So to continually use and manipulate the way that Muslim issues are debated is disgraceful.

    In fact many aspects of Shariah have come into mainstream legal thinking across the world. Indeed many aspects of Rabbinic law have come into mainstream legal thinking so to say that UK law is devoid of religion is sheer nonsense.

    The concept of two witnesses to a marriage came from religous law. The concept of right such as the Geneva Convention came from religous law. Religous law is used as a basis for all types of legislation.

    Sofia – with respect there are people who this air of superiority and think that religion is the lowest common form of anything and below that are Muslims. This is bound to anatagonise people who then reply emmotionally.

    Like any system Sharia is dependant on the ability of those who enforce the law. UK Law is dependant on those who enforce it being fair and just when applying the law.

    If the people who presently apply Shariah are not good that doesn’t make the entire system bad. Equally if in a UK court the peopel who apply the law are not good that doen’t makethat system bad.

    In the USA for example the Supreme Court is overloaded with conservatives, but does that make the court bad? No because they have been able to seperate their conservative andin some cases religous views from their decisions. But people are nervous.

    People’s opinion on the Shariah have been formed negatively by the media hysteria led by right wing papers.

    Would Sunny allow someone to write a reasoned article in response to the hysteria in the main article above no. So why allow the first article?

    As an example:
    “It is dangerous because it tackled a hideous political issue in an authored documentary style, which is completely inappropriate. This approach meant that there was only one voice analysing the situation, and worse, in attempting to apply it to our own society.”
    Isn’t that what the media do when they portray the Shariah or other religous laws negatively? In the Mail or Express when analysisng Shariah only one voice is given. That is what a documentary is?

    “The BNP would never have been given this kind of platform – I agree the BNP should have a voice because I believe in free speech, but fascism would never be allowed without a dissenting voice alongside it. Why does the BBC think Shariah is any different?”

    The usual right wing clap trap of comparing Islam or elements of it to facism. Would Sunny allow the same to be said about the Rabbinic laws?

    BTW The BNP legally have a platform at election time to speak with no counter view. So the statement is nonsense.

    “The reason I call it dangerous is because it takes Shariah out of the “this is really bad for the world” box where it quite firmly belongs, into a “this is a cuddly personal issue” box, where it clearly does not belong – or have I been sleeping while Britain decided that democracy is a questionable political system?”

    How hypocritical so a program on Shariah should have a counter view but for the author to spout their views in the main feature doesn’t need a counterview. What a joke!

    “The fundamental premise of Shariah is that people cannot decide what is right or wrong. The fundamental premise of Shariah is that human beings must not presume to challenge what was written down between 12-14 centuries ago.”
    Again this is absolute nonsense and anyone who has read on the shariah will know this. Shariah a;;pws for humans to implement law so this shows the piece authored above is poorly researched.

    As an example traffic laws, air travel laws wouldn’t have been brought in 1,400 years ago, but in places such as KSA and Iran and Nigeria yes they have them. Poor poor reserach. Little in touch with reality.

    “What I am objecting to, is that the gravity of this subject is reduced when we have an ordinary British Muslim taking us on a journey of personal exploration.”

    So you don’t object to yourself as an ordinary person going on a jouney of self expression replying with a poor piece of research?

    Many Pakistanis objected to the Saira Khan piece on Pakistan but they didn’t get to write a piece here.

    The BBC actually did a number of pieces on Rabbinical law and someone’s journey of self-expression on those but did you object to that as well? Sounds to me like you didn’t even know about it.

    I watched it and found it brilliant TV. I enjoyed the Shariah programme as well.

    This site whilst going on about free-speech is now telling us how programmes shoudl be produced and how subjects shoudl be presented. So Sunny what about the right of the maker to free expression?

  202. Natty — on 4th October, 2007 at 11:46 am  

    BTW The same type of hysteria comes in when discussing Rabbinical and Islamic slaughter methods.

    Yet UK law allows for religous slaughter methods.

    So that also be banned? Should kosher food laws be outlawed because we don’t want religous laws?

    So all we want is a group of robots in this country who just do as the secularists say. Never mind that they contribute so much to the country.

  203. sonia — on 4th October, 2007 at 11:56 am  

    im not saying the media hasn’t a lot to do with it here. but there are problems with how shariah is perceived anyway. shariah’s a dirty word in many other places – like Bangladesh for example – where it is seen to represent the divide between pro-pakistani mullahs/jamaat crew, and the rest – ‘nationalists’. so there you go.

    different contexts in different places. but across the muslim majority world – where i’ve come from – in the eyes of many women – it is a very dirty word indeed, because it represents the spectre of stonings and the like.

    good points don.

    sofia – “Gosh it’s a weird feeling when ppl put forward what I think without me even saying anything…” :-) that’s always happening on PP – it is weird isn’t it!

    anyway the good thing about discussion forums like this is its a mixed bunch. the usual accusation of only being against something because that’s what the media/everybody else thinks but really they dont know ANYTHING and are just a bunch of orientalists – well it might apply to some sure, but not everyone. and anyway the orientalist accusation is so often bandied in the way of ‘well you’re just a white man what would YOU Know’ which so often just ends up sounding divisionist/superior/racist itself.

  204. Jai — on 4th October, 2007 at 12:40 pm  

    Many Pakistanis objected to the Saira Khan piece on Pakistan but they didn’t get to write a piece here.

    They did ? Why ?

    Personally I thought it was brilliant. Quite poignant and definitely showed the “human” face of Pakistan and its inhabitants. In that sense I felt it was great, particularly when you consider some of the caricaturing, stereotyping and (frankly) dehumanization of Muslim Asians that has been going on in our neck of the woods during the past couple of years.

  205. Natty — on 4th October, 2007 at 12:45 pm  

    Sonia it is a dirty word because men manipulate the system to their own use. It doesn’t mean the system is wrong.

    200 years ago the rich aristocrats manipulated the legal system to their advantage here, did thta make the system wrong or the people?

    The Shariah gave women the right to divorce 1,400 years ago, which was unheard of here. So was that bad.

    It you watched the programme on Channel 4 by Samira Khan a few years ago she was astonished to find that in the Muslim world many women were not into femminism but wanted their righst according to yes Shariah because it afforded them more rights than local national laws.

    Many ill-educated Imams who do not even know Arabic do not know what Shariah is or even Islam.

    Take female circumcision, only practised in Africa but it has religous undertones supposedly. When Newsnight went there around two years ago. They asked the local Mullah to show in the Qur’an where it said this and he couldn’t cause it wasn’t there. In the West due to the Media it is viewed as part of Islam even though it is cultural and applies to both Muslim and Christians.

    With any system it is down to implementation and hysteria to write unbalanced and factually incorrect pieces shouldn’t take place. The piece above is simply poor research and produced here on PP without any checks. I have tried to highlight a few.

    As an example in the 3rd World the legal system breaks down to to tribal issues, wealth issues etc. It doesn’t make the law bad it just makes the people implementing the law bad. There needs to be aclear understanding.

    In Shariah if someone steals food to feed their family according to the law they don’t have their hand cut off. Instead the ruler appears before the court for failing to provied for their citizens. But you tell me where is this implemented. BTW The ruler is subject to capital punishment if they fail to provide adequetly for their citizens.

    So is the law bad or the implementation? That needs to be understood.

    UK Law failed the Stephen Lawrence Family, does that make the law bad or the people who implemented the law bad. Reality check says the people who implemented the law.

    How many people here actually know what Shariah is and what the laws are? How many know what Rabbincal law is and what the laws are. Yet they are being allowed to write op-eds about them.

    Despite contrary myths according to Rabbinical Law excessive amounts of interest cannot be charged. Yet the myth is different. So is the Rabbinical Law bad or is the myth incorrect.

    Also with household debt increasing to due lack of interest rate controls which law would people find better now – Rabbinical Law with controls on excessive rates of interest, Islamic Shariah Law with no interest and it being clear how muc you have to pay back or UK Law where when you take a loan you have no clear idea hwo much you will pay back and interest rates subject to fluctuation?

    As a result from the last housing crash many people are stil in debt to the law allowing excessive interest. Strange how mnay people are turning to yes Islamic Shariah Mortgages so they know what thye have to pay back and not all of them are Muslim.

    But according to the Superior people here Shariah is bad!

    Shows you the nonsense of what some people know when they write about the subject. People are simply writing media myths parrot fashion.

    Also Muslim women are standing up and outlining rights, with books being published outlining what rights they have under Shariah.

    As an example again on BBC2 there was a programme on women’s education in Iran. Currently the Middle East has amongst the worlds highest graduation rates for women. Anyway when Khomeini came to power in Iran he decreed that women had to stay at home. He is regarded as a religous authority yet he knew little if anythign about Shariah. A female doctor who did know, knew that according to Islamic law this was incorrect. So she protested to him and he said she didn’t know. So she tried other avenues all failed. So she hit upon the plan of going to meet the Wives of the Mullahs and showing them the Shariah Law they then told their husbands who then complained to Khomeini who was then compelled to accept. Now Iran has a huge rate of women completing degrees. My point is this simply highlights that much of what goes on in thename of Shariah has nothnig to do with it.

    Stoning for example is an absolute last resort and requires multiple witnesses to have seen the act. Not hear-say. Yet now convictions are on here-say. BTW Stoning is an absolute last resort punishment, within Shariah a person should privately ask God for forgiveness.

    So for all the examples cited thye are to do with implementation and not the religous laws.

  206. Natty — on 4th October, 2007 at 12:49 pm  

    -Many Pakistanis objected to the Saira Khan piece on
    -Pakistan but they didn’t get to write a piece here.

    They did ? Why ?

    Conservative bunch so they didn’t want too much focus on certain aspects.

    Look I personally really enjoyed the piece on India but I objected to one piece. When he made fun of labourers who were sitting in the road waiting for work, in the heat sitting there waiting to make some money. He started making fun of them and that was uncalled for.

    But I didn’t get to write a piece here!

    In documentaries people object to various things. But that doesn’t mean that poorly researched pieces should be allowed to be published. It merely whips up hysteria.

  207. Natty — on 4th October, 2007 at 12:55 pm  

    BTW I would like to highlight one other important point. Omar Bhakri who preached often about Jihad said quite clearly that if he ever went abroad he would partake.

    So he is regarded in the West as someone who knows about Islamic Law. He doesn’t but that was what the press said. Poor research.

    When Israel attacked Lebanon, did he partake or try to run? What did he say – it isn’t my war it is a manmade war – nothign to do with me! So preach but no action. That shows how people manipulate the teaching and the law.

    So we need to understand and differentiate between what things say and what people do.

    In America in sme states Black people feel thye cannot get justice so is that the law or the people? Because America is a democracy people here will say that isn’t the fault of the law but of the people implementing the law.

    Roll foward – Saudi Arabia oh that is religous law so it is the fault of the religion it can’t be the people.

    Why the double standard?

  208. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

    Excellent contributions Natty.

  209. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 4:19 pm  

    Good to see you Desi Italiana.

    It would als be good to see a response from Jobeda.

  210. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 4:21 pm  

    Bananabrain,

    Good point about Rabinnical law in action here in the UK.

  211. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 4:22 pm  

    Jai, I too saw the Saira Khan piece, and enjoyed it.

  212. sonia — on 4th October, 2007 at 4:39 pm  

    well that would be more sensible – to lobby for changes in the law and the reason for that change, on the basis of how it would benefit a human. not just cos ‘i is muslim and i want it’

  213. Sukhi — on 4th October, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

    This whole debate is a needless debate. Sharia law will never be incorporated into British society in anything other than the most superficial instances like providing ‘interest free’ mortgages that are ‘Islamically acceptable’.

    The need of the hour then, is to dissuade and get the message to any Muslims in our society who think that there can ever be any kind of sharia law in substantive form in this society to understand that any such aspirations are futile, pointless and utterly irrelevant. This should be easy, because the majority of Muslims do not crave sharia. But those who do have to know that it will never and can never happen, and that is the only purpose to which informing anyone of this issue should be focussed on.

  214. Sukhi — on 4th October, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

    Roll foward – Saudi Arabia oh that is religous law so it is the fault of the religion it can’t be the people.

    So do you believe that Muslim religious law should be implemented in the UK Natty? And would you personally feel comfortable living under a divinely mandated legal system run by clerics?

  215. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 4:55 pm  

    “This whole debate is a needless debate.”

    It has become a debate because of the adverse mainstream media coverage of the topic along the lines of they are here to take over – and it will be stoning in the street next – based around polls commissioned.

    And those polls themselves became the metaphorical weapons to stone muslims with.

    “well that would be more sensible – to lobby for changes in the law and the reason for that change, on the basis of how it would benefit a human. not just cos ‘i is muslim and i want it’”

    I agree with that entirely. Show it working and show the benefits of it to society.

    And that is why Jobeda’s ‘we don’t want to hear about it, unless I sanction it’ article was a nonesense.

  216. PFM — on 4th October, 2007 at 4:55 pm  

    some fantastic points from sonia and sofia, apologies if i get you both mixed up. Too many good points in the post above.

    I’ve said this before in the thread and il say it again, questioning what your told as a muslim is a MUST! This is the problem with many muslims today who are afraid to ask a question in case they offend.

    To say you dont know is half of knowledge.

    Also, control of Shariah courts will never happen! What you will have instead is different people of different Islamic sects going to their own Shariah Council. So you will have pakistanis (brelvi) or whatever going to their own shariah council and Deobandis going to their own shariah council.

    For those of you who dont know Shariah is practised throughout the country to give women who wish to divorce their husband the opportunity to do so.

    Re: The moonsighting committee or a crescent committee plans are in place for something to be established but its a long way off.

    Parts of Shariah will inevitibly be introduced into British life wether non-muslims or indeed muslims like it or not. But it all depends on what parts are introduced. But I am disheartened by the aggressive attitude towards it when people have only seen a one sided approach story to it.

    As for female scholars, very few exist in this country I only know of one and she is the wife of one of my teachers who is Yemeni, another of my teachers who studied in Egypt said that a woman studying Islam for 25 years was not an abnormal thing.

    As slavery, slavery was actually introduced as a means to protect prisoners of war. Rather than killing them, they were taken as slaves. This was promoted during the prophets time as the muslims were so vulnerable so releasing a prisoner of war would only mean he would come back to kill him, so why shoot yourself in the foot.

    so much to say so little time!

  217. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 4:57 pm  

    Sukhi

    “So do you believe that Muslim religious law should be implemented in the UK Natty? And would you personally feel comfortable living under a divinely mandated legal system run by clerics?”

    Don’t overdo it. The whole topic was about whether we should have had a documentary about Sharia as practised in one state of Nigeria.

  218. Sukhi — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

    Refresh

    Show it working and show the benefits of it to society

    Alternative systems of law founded in religion have no benefit to society, and never will.

    Don’t overdo it. The whole topic was about whether we should have had a documentary about Sharia as practised in one state of Nigeria.

    Give that advice to Natty and heed it yourself when you deride as chauvinists those who recoil from atavistic codes of religious law and the impulse to relativise their failings into irrelevancy. It’s in the scope of the thread, and you really shouldn’t advise others as to what to say or do. It actually reminded me of the Nigerian cleric telling the documentary presenter not to ask questions he didn’t like being asked.

  219. Morgoth — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:04 pm  

    Parts of Shariah will inevitibly be introduced into British life wether non-muslims or indeed muslims like it or not.

    Is that a threat?

  220. PFM — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:05 pm  

    oh good points from Natty too! Im going to try and pursuade one of teachers to actually reply to this thread with their point of view considering they are UK born spent the last 15 years studying Islam abroad and loves Star Trek and maybe even a female scholar to contribute. It all depends on how many samosas my mum has made to bribe them with.

  221. Sukhi — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:08 pm  

    Parts of Shariah will inevitibly be introduced into British life wether non-muslims or indeed muslims like it or not

    No, there is nothing inevitable about this at all. Sharia being introduced into British life is not inevitable and will be opposed as and when it seeks to inveigle itself into British society.

  222. PFM — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:09 pm  

    Morgoth we have Islamic marriages, Islamic Divorces, Islamic Mortgages, Islamic Banks, Islamic Schools, Islamic TV Channels……….

    I think you know where im going, once again I cant see many parts of Shariah working but only minor parts to do with inheritance etc.

    But the attitude i mentioned has come to light once again through Morgot…’Is that a threat?’ No its a kebab sandwich mate.

  223. PFM — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:10 pm  

    sorry introduced into BRITISH MUSLIM LIFE…..

  224. Morgoth — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:13 pm  

    PFM, my attitude is that there is one law that is applied equally to everyone. If someone’s anachronistic moon cult beliefs means they want a special mortgage, for example, then tough titty – they can go without.

  225. PFM — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:19 pm  

    Morgoth you exemplify the prejudicial beleifs that plagues society well done mate. And it isnt based around moon cult beleifs. foolio. Its based around a lunar calender look it up it isnt just the crazy moslems who follow lunar calendars.

  226. Morgoth — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:27 pm  

    Applying the law equally to all is “prejudicial”?

  227. PFM — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:33 pm  

    And it is applied equally in this country? Like Sunny said in theory it all works!

    I need a samosa!

  228. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:37 pm  

    Sukhi

    “Alternative systems of law founded in religion have no benefit to society, and never will.”

    I think the reality is most of the systems of law have origin in religion. Probably all of them.

    “It’s in the scope of the thread, and you really shouldn’t advise others as to what to say or do. It actually reminded me of the Nigerian cleric telling the documentary presenter not to ask questions he didn’t like being asked.”

    You are right. I did find him very silly when he said that, and also very funny (reminded me of Eddie Murphy).

    As general note, on here the scope of the thread is usually whatever you want it to be.

  229. The Common Humanist — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:43 pm  

    Morgoth and I barely agree on a single substantive thing except perhaps this: one law for everyone.

    No ifs, no buts.

    At the risk of sounding combative, why should the UK have any aspects of Shariah incorporated? Why should muslims be special in this respect? (Am deeply deeply unhappy with any religious group being treated in this way)

    People will say that it is only for a few minor areas but thats how these things start. It will be just another area of life where muslim and non muslim segregate and anyone with a right mind should be concerned with the unintended consequences of such developments.

    There are also, given attitudes within British Muslims, from the male side and community pressure, where a voluntary system could well soon be mandatory if you want to be ‘a proper muslim’, this pain will fall especially hard on British Muslim women and I fail to see why the UK should condone that on a portion of her citizenry.

    Frankly the last people to be given legal power over people are clergy of any stripe.

  230. Jagdeep — on 4th October, 2007 at 5:43 pm  

    I think Jobeda obviously feels passionately about this issue but I didn’t get the sense that the documentary was anything other than a refutation of sharia being suitable for the UK. For bringing a sense of order to a rural African society it might have strengths and pros as well as significant weaknesses. For modern Britain it has nothing substantial and in the context of needing more integration the last thing we can ever countenance is the actual legislative division of our society on religious lines especially when the laws themselves are so dodgy.

  231. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 6:01 pm  

    Actually I’ve no idea why anyone is talking about bringing Sharia as if it should be legally binding. There is no heat in that topic, despite people wanting to generate it.

    Its a voluntary act to submit to sharia edicts here in the UK. In other words people are trying to live their lives within the constraints of their faith and looking for guidance where worldly matters matter.

    So there is no pressure to change the law. But simply a statement that (some) muslims choose to abide by Sharia as some jews by rabbinical law.

    However, if the great british public see merits, in general and in particular in certain ways of doing things, then it would get taken up and enacted. It doesn’t have to be labelled muslim or jewish or whatever.

    As Jagdeep points out, it seems to have had something going for it a rural community in Nigeria.

    For me the biggest weakness was the fact that no ‘powerful’ people submitted themselves to its jurisdiction. That is a topic that seriously needs addressing and Natty made a passing reference to it.

  232. Jagdeep — on 4th October, 2007 at 6:05 pm  

    Refresh, ‘submit’ to sharia? We need less submission, and less rope being given to clerics and religious leaders on the whole.

  233. Desi Italiana — on 4th October, 2007 at 6:32 pm  

    Forgive me, but in this discussion, I’m really lost as to why some commentators believe in the importance of having Sharia as an option.

    If the Sharia is as interpreted by you folks (egalitarian, nice, giving rights to everyone etc,), then why not be happy with just the UK judicial system? Like, what is so fundamentally different and attractive about having the Sharia option? So far, the reasons given are:

    1. Western stereotypes of Islam and the Sharia (personally, I’m not disagreeing– as I’ve stated earlier- with the fact that there ARE stereotypes and painting of Islam as regressive, etc) as well as messed up interpretations of the Sharia corrupt the REAL sharia and its meanings and practices

    2. Sharia gives Muslims a sense of identity.

    None of the two for me are enough reasons, and I’m doubly lost as to how resorting to the Sharia restore a sense of “Muslim dignity” and give substance to a “Muslim identity”….

  234. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 6:47 pm  

    Jagdeep

    “Refresh, ’submit’ to sharia? We need less submission, and less rope being given to clerics and religious leaders on the whole.”

    Submit as widely used when it comes to seeking opinion or advice. As in submit to arbitration.

  235. Jagdeep — on 4th October, 2007 at 6:52 pm  

    Refresh — less power and rules to be accorded to religious types across the board in the UK, that is the way we should be thinking. One legal system for all, end of story.

  236. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 6:58 pm  

    Jagdeep, are you sure?

    What do you propose to do about Rabinnical Law, as practised here and now?

    And do you not think about what you do or how you act with other people, whether close to you, associates or otherwise in light of your faith (and culture)? Subconciously?

  237. Jagdeep — on 4th October, 2007 at 7:16 pm  

    Yes Refresh —- one law for everyone, no religious stratification of the legal system, especially not to give male clerics more powers over British Muslims.

  238. Avi Cohen — on 4th October, 2007 at 7:27 pm  

    Yes no matter what the debate you have to have a go at Muslims. Hindu and Sikh clerics hardly fair better with power over British Hindus and Sikhs but hey why let an opportunity to attack Muslims go by.

    - One legal system for all, end of story.
    Yes so when he asked about Rabbinical Law why answer about male clerics and British Muslims. More hate filled attacks.

  239. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 7:29 pm  

    “Yes Refresh —- one law for everyone, no religious stratification of the legal system, especially not to give male clerics more powers over British Muslims.”

    Not quite the straigthforward answer it first appears.

  240. Sunny — on 4th October, 2007 at 8:27 pm  

    I think DEsi Italiana makes a good point about. Why exactly is Shariah needed? I’d like that question to be answered. Even the Muslim cOuncil of Britain admits British Muslims have more religious freedom than in most countries (perhaps execept in the USA).

    To me it’s a bit like the Caliphate. I see young kids who don’t know jack about their religion arguing for it because it gives them a sense of identity. Fair enough, but when I destroy your arguments please don’t cry ‘Islamophobic’. I’m equally opposed to the Sikh Rehat Maryada being introduced as law or Khalistan.

    Morgoth says:
    means they want a special mortgage, for example, then tough titty – they can go without.

    This is the problem with you Morgoth – speaking without thinking. If HSBC want to offer Islamic mortgages to cater for a market, that’s up to them not you.

  241. Avi Cohen — on 4th October, 2007 at 8:37 pm  

    -Why exactly is Shariah needed?
    Because for people of religous conviction in some circumstances some religous obligations cannot be completed until a religous rule of law is completed.

    In the case of divorce for example, marriage etc.

    With respect Mr. Hundal in your own faith a wedding may not be seen as complete until the religous ceremony is undertaken and hence Temples are able to now issue marriage licences as are mosques, gurdwara’s, synagogues etc.

    As regards Caliphate then yes kids don’t know enough about it but equally it is part of their faith. However a caliphite must be able to provide justice for all – Muslims and non-Muslims and thus Muslims are in no state to implement such a system.

    If you want to destroy their argument the argue with liek for like, why argue with ill-educated kids go and discuss with a scholar that woudl be a proper debate.

    At the end of the day Mr. Hundal what you fail to realise is that religous law provides on the whole guidance and aims for fairness and equality its application can be as bad a secular law or as good.

    Laws are made to be generally fair but man is suseptible to twist them. By always implying religous law is bad and secular law is good is poor debate.

    Law depends upon justice and fair application.

  242. Jagdeep — on 4th October, 2007 at 8:38 pm  

    Hindu and Sikh clerics hardly fair better with power over British Hindus and Sikhs but hey why let an opportunity to attack Muslims go by.

    No Sikh or Hindu cleric calls for or would ever call for religious law to be incorporated into British society, nor do any British Sikhs or Hindus call for any codes of their religions to be introduced in place of British law in any context. The very idea is demented.

    More hate filled attacks.

    Not hate, love. My stance on this is full of love. It’s with freaks who use Jewish pseudonyms to rant about Jewish conspiracies that I ascribe hate and mental incontinence.

    Not quite the straigthforward answer it first appears.

    Only to one as paranoid as you.

  243. Desi Italiana — on 4th October, 2007 at 9:03 pm  

    -”Because for people of religous conviction in some circumstances some religous obligations cannot be completed until a religous rule of law is completed.”

    Right. So beyond this rhetoric above, what “religious obligations” EXACTLY are going to be fulfilled by having the Sharia in the UK? No vague assertions like the one above; concrete examples please (your gurdwara and mandhir example giving marriage licenses is not a very good one but you don’t say what exactly is being thwarted by 1) the UK judicial system and 2)what the Sharia would fulfill in the place of said UK judicial system’s failure).

    -”As regards Caliphate then yes kids don’t know enough about it but equally it is part of their faith.”

    -”However a caliphite must be able to provide justice for all – Muslims and non-Muslims and thus Muslims are in no state to implement such a system.”

    Can anyone parse the logic of the two assertions above?

  244. Desi Italiana — on 4th October, 2007 at 9:04 pm  

    “your gurdwara and mandhir example giving marriage licenses is not a very good one BUT you don’t say what exactly is being”

    I meant to say “because”. Typo, folks.

  245. Avi Cohen — on 4th October, 2007 at 9:06 pm  

    You were asked about Rabbinical law and answered about Muslim clerics so that is hate filled.

    -No Sikh or Hindu cleric calls for or would ever call for
    -religious law to be incorporated into British society,
    -nor do any British Sikhs or Hindus call for any codes of
    -their religions to be introduced in place of British law
    -in any context. The very idea is demented.
    Quite frankly you talk bollocks and don’t live in the real world. Your claims are nonsense. If Hindu or Sikh religous law is not incorporated into British Law then why do Sikhs have an exemption from wearing Motorcycle helmets that is a change to British law isn’t it? British law demands anyone who rides a motorycle wear a suitable helmet for protection but there is an exemtion for Sikhs.

    Do Sikh Policeman wear standard Police helmets as mandated by Police Standards – no thye wear their turban.

    The Sikh ceremonial sword – there is a movement to carry it at all times even at work. I know the Sikhs at my work placed asked for this which is in violation of British Law and the carrying of a weapon but certain waivers exist for Sikhs.

    I could go on but you’ll never accept it as you hate is one dimensional.

    As regards Hindus, British Law allows Hindus to throw ashes into certain rivers, which is an exception to British Law for Hindus.

    So your hate is now exposed as is the nonsense.

    -It’s with freaks who
    I distinctly recall Ms. Newton stating that personnal attacks are not allowed and yet without any interefence you are allowed to attack me personally. So one rule of freedom of speech for mates of editors and one rule for others.

    -Only to one as paranoid as you.
    It is you who is paranoid as we have seen with your inaccurate statements.

  246. Avi Cohen — on 4th October, 2007 at 9:12 pm  

    Desi Italiana – Muslims and possibly Orthodox Jews need a religous court to give divorces and to go through the religous process is an example as they have to follow a set process.

    In terms of religous law a secular court cannot prescribe divorce to people who follow their religion. It doesn’t carry religous weight.

    - Can anyone parse the logic of the two assertions
    -above?
    Within Islam all Muslims will aspire to a Caliphate to rule over them. However a Caliphate carries many obligations and one is to provide justice for all – Muslim and non-Muslim. It isn’t that hard to see that most of the Muslim world is in a bit of a mess thus Muslim Scholars say that the first priority is a return to purer Islam. Thus the Caliphate is not a priority as people have little grounding their faith that they can run a Caliphate. Thus the priority is to teach people about the faith. Make sense?

  247. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 9:15 pm  

    “-Only to one as paranoid as you.
    It is you who is paranoid as we have seen with your inaccurate statements.”

    He may have a point there Jagdeep.

  248. Refresh — on 4th October, 2007 at 9:19 pm  

    “is a return to purer Islam”

    I am afraid that is going to be a red rag to a bull. The environment for a rational discussion on that topic does not exist – not yet and for a long time to come.

  249. majid khan — on 4th October, 2007 at 11:45 pm  

    First of all the attacks about religous law centre here on Muslims. Although many of the bigots say one law for all they are turning a blind eye to creeping laws being introduced by others faiths and some law exemptions which have been on the books for some time for other faiths.

    That said referring to people as leeches and being allowed to get away with it is hardly constructive debate and dialogue.

    Most Muslims don’t like the MCB. Most Muslims and dare I say most people in the UK have a certain sympathy with the plight of the Palestinians including I would say a sizable part of the Jewish community itself. I think a certain accomodation should be made or an acknowledgement to allow the communities to get over this mess. Essentially it is harming community relations and I think both sides need to reach a compromise as it is in the best interest of all. Government cannot dictate community relations and it has backfired spectacularly and polarised what was rapidly becomming very positive Jewish Muslim outreach. It hasn’t killed it and in myview it is taking off again.

    That being said it is a bit rich for Jagdeep to be allowed without comment or rebuke to call people leeches. Others are not allowed so much leeway if they don’t toe the website line. Just because he is part of the in-crowd this is simply unacceptable xenophobia going unchecked. It is this type of attitude that leads people to say that they want protection by law.

    Lets not forget that the Sikhs killed a democratically elected leader. Ran an army within a state. Carry Militaristic material as part of faith. Have an unusually high number of state funded Sikh schools compared to size of population. So to hurl accusations and say they love people doesn’t ring true. In fact it does a great disservice to the Sikh community at large.

    Do Sikh Lobby Groups attend ceremonies in remembrance of those killed in partition, or even remembrance of the Prime Minister of India whom they murdered? No they lobby for Sikh interest and that is their job.

    The job of the MCB is to lobby for Muslim interest – they may do it badly but that is the role they take.

    Lets get real the whole point of a lobby group is to lobby for the interests of its own community or cause.

    Is a petrol company likely to lobby for the removal of fossil based fuel from mass use? No that is what environmental groups do.

    Lobbying is increasingly coming into politics and frankly the electorate don’t like it. Confidence in politicians has plumetted. Also lets be frank Tony Blair was an extremely divisive figure and anyone who thinks he will bring peace to the Middle East is sadly mistaken. Much of the community issues which are here are the fault of Blair and his inaction.

    Indeed it is worth noting that the two leaders in the Middle East – Israeli and Palestinian are meeting without Blair, Rice or the West involved and making some progress. Blair will be there when some type of framework or agreement is announced but he will have done jack to get them there.

    Indeed I see encouraging signs of more Jewish Muslim dialogue with the opening of the centre in Cambridge so bridges are being built.

    That said there is a chance for both sides to agree but it won’t happen if the likes of Jagdeep continue to poison the atmosphere.

    Maybe a fair compromise is that the MCB attend for x years after which the Holocaust Memorial Day issue some wording to the effect that the day recognises the issues facing the Palestinian people. That is it simple. Hopefully by then they’ll be heading towards peace anyway.

    It isn’t an issue that can’t be reolved it is just being made one. For crying out loud Politicians and Papers in Israel itself even right wing ones recognise this. In addition some Holocaust speakers speak for the Palestinians. So it isn’t an unsurmountable issue. It is just that views have been polarised by Govt interference and whipping up by people.

    The more the media, politicians and the likes of Jagdeep interfere and whip up nasty opinions then the more polarised views become. Instead they should be encouraged to meet and resolve issues.

    If not Holocaust Memorial Day then maybe the MCB can fund a Palestinian Day and the Jewish Community can attend.

    Plenty of compromise ideas but it needs outside agitators to stop spreading venom.

    The British Libraries Sacred Exhibition showed that the communties can work together on positive projects as they attended in large numbers in some cases together. SO lets encourage that and not stir up trouble.

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