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  • Technorati: graph / links

    One Law Is Enough For All Of Us


    by Sid on 3rd December, 2008 at 12:30 am    

    Maryam Namazie writes on the One Law for All campaign against Sharia law. I am reposting it here in its entirety because I think it deserves an airing here on PP. I’m sure she won’t mind.


    The One Law for All campaign against Sharia law in Britain is to be launched at the House of Lords on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2008 from 4:00 to 5:00pm.

    Even in civil matters, Sharia law is discriminatory, unfair and unjust, particularly against women and children. Moreover, its voluntary nature is a sham; many women will be pressured into going to these courts and abiding by their decisions. These courts are a quick and cheap route to injustice and do nothing to promote minority rights and social cohesion. Public interest, particularly with regard to women and children, requires an end to Sharia and all other faith-based courts and tribunals.

    The campaign has already received widespread support including from AC Grayling; Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Bahram Soroush; Baroness Caroline Cox; Caspar Melville; Deeyah; Fariborz Pooya; Gina Khan; Houzan Mahmoud; Homa Arjomand; Ibn Warraq; Joan Smith; Johann Hari; Keith Porteous Wood; Mina Ahadi; Naser Khader; Nick Cohen; Richard Dawkins; Shakeb Isaar; Sonja Eggerickx; Stephen Law; Tarek Fatah; Tauriq Moosa; Taslima Nasrin and others. It has also received the support of organisations such as Children First Now; Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain; Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran; European Humanist Federation; International Committee against Stoning; International Humanist and Ethical Union; Iranian Secular Society; Lawyers Secular Society; the National Secular Society; and the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.

    The campaign calls on the UK government to recognise that Sharia law is arbitrary and discriminatory and for an end to Sharia courts and all religious tribunals on the basis that they work against and not for equality and human rights.

    The campaign also calls for the Arbitration Act 1996 to be amended so that all religious tribunals are banned from operating within and outside of the legal system.

    In the words of the Campaign Declaration: ‘Rights, justice, inclusion, equality and respect are for people, not beliefs. In a civil society, people must have full citizenship rights and equality under the law. Clearly, Sharia law contravenes fundamental human rights. In order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of all those living in Britain, there must be one secular law for all and no Sharia.’

    Roy Brown, immediate past president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union said, “IHEU is lending its full support to this campaign. It is intolerable that the very values on which UK society is based - human rights, equality and the rule of law - are being undermined by the quiet and insidious application of systems of law that have no basis in equality or justice.”

    Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, which is also supporting the One Law for All campaign, said: “It is a grave error for the authorities in this country to give credence to Sharia in any form – whether legally or in terms of informal arbitration. When women are being subjected to violence in their marriages, it is not acceptable for religious authorities – which are, by definition, misogynistic – to arbitrate. A two-tier legal system, with women’s rights being always secondary to religious demands, is unnecessary, undesirable and ultimately unjust.”

    One Law for All
    Campaign against Sharia law in Britain

    Declaration

    We, the undersigned individuals and organisations, call on the UK government to bring an end to the use and institutionalisation of Sharia and all religious laws and to guarantee equal citizenship rights for all.

    Sharia law is discriminatory

    Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals are discriminatory, particularly against women and children, and in violation of universal human rights.

    Sharia law is unfair and unjust in civil matters

    Proponents argue that the implementation of Sharia is justified when limited to civil matters, such as child custody, divorce and inheritance. In fact, it is civil matters that are one of the main cornerstones of the subjugation of and discrimination against women and children. Under Sharia law a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s; a woman’s marriage contract is between her male guardian and her husband. A man can have four wives and divorce his wife by simple repudiation, whereas a woman must give reasons, some of which are extremely difficult to prove. Child custody reverts to the father at a preset age, even if the father is abusive; women who remarry lose custody of their children; and sons are entitled to inherit twice the share of daughters.

    The voluntary nature of Sharia courts is a sham

    Proponents argue that those who choose to make use of Sharia courts and tribunals do so voluntarily and that according to the Arbitration Act parties are free to agree upon how their disputes are resolved. In reality, many of those dealt with by Sharia courts are from the most marginalised segments of society with little or no knowledge of their rights under British law. Many, particularly women, are pressured into going to these courts and abiding by their decisions. More importantly, those who fail to make use of Sharia law or seek to opt out will be made to feel guilty and can be treated as apostates and outcasts.

    Even if completely voluntary, which is untrue, the discriminatory nature of the courts would be sufficient reason to bring an end to their use and implementation.

    Sharia law is a quick and cheap way to injustice

    Proponents argue that Sharia courts are an alternative method of dispute resolution and curb legal aid costs. When it comes to people’s rights, however, cuts in costs and speed can only bring about serious miscarriages of justice. Many of the laws that Sharia courts and religious tribunals aim to avoid have been fought for over centuries in order to improve the rights of those most in need of protection in society.

    Sharia law doesn’t promote minority rights and social cohesion

    Proponents argue that the right to be governed by Sharia law is necessary to defend minority rights. Having the right to religion or atheism, however, is not the same as having the ‘right’ to be governed by religious laws. This is merely a prescription for discrimination, inequality and culturally relative rights. Rather than defending rights, it discriminates and sets up different and separate systems, standards and norms for ‘different’ people. It reinforces the fragmentation of society, and leaves large numbers of people, particularly women and children, at the mercy of elders and imams. It increases marginalisation and the further segregation of immigrant communities. It ensures that immigrants and new arrivals remain forever minorities and never equal citizens.

    One law for all

    Whilst arbitration tribunals are part of British law, they are subject to such safeguards as are necessary in the public interest. Clearly, public interest, and particularly the interests of women and children, requires an end to Sharia and all faith-based courts and tribunals.

    Rights, justice, inclusion, equality and respect are for people, not beliefs. In a civil society, people must have full citizenship rights and equality under the law. Clearly, Sharia law contravenes fundamental human rights. In order to safeguard the rights and freedoms of all those living in Britain, there must be one secular law for all and no Sharia.

    Petition
    One Law for All

    • We call on the UK government to recognise that Sharia and all religious laws are arbitrary and discriminatory against women and children in particular. Citizenship and human rights are non-negotiable.
    • We demand an end to all Sharia courts and religious tribunals on the basis that they work against and not for equality and human rights.
    • We demand that the Arbitration Act 1996 be amended so that all religious tribunals are banned from operating within and outside of the legal system.


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    75 Comments below   |   Add your own

    1. Kulvinder — on 3rd December, 2008 at 5:40 am  

      Moreover, its voluntary nature is a sham; many women will be pressured into going to these courts and abiding by their decisions.

      Out of curiosity, have they any studies to support this? (in the context of arbitration cases obviously).

      Aside from that the entire idea is inherently unworkable; without advocating a revolution you can’t seperate faith and the state.

      You might as well shout at the sky.

      For the sake of argument even if relgious arbitration was banned (whats the alternative they’re suggesting? people settle their differences by playing jenga?) they haven’t elaborated on what the test for a religious tribunal would be. You’d end up with the age old problem; any state - in the guise of freedom - that seeks to ban religion from public life (to whatever extent) becomes increasingly more authoritarian as it imposes a definition on the people of what religion actually is.

      Personally i can’t see what problem anyone would have in letting consenting individuals settle their differences according to whatever faith they believed in - obviously if you have no faith the idea of agreeing to a framework that is potentially inherently against you is insane, but if thats what people want who are we to stand in their way? The issue here seems to be more about coercion and id be more interested if they came up with ideas to prevent that then advocate outright bans.

    2. bananabrain — on 3rd December, 2008 at 9:09 am  

      it would also mean that religious marriages (muslim and jewish) would be invalid according to english law, which would cause an enormous headache. the arbitration law is there for a good reason.

      this is an attack on all religious organisations - and it’s highly intemperate, divisive and just plain damn wrong. its clear purpose is to attack religion and religion alone - that ought to be clear by the signature of richard dawkins and the humanist peanut gallery.

      i think there may also be human rights issues, surely my right to free association ought to extend to the right to be arbitrated by who i wish?

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    3. Sid — on 3rd December, 2008 at 12:58 pm  

      its clear purpose is to attack religion and religion alone - that ought to be clear by the signature of richard dawkins and the humanist peanut gallery.

      I don’t believe it is an attack on religion. And in any case, since when did we disapprove of a philosophy based on the schmucks who go along with it?

    4. bananabrain — on 3rd December, 2008 at 1:51 pm  

      oh really? it’s certainly an attack on *my* civil liberties. it is an attempt to discriminate against religious people by denying us the right to determine our own arbitration procedures. i don’t see them trying to ban, say, “relate”. what they are doing is taking a systemic weakness in one system of law (namely the devolved authority and lack of unified control systems of shari’a) and using it as a reason to attack a central institution of judaism, the beit din, which has done *nothing* to deserve this and has done *nothing* to undermine the rule of law or human rights in this country.

      if such a law were passed i believe the jewish community would be compelled to either emigrate en masse, or refer abroad for decisions - either way the system would persist.

      why can’t they just do something to prevent people being coerced into using an arbitration system if they don’t want to?

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    5. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 2:43 pm  

      yes you cant stop people settling differences with each other.

      can’t see how we’ve moved on from the original fuss that erupted back when Archbishop said what he said. and he made it very clear ( i heard him speak in person, and he was eloquent) that he had no intention of parallel jurisdictions being set up, and the situation where shariah law might go against state laws etc. i.e. a situation where it wasn’t one law for all.

      which satisfied me.

      what did still concern me about the Sharia courts: as a lot of Muslim women seem to think that a civil divorce doesn’t not equate to a religious divorce. which isn’t the case according to most of the schools/madhabs, but not too many people/women seem to be aware of.

      that’s a matter of education - i don’t know how you’re going to deal with that. A lot of those women were worried about “God” not being satisfied that they’d actually divorced their husbands - unless they’d gone to a Mullah for rubber-stamping. the mullahs were charging them for that - so i guess the irony there was, they were being ‘had’ for the sake of religious reassurance. (when technically the Mullahs could have given them a bit more info that actually it was a nebulous area about civil divorces also breaking the religious marriage) we could flag that up as unethical but if people will be like that about religion and marriage (eyes of the state and eyes of the Lord) well what can you do. educate them about the ins and out of their religion. so i don’t know what you can do about that - if they feel that’s their religion, then they’ll go to that court. whether that court is ‘legitimate’ or not. its like paying money to a fortune teller, you’re perfectly entitled to do that if you want.

      as long as we don’t end up like India or Bangladesh, where the law that applies to you is based on what your ‘official’ religion, is - well that’s the main thing in law being separate to religion, from my perspective, and what i want from a ’secular’ environment.

      and i think there’s a lot of confusion -without doing research into what practices muslims currently follow -i don’t know that people have nikahs and not get a civil ceremony. i can’t see that its that much of a difficulty to go and get a civil ceremony done. wanting your religious ceremony to be recognised as ‘marriage’ is being a bit lazy. and if that is to be recognised, why stop at religious practices? anyone should be able to ‘ordain’ a marriage based on whatever ceremony/ritual/group - if that is to be the case.

      basically as far as i can see, the real problem is that Muslims don’t understand the complexity of what passes for “Shariah”, don’t understand as Mezba once pointed out, the spirit of shariah, they also clearly don’t understand the legal systems of these countries they live in. What’s needed, is more than a bit of education. Everyone is obsessed with nomenclature - religion has become cultural, for many Muslims, its simply become if someone shouts this is Sharia, they’ll leap for it without thinking head or tail about it, simply because its called Sharia and not the ‘infidel’ law of their country. a lot of power for Mullahs basically, but if their congregation is that silly - well what to do?

    6. Imran Khan — on 3rd December, 2008 at 2:47 pm  

      “if such a law were passed i believe the jewish community would be compelled to either emigrate en masse, or refer abroad for decisions - either way the system would persist.”

      Why should they have to leave simply because a bunch of people who have had bad experiences with religion decide what people can and can’t do.

      All that would happen is that the religious community would go underground for legal rulings of a religious nature.

      “what they are doing is taking a systemic weakness in one system of law (namely the devolved authority and lack of unified control systems of shari’a) and using it as a reason to attack a central institution of judaism, the beit din, which has done *nothing* to deserve this and has done *nothing* to undermine the rule of law or human rights in this country.”

      An unfair statement. Shariah law isn’t properly set-up here and its on the basis of people doing their best which isn’t good enough but it hasn’t had a proper chance or the time to mature in the UK.

      Also the attack in this thread is on shariah but people don’t want to be accused of racism so they talk vauguely about other systems. In reality they’ll work their proposal to outlaw shariah alone.

      “why can’t they just do something to prevent people being coerced into using an arbitration system if they don’t want to?”

      because that isn’t what people like Hirshi Ali want is it. She pretends she is doing this for the good of Islam but she isn’t and she has her own agenda, much like many of the other people.

      Those same liberals stay quiet about the exploitation of women in secular society but beat on and on about Shariah - why the double standard?

      I wonder if Sid has ever written a thread supporting most Muslims?! No wonder he loves Dave T and Harry’s Place.

    7. Sid — on 3rd December, 2008 at 2:57 pm  

      what sonia said.

    8. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 3:02 pm  

      oops, it should have said: ..”that a civil divorce doesn’t equate to a religious divorce”.

    9. Imran Khan — on 3rd December, 2008 at 3:04 pm  

      Sid - “what sonia said.”

      What you have not grasped is that people will still use religous law even if it is outlawed so therefore it is better to try and regulate the practise and train people in religous knowledge.

      How many Muslims do you think will listen to the likes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Ibn Warraq whose constant attacks on their faith highlight their real agenda. If they have left Islam why can’t they leave us Muslims alone?

      Do Muslim women who go to Shariah courts list to Hirsi Ali? No way and they most likely never will.

      For someone who failed to get their own asylum story correct to be relied upon for morality is laughable.

    10. Sid — on 3rd December, 2008 at 3:10 pm  

      Do Muslim women who go to Shariah courts list to Hirsi Ali? No way and they most likely never will.

      haha, I knew I should have edited the list of endorsements from that email since that was bound to be what people like yourself would be getting hung up on rather than on the thrust of the campaign.

      No one is telling Muslim women to listen to Hirsi Ali. But they should be aware that sharia law puts them and their children at a adisadvantage compared to that of their husbands and their “legal guardians”. So they should really be looking to civil courts for justice not parallel jurisdictions of sharia courts.

    11. Sunny — on 3rd December, 2008 at 3:12 pm  

      I wonder if Sid has ever written a thread supporting most Muslims?! No wonder he loves Dave T and Harry’s Place

      lol, wtf?

      I’m in agreement with bananabrain here, somewhat. We have to allow the opportunity to people for consent though I agree that sometimes consent is difficult to establish. Hmmm, its a tricky one.

    12. Imran Khan — on 3rd December, 2008 at 3:27 pm  

      Sid - “But they should be aware that sharia law puts them and their children at a adisadvantage compared to that of their husbands and their “legal guardians”. So they should really be looking to civil courts for justice not parallel jurisdictions of sharia courts.”

      With respect that is complete and utter nonsense. Under proper shariah and not the Maulvi type you refer to women are fully protected and have more rights than men.

      Did you know that Umar was refused access to his son by Abu Bakr and custody awarded to the childs mother? When a couple seperate then the children go with the mother unless she is unfit to bring them up.

      Is the Baby P case an example of Christian Childcare? No but why bring every stupid ruling and lay the blame at the door of Islam? Why the double standard?

      If Maulvi’s from Pakistan can’t understand Arabic how do you expect them to undertake complex legal rulings when they don’t have a grounding. For that you can’t blame Shariah but you can blame the idiots who make those ruling when it is clearly stated that one shouldn’t get involved in such religious affairs unless one has knowledge.

      Also to a degree Muslims who go to these courts need to be better acquainted with their basic rights.

      Why not make the Maulvi’s has to pass some test before they can sit in judgement ie. make the system better than go for a ban which is led by people who have little true empathy for Muslims.

    13. Ravi Naik — on 3rd December, 2008 at 3:29 pm  

      oh really? it’s certainly an attack on *my* civil liberties. it is an attempt to discriminate against religious people by denying us the right to determine our own arbitration procedures.

      why can’t they just do something to prevent people being coerced into using an arbitration system if they don’t want to?

      Simply because it’s *impossible* to prevent people from being coerced into using an arbitration system, specially when it is enacted by insular communities.

      This is enough justification to enforce a single law of arbitration to prevent individuals from being put in a position of disadvantage. Also, I don’t see how you can consider discrimination when you have a SINGLE law that applies to everyone. That’s the opposite of discrimination.

    14. Shamit — on 3rd December, 2008 at 3:53 pm  

      I concur with Ravi and Sid.

      Why are some people seeing this as an attack on their individual rights or that of their religion?

      In a secular society, the rights of all citizens are exactly the same and we must all bear the same responsibilities. Therefore, the law should be equally applicable in each case.

      May be due to lack of knowledge, I dont understand why the arbitration cannot still go on. The only thing is whatever the arbitrator decides need to be ratified by a Court of Law or a duly authorised rep.

      However, in cases where, the arbitration is openly unfair and one of the participants in the case believe they have been unfairly treated — they should have a right to appeal. That way, you protect everyone’s rights - so this would actually fail under Human Rights Act challenge.

    15. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 4:21 pm  

      “Under proper shariah and not the Maulvi type you refer to women are fully protected and have more rights than men.”

      not true - because a) it will depend on the Judge and the Madhab they follow so no such ONE thing as ‘proper’ or not ‘proper’

      and b) its subjective what people mean by “full rights” so your idea of being ‘fully protected’ is a patronising one generally which does not equate to what we as women think of as “rights”. we have the right to be controlled and told what is a our right! as far as i can see.

    16. platinum786 — on 3rd December, 2008 at 4:55 pm  

      You can’t stop Shariah. Rant and rave all you like, but your arguments are futile. You claim that in matters of divorce for example that Shariah law is biased against women. Fathers for justice claim that British law is biased against men.

      You also claim that women will be coerced into having to attend these types of courts, whats to say the same women won’t be coerced to keep out of British courts? What’s to say that doesn’t happen right now? You lot seem to think all Muslim are men, perhaps you should talk to some Muslim women.

      Shariah law is not what you see on TV and what you read about in right wing blogs, if your interested in shariah, study it from those who have influence in what it is.

    17. fugstar — on 3rd December, 2008 at 5:02 pm  

      Usual suspects with their knickers in a knot. Long-winded like their salafi mirrors.

    18. Sid — on 3rd December, 2008 at 5:03 pm  

      spotty calling kettle kala

    19. Sid — on 3rd December, 2008 at 5:11 pm  

      You can’t stop Shariah. Rant and rave all you like, but your arguments are futile. You claim that in matters of divorce for example that Shariah law is biased against women. Fathers for justice claim that British law is biased against men.

      I can fully see why Pakistani military authoritarian clerical fascists and their Bangladeshi fellow travellers would object to empowering women.

      Giving Muslim women equal family laws, equal inheritance laws and the removal of the concept of “ownership” must sound very unnatural to clerical-military types.

    20. Imran Khan — on 3rd December, 2008 at 5:29 pm  

      “not true - because a) it will depend on the Judge and the Madhab they follow so no such ONE thing as ‘proper’ or not ‘proper’”

      It is true and with respect if you understood Islam you’d know that a Madhab is advisory and the Qur’an and Sunnah take precedence. Your statement highlights your own prejudice and lack of understanding rather than an issue with the system.

      “and b) its subjective what people mean by “full rights” so your idea of being ‘fully protected’ is a patronising one generally which does not equate to what we as women think of as “rights”. we have the right to be controlled and told what is a our right! as far as i can see.”

      With respect it is subjective in any system. Your are looking at things from your own preconceived prejudice. Women are not controlled and told what their right is. There is a system in place to ensure the rights of everyone.

      Granted that the way things are run doesn’t enforce those rights but it doesn’t mean they are not there. That is the difference.

      All you want to do is bash the Shariah which for many women forms an important part of their lives. Many of these women are well educated and their faith is important to them so it must provide the degree of protection they want which is contrary to what you claim.

      If Islam is as bad as you claim why do so many women in the West adhere to it? It is because they know the rights they have and they find them not just acceptable but important to their lives.

      Equally there are things that can be significantly improved in how things are implemented, but outlawing based on the views of people who are simply distorting the teachings of Islam isn’t the way to go.

      It is amazing how ex-Muslims spend so much time and profit so richly from bashing Islam instead of getting on with their lives. Clearly there is profit and money in bashing Islam and Muslims.

      If you don’t like Shariah then don’t use it but then equally don’t deprive those that do choose to use it.

    21. Ashik — on 3rd December, 2008 at 5:47 pm  

      One law for all is fair enough. We live in a secular country and should abide by the laws of our country. We should be treated exactly the same way regardless of race, religion, wealth etc before the law.

      One need only look at India to see the effects of differing personal laws for Muslims, Hindus and Christians which disadvantages women eg. regarding amount of compensation/maintainance received upon divorce compared to their Hindu sisters. In neighnouring Bangladesh a bloke can marry a second wife without his first wife’s permission despite the Muslim Family Law Ordnance 1961 stating permission is necessary. I once investigated on behalf of a client and even the resulting second marriage is recognised, although the bloke has in practice to pay 10,000 taka fine. These are unjust practices which expose women to vulnerability and abuse and should be opposed as being against natural justice. They go against the spirit of Islam.

      I’ve not come across a single instance of a Sharia legal framework working as Islamists insist it will. Maybe we just don’t understand this systemn of laws as well as we might. Nevertheless I agree with Imran Khan that Muslims and Jews and other religious people will continue to live by their own laws and traditions inspite of any legislative changes. Training for Moalana’s is also a good idea, they need to be informing Muslims of the need to have a civil registry to be protected by UK law.

    22. fugstar — on 3rd December, 2008 at 6:03 pm  

      This is really a marginal issue. There’s a lot of nonsecular stuff about government and administration in this country, and faith is re-emerging as a legitimate category in public policy. Maybe it’s as a proxy for something else but its there for all to see and be confused by. A secularist backlash would be expected. and thats what this is part of.

      Maryam Namazi is of exMuslim and BMSD type organisational background. there may also be some mujahidin e khalq types amongst the undersigned. what great symbolic capital! Tarek Fatah is the stupido of Canada who generally gets up muslim’s noses. They suffer from islamosis and muslimosis and are all allies of the cause ‘to ensure and infantile popy dialogue of the deaf’.

      The pop politics does impact stupid people like hazel blears, who say things like ‘we live in a secular democracy’. The reality is much more complex and we are seeing it unfold around us.

      Old assumptions that were taken for granted may have to refine and/or adapt to society’s changing needs.

    23. Ashik — on 3rd December, 2008 at 6:21 pm  

      To echo Imran Khan and Fug, I have to say that despite my agreement with one law for all in the UK, inclusion of some figures in support of this campaign are disturbing. Ayan Hirsi Ali has been discredited for lying about her family history ie. being forced to marry in Somalia and Taslima Nasreen is a highly controversial figure in Bangladesh and an athiest. These aren’t the sort of people most Muslims would relate to. This inevitable impacts negatively on the subject matter.

    24. Sid — on 3rd December, 2008 at 6:45 pm  

      Maryam Namazi is of exMuslim and BMSD type organisational background. there may also be some mujahidin e khalq types amongst the undersigned. what great symbolic capital! Tarek Fatah is the stupido of Canada who generally gets up muslim’s noses. They suffer from islamosis and muslimosis and are all allies of the cause ‘to ensure and infantile popy dialogue of the deaf’.

      Namazie, Fatah, Nasreen et al may be the worst people in the world. They may even eat babies.

      You can cast all the aspersions on them that you like, but you cannot deny that sharia law denies equal rights to women and girl children.

      Which is why attacking Namazie and Fatah etc, is just a smokescreen which is used to divert us.

    25. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 7:11 pm  

      yes people = especially women - do need to have more religious knowledge and what the procedures are, under the different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, what they are entitled to - and most importantly, how that co-incides with civil law wherever they may reside.

      that is the only way women will not be taken advantage of, and be able to decide if they are going to be better off with whichever system.

      as far as i can see, most muslims, in this country, male or female are highly ignorant in terms of actual religious knowledge. also women here are ignorant of the reality of how as women they would be impacted by how different countries apply sharia - a little bit of research again, is needed. perhaps that’s what we need to produce - some nice glossy case-studies, otherwise manifestos and campaigns like this simply polarise and politicise - we need some knowledge base to that.

    26. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 7:19 pm  

      Anyway, basically, people can arbitrate how they like. by a ‘play’ court in second life, one in FB, one called sharia, if they want. whether that “holds” and counts as Law of the land, is quite another matter. if people mutually agree to something, then of course that is a private business - the whole point is its ’settled out of court’, without recourse to legal action as undertstood by ‘law’ of the land.

      now if religions want their own procedures and arbitration to become “law” that is quite another matter.

      so there are quite a few tangents, and quite a few different things that people are talking about. so talk of a “ban” on people arbitrating by themselves - is quite different to saying, arbitrate away, but its going to replace the law of the land.

      so it would be useful to get those sorts of things clear, before we go and fight about ‘civil’ liberties. i can hold an arbitration council for my mates, just like the sharia blokes can for their ‘mates’. but if one starts having legal stature, simply because its a ‘religion’ well then, i’ll have to start a religion then.

      i don’t see why ‘religious’ private arbitration should be anymore ‘legally’ empowered than anyone else’s - if that’s what the argument is all about. and if people want to be guided by different laws because of their religion, again, i should set up my own religion too and set up some new laws. so either open the floor upto everyone, or don’t. of course if we’re talking about stopping private arbitration (which doesn’t have any legal implications) on the basis that its religiously inspired, i can’t see that works. religion might be bad for people but that’s their problem to work it out.

    27. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 7:26 pm  

      also this business of who ‘can marry’ someone & for it to be legally binding, is simple - certain people are ‘authorised” to do this. its not as if its just Ordained Ministers of the Christian Church, anymore is it. all the mullahs or rabbis would have to do is go off and get this certificate/training whatever it takes to be ‘authorised’ and its simple - no one would have to emigrate. really there is a lot of ‘preciousness’ going about - we want to do it our way and have it count as law! if the rabbis and mullahs get the same ‘certificate’ the blokes and ladies who carry out the ceremony in civil ceremonies - then where’s the prob.? you can even have your premises given a certificate etc. etc. (all those wedding venues/halls have them after all) none of this stops it being a nikah or the jewish ceremony/etc.

      i do think that perhaps this campaign isn’t the right way to sort out the problem though. it will simply rile the religious people (as we can see it is already doing!)

    28. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 7:34 pm  

      which of course is valid in its own way - riling the religious i mean :-) i do think we need to have a proper discusson on “Sharia” - and when the archbishop’s hooha was going on, I remember the fact that there is no one COde that counts as Sharia globally - kept being overlooked by ‘either’ side. You can’t just want ’sharia’ - “it” doesn’t exist. I remember this frustrated me way back when i first went to university, and met some people, who became friends, who thought they wanted’ sharia’! i was like, what do you even know what you’re talking about, you crazy people. and of course they hadn’t a clue - somehow had this mad fool idea that somehow Sharia was right and fair and existed somewhere in some Muslim countries. had to point out it didn’t and that they had no idea because they lived in the West and weren’t subject to what Muslim women in muslim countries are subjected to. It really annoyed me and annoys me to this day. I dare those women to exchange their British passports with an iranian woman or a pakistani woman for 6 months - that would be an experiment worth filming. so easy to sit here, grow up in the West without a clue as to the rights they enjoy which are denied to other women in “muslim” countries specifically because of religion. yes complain about everything relative to what you currently have, but recognise that - which you currently have.

      and if people want to say well we’ll have a british implementation of Sharia that will be superior to the ones currently in existence elsewhere - fine, but i want to hear details then. how is it going to be different/all the rest.

    29. Ala — on 3rd December, 2008 at 7:55 pm  

      Fugstar your rhetoric is very typical of educated Muslim ranting against people who simply emphasise the law of the land which is secular. What’s wrong with Blears saying we live in a secular democracy? Are you claiming otherwise? Who cares if there are secular Muslims out there? Not everything’s a zionist conspiracy to continually torment innocent Muslims.

    30. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 8:19 pm  

      basically we need a panel of hijabis to investigate sharia and what it might mean here. and no bad thing that - as i was saying about the religious education needed. they should take a leaf out of these women’s books/(or blogs) - - strong, vocal, ‘deeply-believing’ muslim women, and questioning too! (what a combo, eh Ashik?)incidentally - Achelois is up for best blog on the Brass Crescent awards “a joint project of altmuslim and City of Brass, is an annual awards ceremony that honors the best writers and thinkers of the emerging Muslim blogosphere (aka the Islamsphere)”

      i hope she wins (over that strange man Umar Lee)

    31. s — on 3rd December, 2008 at 8:33 pm  

      those who are in favour of Sharia Law and those who dont oppose it should go and live in Sudan, Iran, or under the Teleban.

    32. sonia — on 3rd December, 2008 at 8:43 pm  

      i see fug’s blog has been nominated too!

    33. douglas clark — on 3rd December, 2008 at 11:38 pm  

      Quite surprised no-one has nominated Sonia’s!

    34. Refresh — on 4th December, 2008 at 12:02 am  

      Sid, I am sorry but the ‘One Law for All’ campaign is discriminatory.

      Irony at its best.

    35. fugstar — on 4th December, 2008 at 12:16 am  

      Alalalalalala,
      I dont remember uttering, or thinking, ‘zionist conspiracy’.I think youve been pressing your re-reactionary button too frequently.

      There is plenty of non secular stuff embedded in Brit political culture, procedure and legal praxis. Therefore Blears is rather dumb and doesnt know her history.

    36. Boyo — on 4th December, 2008 at 8:12 am  

      I agree with this one law business. We are one country and have one citizenship after all. People mention the Jews etc, but this country has never had such a high proportion of people from different cultures settle - and if it has, they haven’t had an alternative, religious legal system of their own, ie Sharia. I think we do need a kind of constitutional revolution that establishes the UK along the same lines at France and the US, full-stop. We can’t keep pretending its the same Old England where everyone rubs along in consensus because plainly that consensus is fragmenting (thanks, multicultis). We need to IMPOSE a secular system that guarantees equality of speech, opportunity etc in law like in France, except I could live with the Queen. And yes, I’m well aware that this is in itself a value system - but I support it because I’m a Democratic Socialist.

    37. Boyo — on 4th December, 2008 at 8:13 am  

      Even if the US and France aren’t exactly Socialist! But it would be a start!

    38. Sid — on 4th December, 2008 at 8:47 am  

      Sid, I am sorry but the ‘One Law for All’ campaign is discriminatory.

      Irony at its best.

      Irony doesn’t make something “discriminatory”.

    39. Imran Khan — on 4th December, 2008 at 10:43 am  

      Sonia - “yes people = especially women - do need to have more religious knowledge and what the procedures are, under the different schools of Islamic jurisprudence, what they are entitled to - and most importantly, how that co-incides with civil law wherever they may reside.

      that is the only way women will not be taken advantage of, and be able to decide if they are going to be better off with whichever system.

      as far as i can see, most muslims, in this country, male or female are highly ignorant in terms of actual religious knowledge.”

      This is exactly what I am saying. The core problem is that Maulvi’s are often as knowledgeable or less so than the people going in to get an ruling!

      As I said you’ll find much of the basis for Western Law is from Shariah when it was applied fairly. Also please don’t forget that Aiysha (ra) the wife of the Prophet (pbuh) was a renowned scholar and the male companions often referred to her. That aspect has been lost in this generation so women don’t have the influence that they should.

      People are judging shariah by poor implementations in Afghanistan, parts of Africa and what goes on in the Arabian Peninsula. That isn’t what Shariah is about.

      Every one harps on about Iran, The Taliban and Sudan but those are not examples of Shariah those are examples of some shariah and lots of tribal law and myth so how can that be Shariah.

      In Shariah the heads of all those countries would be on trial for failing the citizens of those countries so if they have Shariah why hasn’t that happened? it hasn’t happened because they didn’t have Shariah. In Shariah the head of Sudan is liable for the protection of all citizens so the failure to do this makes him an oppressive ruler and under Shariah he is liable for capital punishment for not taking care of all citizens in that region.

      Just because you have aspects of Shariah doesn’t make it shariah no matter how the press portray it. Equally Guantanamo Bay isn’t representative of secular law is it? Extraoridinary rendition isn’t representative of secular law is it? The Baby P case isn’t representative of UK Law and it isn’t portrayed as such. So if people want to judge shariah be fair in comparison and analysis.

      Many of the countries people point to are barely Islamic let alone have an Islamic Judicial system.

    40. Sid — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:37 am  

      Imran Khan

      People are judging shariah by poor implementations in Afghanistan, parts of Africa and what goes on in the Arabian Peninsula. That isn’t what Shariah is about.

      Where is there an implementation of Shari’a that that you would rather it judged by?

    41. Boyo — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:58 am  

      That’s the point - there isn’t, and never will be, because “only God is perfect” ;-)

      Utopianism - whether in its Socialist or Islamist or Neo Conservatism clothes - only results in misery and excuses.

    42. bananabrain — on 4th December, 2008 at 12:16 pm  

      yes you cant stop people settling differences with each other.

      as someone said recently, do you ban hospitals because they used to operate without anaesthetic? more to the point, do you ban cutlery because of teenagers with knives?

      can’t see how we’ve moved on from the original fuss that erupted back when Archbishop said what he said. and he made it very clear ( i heard him speak in person, and he was eloquent) that he had no intention of parallel jurisdictions being set up, and the situation where shariah law might go against state laws etc. i.e. a situation where it wasn’t one law for all.

      that is because there are some people who will not rest until all vestiges of religion have been eliminated. can you possibly mistake the aim of people like dawkins when they have been so utterly explicit about it? i wouldn’t mind so much if it was just about removing it from the public domain (although there is something utterly totalitarian about that) but whereas most of us would like for the issue to be addressed (people being forced to accept religious authority when they have a right to dissent) but object hugely to this being used as a stick to beat the vast majority of perfectly good religious citizens.

      what did still concern me about the Sharia courts: as a lot of Muslim women seem to think that a civil divorce doesn’t not equate to a religious divorce. which isn’t the case according to most of the schools/madhabs, but not too many people/women seem to be aware of.

      that is interesting, because it isn’t the same in judaism. you have to have a religious divorce or any subsequent marriage is forbidden, leading to the tragedy of agunot - “chained” women whose husbands refuse to issue the get document required, which the rabbinic establishment has shown singular moral failure to address. consequently, we have to rely on a recent change to UK divorce law which allows judges to refuse to grant decree nisi if the wife notifies them that a get is being refused. this is a shaming thing for the halakhah, but it has occurred because the necessary international standards have still not been agreed, which could lead to a divorce being viewed as invalid in one country, with very, very bad consequences.

      i guess the irony there was, they were being ‘had’ for the sake of religious reassurance.

      hur, hur, hur, i find it ironic that this is so apparently OK in the case of, say, alternative therapies, or dare i say it, branding….

      educate them about the ins and out of their religion. so i don’t know what you can do about that - if they feel that’s their religion, then they’ll go to that court. whether that court is ‘legitimate’ or not. its like paying money to a fortune teller, you’re perfectly entitled to do that if you want.

      oh, i’m pretty sure richard dawkins wants palmists, astrologers, homeopaths and reiki practitioners all outlawed. wait till the neo-pagans hear about this, he’ll have druids camped out on his doorstep, poor sod. the trouble is that he insists that science and religion are fundamentally in conflict, whereas the vast majority of us utterly disagree, particularly those with both physics PhDs and knowledge of Torah. it’s one of the reasons i made sure to look visibly jewish at a lecture on genetics at the royal society the other night, as well as when i go to the natural history museum.

      as long as we don’t end up like India or Bangladesh, where the law that applies to you is based on what your ‘official’ religion, is - well that’s the main thing in law being separate to religion, from my perspective, and what i want from a ’secular’ environment.

      i’d agree with that.

      and i think there’s a lot of confusion -without doing research into what practices muslims currently follow -i don’t know that people have nikahs and not get a civil ceremony. i can’t see that its that much of a difficulty to go and get a civil ceremony done. wanting your religious ceremony to be recognised as ‘marriage’ is being a bit lazy. and if that is to be recognised, why stop at religious practices? anyone should be able to ‘ordain’ a marriage based on whatever ceremony/ritual/group - if that is to be the case.

      the issue is whether the law of the land is considered binding law. i know that shari’ah contains this concept, the question is whether it is consistently interpreted, which is why the issue is one of standards and quality control, at least in issues of personal status.

      @Imran Khan:

      Why should they have to leave simply because a bunch of people who have had bad experiences with religion decide what people can and can’t do.

      because it would marginalise us and bring us into conflict with the law of the land. we are not interested in becoming criminals. we have had this experience many times and it is far from pleasant. i remember that not so long ago in the soviet union, kosher food, mikvehs (ritual pools) and circumcision were all forbidden; these are fundamentals of jewish life. why should i live in a country like that if i can go somewhere else? and if you can pass a law like that, you can pass other laws, less pleasant ones.

      All that would happen is that the religious community would go underground for legal rulings of a religious nature.

      right; and that’s worked out soooo well in past and present for other things that people cannot be prevented from wanting, needing or paying for, like drugs, sex, alcohol and abortions.

      An unfair statement. Shariah law isn’t properly set-up here and its on the basis of people doing their best which isn’t good enough but it hasn’t had a proper chance or the time to mature in the UK.

      but that’s what i’m saying. i don’t think it’s unfair to say that it is how it is at the moment, but there is no reason to think the situation couldn’t be improved, particularly if the systemic weaknesses can be identified and strengthened. can you identify a country where shari’ah *is* properly set up? and please, please, don’t say saudi, iran or pakistan. about the only place i can think of where shari’ah courts function effectively and consistently within the civil law in matters of personal status is, ironically enough, israel.

      Also the attack in this thread is on shariah but people don’t want to be accused of racism so they talk vauguely about other systems. In reality they’ll work their proposal to outlaw shariah alone.

      that definitely isn’t how it’s worded. it says quite explicitly that it covers any and all religious arbitration, which means us and anyone else. besides, it’s incorrect to say that anti-sharia’h legislation would be “racist”, as muslims belong to all races. islamophobic, perhaps, would be a better word.

      Those same liberals stay quiet about the exploitation of women in secular society but beat on and on about Shariah - why the double standard?

      er, i’m not sure that is true. there are plenty of other double standards they are exercising, though.

      What you have not grasped is that people will still use religous law even if it is outlawed so therefore it is better to try and regulate the practise and train people in religous knowledge.

      good - now can we admit that the same is true for drugs and sex workers?

      How many Muslims do you think will listen to the likes of Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Ibn Warraq whose constant attacks on their faith highlight their real agenda. If they have left Islam why can’t they leave us Muslims alone?

      if a binding fatwa was issued that declared that the provisions mandating execution of apostates were no longer applicable on *shari’ah grounds*, that might remove a great deal of their motivation.

      haha, I knew I should have edited the list of endorsements from that email since that was bound to be what people like yourself would be getting hung up on rather than on the thrust of the campaign.

      not true, i would be objecting to this whether dawkins had signed it or not. as it happens, i don’t have very much time for a lot of the people who will be objecting to this proposal, either.

      But they should be aware that sharia law puts them and their children at a adisadvantage compared to that of their husbands and their “legal guardians”. So they should really be looking to civil courts for justice not parallel jurisdictions of sharia courts.

      or they should be demanding that shari’ah courts raise their game and pay some attention to the context of both the UK and modernity.

      We have to allow the opportunity to people for consent though I agree that sometimes consent is difficult to establish. Hmmm, its a tricky one.

      not at all - all you have to do is require sharia’h courts to produce a document signed by the parties concerned, agreeing to the arbitration of that court, then you ensure that the document is signed separately by each party, in an environment which does not permit coercion, with severe penalties for the administrators and functionaries of the court if they are found to be in breach of this.

      If Maulvi’s from Pakistan can’t understand Arabic how do you expect them to undertake complex legal rulings when they don’t have a grounding.

      well, this is one of the systemic weaknesses i noted before - you need an agreed standard by which clerical qualifications can be assessed. for the rabbinate, these are awarded by named batei din and areas of specialism and level of competence are specified: “so-and-so is recognised by the LBD as authorised to perform marriages and prepare documents of divorce, also to supervise kashrut and settle financial disputes”. that is what i mean by quality control. it is hardly beyond the capabilities of the muslim communities to organise this. it is similar in terms of submitting to a judgement, the T&C have to be of consistent quality and made known to the parties in advance. how hard is that? i agree with you, imran - but i think islam needs to be seen to try and put its house in order in this respect. i believe it can, but so far it hasn’t really happened.

      Simply because it’s *impossible* to prevent people from being coerced into using an arbitration system, specially when it is enacted by insular communities.

      nonsense. at some point the secular authorities must be involved, even if it the registrar of births, marriages and deaths, or even the police. people don’t just exist outside the system.

      This is enough justification to enforce a single law of arbitration to prevent individuals from being put in a position of disadvantage. Also, I don’t see how you can consider discrimination when you have a SINGLE law that applies to everyone. That’s the opposite of discrimination.

      but it doesn’t. it singles out religious arbitration as inherently retrograde, oppressive and in conflict with human rights. however, when you look at the arguments, there isn’t a single one that can’t be applied to anything from sex therapists to astrologers.

      Why are some people seeing this as an attack on their individual rights or that of their religion?

      because i, unlike you, can see the direct and indirect implications of the proposed legislation on my individual rights and religion; you don’t know how my religion is organised, so naturally you don’t understand the problem.

      In a secular society, the rights of all citizens are exactly the same and we must all bear the same responsibilities. Therefore, the law should be equally applicable in each case.

      but in no case here is the law *not* equally applicable already to me. i am not exempt from any UK civil law, nor should i be.

      I dont understand why the arbitration cannot still go on. The only thing is whatever the arbitrator decides need to be ratified by a Court of Law or a duly authorised rep.

      that is my *point*. the jewish system has, more than a century ago, gone through this process with PARLIAMENT, in exhaustive detail, with the result that we were able to make the necessary arrangements to accommodate the requirements of the law of the land and negotiate the necessary extra checks and balances.

      However, in cases where, the arbitration is openly unfair and one of the participants in the case believe they have been unfairly treated — they should have a right to appeal. That way, you protect everyone’s rights - so this would actually fail under Human Rights Act challenge.

      it’s already non-binding if you just ignore it.

      not true - because a) it will depend on the Judge and the Madhab they follow so no such ONE thing as ‘proper’ or not ‘proper’

      what this implies is two things. one is an authoritative codification of shari’ah and the madhabs, as was done by the gaonate, maimonides and eventually the C16th shulhan arukh, which was accepted by the entire jewish world as binding; this would, paradoxically, require a re-opening of the “gates of ijtihad” in order for the necessary standardisation to take place - but that can only be a good thing by most people’s standards.

      and b) its subjective what people mean by “full rights” so your idea of being ‘fully protected’ is a patronising one generally which does not equate to what we as women think of as “rights”. we have the right to be controlled and told what is a our right! as far as i can see.

      quite so!

      a Madhab is advisory and the Qur’an and Sunnah take precedence

      yes, but how is this to be consistently interpreted in practice? that is my point about systemic weakness and quality control - you shouldn’t consider it an attack.

      Clearly there is profit and money in bashing Islam and Muslims

      hang on a minute, how is this what is going on? as we have already established, this has wide-ranging repercussions far beyond islam. there clearly is an issue that needs addressing, although clearly banning all religion as these people appear to want isn’t the answer. this seems to be a generalised (and odd) complaint which adds nothing to your argument.

      I’ve not come across a single instance of a Sharia legal framework working as Islamists insist it will. Maybe we just don’t understand this system of laws as well as we might

      that is kind of where i am with this.

      perhaps that’s what we need to produce - some nice glossy case-studies, otherwise manifestos and campaigns like this simply polarise and politicise - we need some knowledge base to that.

      except that the dawkinses of this world are not actually interested in resolving this. like the islamists, they intend to win and eliminate the other side from public discourse.

      if people mutually agree to something, then of course that is a private business - the whole point is its ’settled out of court’, without recourse to legal action as undertstood by ‘law’ of the land. now if religions want their own procedures and arbitration to become “law” that is quite another matter.

      exactly!!

      i don’t see why ‘religious’ private arbitration should be anymore ‘legally’ empowered than anyone else’s

      well, neither do i - however, nor do i think religious private arbitration should be specifically discriminated against and that is what the stated aim of this campaign is.

      if the rabbis and mullahs get the same ‘certificate’ the blokes and ladies who carry out the ceremony in civil ceremonies - then where’s the prob.? you can even have your premises given a certificate etc. etc. (all those wedding venues/halls have them after all) none of this stops it being a nikah or the jewish ceremony/etc.

      exactly. now some rabbis are official registrars under UK law, although more often this is done by some functionary from the officiating synagogue, precisely because we must not confuse the two systems.

      generally, what sonia says @28.

      also, wouldn’t this mean banning christmas trees in public buildings?

      think we do need a kind of constitutional revolution that establishes the UK along the same lines at France and the US, full-stop. We can’t keep pretending its the same Old England where everyone rubs along in consensus because plainly that consensus is fragmenting (thanks, multicultis). We need to IMPOSE a secular system that guarantees equality of speech, opportunity etc in law like in France, except I could live with the Queen. And yes, I’m well aware that this is in itself a value system - but I support it because I’m a Democratic Socialist.

      argh, but in practice, what happens in france is that anyone who doesn’t “look secular” ends up getting discriminated against, because the state is treated like a religion in its own right. that for me is a problem.

      Utopianism - whether in its Socialist or Islamist or Neo Conservatism clothes - only results in misery and excuses.

      hur, hur, hur - you’ve just made the case for precisely why judaism’s universalism is so delicately balanced with its particularism and, incidentally, why the real problem is missionary thinking and the idea that, eventually, everyone will have to convert.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    43. Boyo — on 4th December, 2008 at 1:40 pm  

      “anyone who doesn’t “look secular” ends up getting discriminated against, because the state is treated like a religion in its own right. that for me is a problem.”

      no one’s ever going to be happy, but at least we can all be equally miserable.

      france, the us etc set up their constitutions precisely because they were conscious of the corrosion of religious exceptionalism. it would be easy to opt for the US vers, but actually i’ll go with the french - ban religious symbols in public buildings etc. if some people feel that being treated as an equal is a form of “discrimination”, then phooey.

    44. Imran Khan — on 4th December, 2008 at 6:01 pm  

      Sid - “Where is there an implementation of Shari’a that that you would rather it judged by?”

      There isn’t one and there hasn’t been one for a long long time.

      That is the crucial point - many people barely know about their own faith let alone what Shariah is.

      It is like the people who are calling for a Caliphite without understanding the basic premise.

      As an example the very issue that Hirsi Ali highlights which itself may not be true - namely that she fled because she was being fortced to marry. Under Shariah Law this can’t happen as she has to consent to a marriage. So if Shariah was implemented correctly that wouldn’t have happened.

      If the people implementing the system are doing it for their own gain then it won’t be shariah.

      This is why the major scholars in the Middle East have said that religious education is more important than replacing the regimes because what do you replace them with?

      True Shariah can’t be in place until everyone can get justice from the system. In all the examples people quote people can’t get justice easily so it can’t be shariah - it just has aspects of shariah.

    45. Imran Khan — on 4th December, 2008 at 6:26 pm  

      Mr. Bananabrain - Reading your long reponse above you have appear to have attributed a number of comments to me that I never made.

      “because it would marginalise us and bring us into conflict with the law of the land. we are not interested in becoming criminals.”

      Er my point was that Jews shouldn’t have to leave because a bunch of people who have bad religious experiences have decided that they can’t live within the laws of their religion. The law should allow Jews to stay here. It was an observation to the stupidity of the proposal.

      “can you identify a country where shari’ah *is* properly set up? and please, please, don’t say saudi, iran or pakistan. about the only place i can think of where shari’ah courts function effectively and consistently within the civil law in matters of personal status is, ironically enough, israel.”

      There isn’t one including Israel. If Shariah worked in Israel - then you wouldn’t have the kind of crimes that are committed going on. With respect you wouldn’t have suicide bombing for a start if Muslims followed shariah as it is strictly prohibited. What you have in Israel is a miture of some shariah for limited personal aspects but the wider community aspects are ignored.

      “if a binding fatwa was issued that declared that the provisions mandating execution of apostates were no longer applicable on *shari’ah grounds*, that might remove a great deal of their motivation.”

      Again a complex area but execution of apostates only takes place under exceptional circumstances. As the people you mention don’t even live in an Islamic land then their execution isn’t applicable.

      The simple fact is that those individuals push this law to make their living and clerics push this law because it suits them. It doesn’t make it legal Islamically. It is too complex to explain fully but the laws only apply in certain cases.

      “well, this is one of the systemic weaknesses i noted before - you need an agreed standard by which clerical qualifications can be assessed.”

      There is one and this is why one of the major scholars of the past generation implored people not to call the average person a Sheikh. By giving people these titles then they are elevated to a status they shouldn’t have. Did you know that Al-Qardawi’s teacher has condemned him as deviant? Yet to most Muslims he is seen as a Sheikh! But his own teacher has said that people need to beware of his teaching. It is ignorance amongst the masses which elevates these people.

      “a Madhab is advisory and the Qur’an and Sunnah take precedence

      well, this is one of the systemic weaknesses i noted before - you need an agreed standard by which clerical qualifications can be assessed.”

      Agreed.

      “Clearly there is profit and money in bashing Islam and Muslims

      hang on a minute, how is this what is going on?”

      People like Hirsi Ali and Ibn Warraq make their living by bashing Muslims and get paid for it. Hirsi Ali is a regular speaker at evangelical and some right wing Jewish events in the USA. For such engagements they get paid. So the more they bash the richer they get.

      With respect Hirsi Ali was less than truthful about her supposed flight and lost her refugee status in Holland. Yet we are expected to believe she will be truthful about Islam.

      These laws are designed against Muslims as was the headscarf ban in France. Government Ministers there and in germany openly said so. In some way they’ll try and protect other faiths - which may or may not work. But the aim is against Islam.

      If you actually read the title above of the campaign:
      “The One Law for All campaign against Sharia law in Britain is to be launched at the House of Lords on International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2008 from 4:00 to 5:00pm.”

      It is specific and says against Sharia Law - it doesn’t list other religious laws. Other religions are brought in to stop charges of racism.

      This is against Shariah primarily and that is evident in the title and opening. If it wasn’t then you see mention of other religious laws. Read the number of times the word Sharia is mentioned - that is what they are against. Read the entire start of the article.

      This whole campaign is aimed against Muslims and Muslims alone. If Jews are affected then that is a by product of the aim. The aim is against Muslims and Muslims alone.

      If you can’t see that then reread the campaign synopsis above.

      This is blatent and open discrimination against Muslims.

    46. Imran Khan — on 4th December, 2008 at 6:30 pm  

      Sid - “I wonder if Sid has ever written a thread supporting most Muslims?! No wonder he loves Dave T and Harry’s Place

      lol, wtf?”

      I actually can’t recall you writing an article that is supportive of the majority of Muslims.

      Fine you don’t accept the faith anymore, and fine you can attack us. But is everythign about Islam and Muslims always always wrong!

      I can’t remember you being supportive of Muslims.

      Why is so difficult for you to just move on and let Muslims get on in their own way?

      You go down your road and we’ll go down ours.

    47. s — on 4th December, 2008 at 7:20 pm  

      many of the arguments for permitting each religion or the culture to determine its own laws are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of human rights. Human rights as difined in the UDHR are vested in the individual, not the group. As soon as rights are accorded to a group rather then to individuals, conflict becomes possible not only between one group and another, but between the group and its own members. Any group that denies the right of its members to leave is in contravention of the fundamental principles of human rights. Yet clearly, one of the reasons or the growth of Islam over the past century has been that becoming a muslim is a one way street. Whether by birth or conversion, once you are a Muslim the only way out, under Sharia, is death.

    48. Don — on 4th December, 2008 at 7:40 pm  

      Imran,

      This whole campaign is aimed against Muslims and Muslims alone

      It is certainly aimed at the possible expansion of sharia into some sort of legally recognised system and, yes, the inclusion of beit din in the equation is part of a less than honest ‘level playing field’ spin.

      But I think you go too far in saying it is aimed against Muslims per se. I see it more as a vigorous defence of a secular and universalist legal system with sharia being the issue of the moment.

      Why is so difficult for you to just move on and let Muslims get on in their own way?

      You go down your road and we’ll go down ours

      I appreciate that that was aimed at Sid, with whom you have your own issues, but in broader terms, what does You go down your road and we’ll go down ours actually mean, given we are talking about sharing the same land mass?

    49. comrade — on 4th December, 2008 at 7:58 pm  

      This is blatent and open discrimination against Muslims.

      I rember last year on our New Years party when the dicussion came up on Islamophobia, Someone suggested that we must defend Islam because its under attack by the Establishment he was suddenly interupted, and told we must defend Muslims and not Islam as they are two different things. Can you asks the Dalits to defend Hidhuism, surely not

    50. Imran Khan — on 4th December, 2008 at 8:51 pm  

      “You go down your road and we’ll go down ours

      I appreciate that that was aimed at Sid, with whom you have your own issues, but in broader terms, what does You go down your road and we’ll go down ours actually mean, given we are talking about sharing the same land mass?”

      What I meant is that Sid should travel down the path he has chosen which is away from the tenants of Islam and Muslims will go down the path they choose which is with the tenants of Islam.

      I don’t have an issue with Sid, he has made his own decision as we all must.

      But Sid is often bashing Muslims - yes there are things wrong and they need to be addressed but we don’t need Murdoch’esque write ups everywhere.

      As regards this proposal (which isn’t Sid’s) surely if grown adults choose religious arbitration that is up to them and not a bunch of people with an axe to grind who insist at every opportunity on telling Muslims they are WRONG.

    51. Imran Khan — on 4th December, 2008 at 8:59 pm  

      “But I think you go too far in saying it is aimed against Muslims per se. I see it more as a vigorous defence of a secular and universalist legal system with sharia being the issue of the moment.”

      Again read what is said, the entire campaign is against Sharia. Their write up is against sharia. Every time a religious legal code is mentioned it is - yep you guessed it - sharia.

      May I remind readers of the title of the campaign:
      “The One Law for All campaign against Sharia law in Britain”

      It isn’t as people think:
      “The One Law for All campaign against religious law in Britain”

      it is:
      “The One Law for All campaign against Sharia law in Britain”

      They are very clear which is what people are missing - it is against Sharia.

      The only religious law mentioned by name and very very very frequently is Sharia.

      They state that this campaign is against Sharia Law on 28 occasions that I counted. The mention of religious laws is on less than half a dozen. So it is clear what this campaign is against and which religious community it is aimed at.

      If it isn’t discriminatory against Muslims why the lopsided emphasis on Sharia Law - why mention it 28 times in a fairly small write up?

      This is a discriminatory campaign aimed at Muslims.

    52. Beavis — on 4th December, 2008 at 9:33 pm  

      Do all Muslims want sharia law though?

    53. sonia — on 4th December, 2008 at 10:31 pm  

      33. douglas very kind - but im not sure my blog (even if id’ been regularly updating) would count as a blog in the ‘islamosphere…(not according to the people behind the awards anyway)

    54. Don — on 4th December, 2008 at 10:47 pm  

      They are very clear which is what people are missing - it is against Sharia.

      I don’t think anyone is missing that point. Of course it is about sharia. What other discussion are we having?

    55. sonia — on 4th December, 2008 at 10:56 pm  

      “But Sid is often bashing Muslims”

      but he isnt bashing people for being muslim is he? he engages in certain critiques which do involve some muslims, yes, but its usually what they’re up to and not about them being muslim.

      obviously!

      anyway “As I said you’ll find much of the basis for Western Law is from Shariah when it was applied fairly.” yes. tell that to the people who want sharia - think about the meat about what it is they want. what legal reform do they actually want - if any? or do they just want to feel they are conforming to religion? i have a feeling its cosmetic and also being influenced into thinking that ‘western’ law is that of the ‘infidel’ and will corrupt.

      Mezba on his blog was pointing this out to Muslims who just demand Sharia as some kind of ’separate’ law and didn’t bother to analyse whether the law of the land was working to the same principle, and giving them their rights (which they did know at some level, compared to home countries definitely) and not being worried about it not being ‘ islamic’ in ritual.
      he was saying, look at the substance not the surface, which is always a sensible sort of thing to do.

    56. sonia — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:03 pm  

      good point s in 47. precisely, the rights are of each individual, not of the ‘group’ and each individual regarding of their affiliation of any group, has the same rights.

      otherwise - you have the situation you had before - one set of laws for “Whites” one set for Blacks, Coloured, Muslims, Hindus. Highly divisive and race-ist/group-ist.

      and people have got to realise they are part of the wider polity, and not just in ‘tightly-bounded’ groups which don’t overlap. we’re all individuals in a wide loose society which involves many affiliations.

    57. sonia — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:09 pm  

      much sense spoken by ashik in no. 21

      “One need only look at India to see the effects of differing personal laws for Muslims, Hindus and Christians which disadvantages women eg. regarding amount of compensation/maintainance received upon divorce compared to their Hindu sisters.”

      “In neighnouring Bangladesh a bloke can marry a second wife without his first wife’s permission despite the Muslim Family Law Ordnance 1961 stating permission is necessary. ”

      quite

    58. Imran Khan — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:11 pm  

      “anyway “As I said you’ll find much of the basis for Western Law is from Shariah when it was applied fairly.” yes. tell that to the people who want sharia - think about the meat about what it is they want. what legal reform do they actually want - if any? or do they just want to feel they are conforming to religion? i have a feeling its cosmetic and also being influenced into thinking that ‘western’ law is that of the ‘infidel’ and will corrupt.”

      But with respect this all goes back to a lack of education in all senses not just religious amongst Muslims.

      If Muslim people actually learnt about the faith then you wouldn’t have things going on as they do, stupid statements about other faiths and the west etc.

      “but he isnt bashing people for being muslim is he? he engages in certain critiques which do involve some muslims, yes, but its usually what they’re up to and not about them being muslim.

      obviously!”

      When people dare to disagree with him he gets very very very very nasty. It decends from discussion and debate to smears, innuendo and plain nastiness. That is hardly constructive. Possibly he thinks he is Paxman but it is all uncalled for. He is much like Chamberlain when he came back from Germany waving his bit of paper as if he has found something we don’t know about.

      Occasionally you become like this.

      I don’t have a problem with good discussion and debate but descending to the nonsense is uncalled for and those types of attacks are usually reserved by Sid for Muslims. Argue the point and don’t defame the person.

    59. Imran Khan — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:15 pm  

      ““In neighnouring Bangladesh a bloke can marry a second wife without his first wife’s permission despite the Muslim Family Law Ordnance 1961 stating permission is necessary. ””

      Yes but this isn’t permissible in Sharia, where permission is required and they have to all be treated exactly the same. The Qur’an says clearly if you can’t treat them the same then you can’t marry them.

      So you are using a corrupt form of law, portray it as religious and then saying it is unfair. That isn’t the Sharia law so why unfairly equate it as such.

      Islamically a women can write into a marriage contract that a man is forbidden to marry additional wives. So the female has control of the situation. If Bangladesh ignores this that is the stupidity of Bangladesh not Islam.

    60. Adnan — on 5th December, 2008 at 12:07 am  

      @59 Imran: you’ve gone on a lot about Sharia not being implemented correctly. So what aspects of Sharia do you think should be introduced ?

      If that isn’t made clear (and you aren’t doing so by saying it’s not been implemented properly anywhere) you get the usual shrill stuff:
      a) Sharia is going to apply to everybody.

      b) They’re going to implement the Sharia penal code in the UK.

      c) They’re not going to implement non-penal aspects of Sharia but are going to implement other stuff that goes against UK law e.g. allowing multiple wives.

      For example, the “One Law For All” article specifically mentions multiple wives and is endorsed by the “International Committee against Stoning” - as if they would be allowed in any Shariah implementation working within UK law.

    61. sonia — on 5th December, 2008 at 12:30 am  

      bananabrain “that is interesting, because it isn’t the same in judaism. you have to have a religious divorce or any subsequent marriage is forbidden”

      yes well its not that different. it all depends on what you consider religious divorce though. and i think the complication is how it sits alongside the civil law of whatever country you live in. so the issue is what #counts#as religious divorce and whether those components exist in civil procedures. there is disagreement about what EXACTLY constitutes divorce islamically.

      basically islam sees marriage as a contract and dissolution of that contract has certain rules and procedures, but if those are present in a non-ostensibly religious format, it still holds. this may be a more liberal interpretation (the spirit of the law) rather than the more strict interpretations which demand the presence of an islamic qadi to ’sign it off’ with special rituals etc.

      Sunnipath (that wonderful site) has many questions asked by people - this is one is whether a divorce obtained in a UK court holds islamically - the shaykh says it does ‘but to consult a scholar’ (aha!)

      according to my Dad, if you get divorced in a British/any “civil” court, that divorce is effectively being divorced ‘islamically’ too. because you have declared your intention to divorce, observed a certain period of time, signed it in the presence of witnesses etc. being the key things. (you also have to wait longer under British law for example - which may be why some people want to do it ‘islamically’, especially if they haven’t even had a civil marriage!)

      generally, understanding parallel systems of law when it comes to people getting married in one country, getting divorced, moving somewhere else, all these transnational cases etc. - are very complex. I doubt this is all something most of us laymen understand - so a lot of learning to be done.

    62. sonia — on 5th December, 2008 at 12:36 am  

      “Yes but this isn’t permissible in Sharia, where permission is required and they have to all be treated exactly the same. ”

      NO its not - permission is NOT required! (they do have to be treated the same but ’same’ is subjective isn’t it. You’re not very well up on fiqh or Islam are you? i always thought so but that is only because the law of Bangladesh. Arabs for example often don’t even bother telling the first wife, though it is encouraged that one should ‘out of courtesy’

      the whole polygamy thing is what mixes up the parallel systems of law of course doesn’t it.

    63. fugstar — on 5th December, 2008 at 12:40 am  

      sharia its pretty socially contructed. theres no reason why it cant be constructed better.

      however this is nothing to do with anything important like the ressusitation of islamic thought, of which the legal part is only one component.

      its about symbolic willy waving.

    64. fugstar — on 5th December, 2008 at 12:43 am  

      42

      longest post in all of humankind. if you werent jewish id think you were salafi.

      my sympathy for your fingers.

    65. sonia — on 5th December, 2008 at 12:47 am  

      unless the woman stipulated that he has to ask permission in the pre-nuptial agreement!

      islamic marriage procedures are interesting - its a trick testing the smartness of the female - basically if you are a woman who has a guardian with knowledge of the law - and advises you on pre-nuptual agreements, you can sort yourself out on many counts. e.g. that the bloke cant marry again without your permission, that you want equivalent rights as your husband with regards to divorce, you can put in these clauses and it will be valid. Because its a contract between two parties, so if you’d thought of these things before, and the man agrees and signs it, well then he is bound to it.

      of course, usually women don’t find out till later when the qadi says ‘well if you’d had legal advice my dear and written this into the pre-nup..”

      so again - knowledge is key.

      “sharia its pretty socially contructed. theres no reason why it cant be constructed better.” true - good point. what i want to see is some clear discusson about how its going to be constructed better, not just some politician style rhetorical statements on the fact that it WILL be better.

    66. sonia — on 5th December, 2008 at 12:57 am  

      “now some rabbis are official registrars under UK law, although more often this is done by some functionary from the officiating synagogue, precisely because we must not confuse the two systems.”

      interesting

    67. Boyo — on 5th December, 2008 at 7:43 am  

      Sigh, I waited in vain for our smooth Mr Khan to respond to the exchange around 40 between Sid and I:

      #

      Imran Khan

      People are judging shariah by poor implementations in Afghanistan, parts of Africa and what goes on in the Arabian Peninsula. That isn’t what Shariah is about.

      #

      Sid

      Where is there an implementation of Shari’a that that you would rather it judged by?

      #

      Boyo — on 4th December, 2008 at 11:58 am

      That’s the point - there isn’t, and never will be, because “only God is perfect” ;-)
      Utopianism - whether in its Socialist or Islamist or Neo Conservatism clothes - only results in misery and excuses.

      ____________

      Yet all I found was (coin in to slot):

      True Shariah can’t be in place until everyone can get justice from the system. In all the examples people quote people can’t get justice easily so it can’t be shariah - it just has aspects of shariah.

      ____________

      Utopia is also the Ancient Greek word for unreachable. Islamism is a post-Christian Utopian movement that believes in building heaven here on earth. John Gray argues that the same also applies to Communism, Nazism and Neo Conservatism. Do you see a pattern here? I don’t doubt Imran’s sincerity, but history plainly demonstrates where that can lead.

    68. fugstar — on 5th December, 2008 at 10:02 am  

      65

      well go to an academic discourse. you probably wont last long, but the conversations are real. not a poxy brown ringed discussion board. ‘yaar’

    69. Imran Khan — on 5th December, 2008 at 6:19 pm  

      “NO its not - permission is NOT required! (they do have to be treated the same but ’same’ is subjective isn’t it. You’re not very well up on fiqh or Islam are you? i always thought so but that is only because the law of Bangladesh. Arabs for example often don’t even bother telling the first wife, though it is encouraged that one should ‘out of courtesy’”

      The same isn’t subjective. They must be treated the same in terms of accommodation, finances, kind treatment and so forth. If a husband buys a gift it must be for all wives and not one.

      By the way having multiple wives isn’t encouraged, in historical times this was to help women who had been widowed etc.

      I’ll check about the permission issue - I may be wrong but I thought permission was needed.

    70. Imran Khan — on 5th December, 2008 at 6:25 pm  

      Boyo - I did respond. At the present time there isn’t a true implementation of Sharia anywhere.

    71. Boyo — on 6th December, 2008 at 2:40 pm  

      Imran - that’s my point. Don’t you understand my point, or are you just ignoring it?

    72. Diana — on 7th December, 2008 at 4:24 pm  

      “Also, I don’t see how you can consider discrimination when you have a SINGLE law that applies to everyone. That’s the opposite of discrimination.”

      consider that universal law speaks for the majority and does not represent minorities. recognizing difference is part of resisting hegemonic populations and representing society as it really is- multicultural.

      this does not necessarily mean introducing sharia law is necessary or the right way to go about representation of diversity. My point is that ‘difference blind’ politics does not represent EVERYONE…
      unversal laws may be “particularism masquerading as universalism”-charles taylor “poltics of recognition”

    73. douglas clark — on 7th December, 2008 at 5:17 pm  

      Diana @ 72,

      consider that universal law speaks for the majority and does not represent minorities. recognizing difference is part of resisting hegemonic populations and representing society as it really is- multicultural.

      That is not what modern law has been about. The whole point of stuff like the ECHR, which is embedded in UK law, has been to limit the ability of the majority to enforce hegemony on minorities. It would be difficult to argue the opposite point of view when faced with this:

      Article 9 – Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

      Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
      Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

      My point is that modern universal laws support difference rather than stifle it.

      Obviously, if both parties to a dispute wish to render themselves subject to a religious hierarchy, then so be it. However that religious dispute resolution process ought to be subject to EHCR, and other, standards.

    74. Peter Curtis — on 8th December, 2008 at 10:09 am  

      The application of Sharia rules to the actions or circumstances of any UK resident is unlawful under UK statute law.

      Sharia, as has been explained to me, is a system of rules, a consensus of the unified spirit of the Islamic fantasy ideology, based on the Qur’an (a religious text), hadith (stories about Muhammad and his companions) and centuries of debate, interpretation and judgements by Islamic clerics. It is predicated on the submission of the individual to the claimed divine ordinations of a despotic supernatural deity.

      Any acts by self-appointed proponents of ideologies predicated on peoples’ subservience to a despotic corporeal or supernatural entity directly contravene the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948), the European Convention on Human Rights and the UK’s Human Rights Act 1998. These legal constructs do not refer to the rights of gods, deities, mystical spirits, dead prophets, tooth fairies or any other supernatural entity. They refer exclusively to the rights of corporeal homo sapiens - the People.

      It is unlawful to bind any individual person involuntarily or voluntarily to an exclusive ideological or religious dogma predicated on the unsubstantiated divine authority of a despotic supernatural deity.

      The application of Sharia rules to the actions or circumstances of any UK resident is unlawful under UK statute.

    75. Sudden infant death syndrome (SID) — on 17th December, 2008 at 12:59 am  

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