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Thread: Sharia law SHOULD be used in Britain, says UK's top judge

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    Default Sharia law SHOULD be used in Britain, says UK's top judge

    Sharia law SHOULD be used in Britain, says UK's top judge


    By Steve Doughty
    Last updated at 8:07 PM on 03rd July 2008

    Explosive: The Lord Chief Justice's endorsement of Sharia law has already created huge controversy.


    The most senior judge in England tonight gave his blessing to the use of sharia law to resolve disputes among Muslims.

    Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips said that Islamic legal principles could be employed to deal with family and marital arguments and to regulate finance.

    He declared: 'It is possible in this country for those who are entering into a contractual agreement to agree that the agreement shall be governed by a law other than English law.'

    In his speech in an East London mosque Lord Phillips signalled approval of sharia principles as a means of settling disputes so long as no punishments that conflict with the established law are involved, and as long as divorces are made to comply with the civil law.

    But his remarks - which give the green light from the highest judicial office to the informal sharia courts already operated by numerous mosques - provoked a storm of criticism.

    Lawyers warned that family and marital disputes settled by sharia could leave women or vulnerable people at a serious disadvantage.

    Tories said that equality under the law must be respected and warned that outcomes incompatible with English law should never be enforceable.

    Lord Phillips spoke five months after Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams surrounded himself in controversy with a lecture in which he suggested Islamic law could have official status and that it could govern marital law, financial transactions and arbitration in disputes.

    The Lord Chief Justice said today of the Archbishop's views: 'It was not very radical to advocate embracing sharia law in the context of family disputes.'

    He added that there was 'widespread misunderstanding as to the nature of sharia law'.

    Lord Phillips said: 'Those who in this country are in dispute as to their respective rights are free to subject that dispute to the mediation of a chosen person, or to agree that the dispute shall be resolved by a chosen arbitrator.

    'There is no reason why principles of sharia law or any other religious code should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution.'

    Lord Phillips said that any sanctions must be 'drawn from the laws of England and Wales'. Severe physical punishment - he mentioned stoning, flogging or the cutting off of hands - was 'out of the question' in Britain, he said.

    'So far as aspects of matrimonial law are concerned, there is a limited precedent for English law to recognise aspects of religious laws, although when it comes to divorce this can only be effected in accordance with the civil law of this country,' he said.


    The Sharia Council of Britain: (from right to left) Dr Suhaib Hasan, Maulana Abu Sayeed and Mr Mufti Barabatullah preside over marriage cases at their headquarters earlier this year

    The signal of approval for voluntary sharia tribunals brought protests from lawyers who fear that in some Islamic communities women do not have a full and equal say and that they could be disadvantaged in supposedly voluntary sharia arrangements.

    Barrister and human rights specialist John Cooper said: 'There should be one law by which everyone is held to account.

    'I have considerable concerns that well-crafted and carefully designed laws in this country, drawn up to protect both parties including the weak and vulnerable party in matrimonial break-ups could be compromised.

    'I have concerns over a system of law that may cause one party to be disadvantaged.'

    Resolution, the organisation of family law solicitors, said people should govern their lives in accordance with religious principles 'provided that those beliefs and traditions do not contradict the fundamental principle of equality on which this country’s laws are based.'

    Spokesman Teresa Richardson said religious law 'must be used to find solutions which are consistent with the basic principles of family law in this country and people must always have redress to the civil courts where they so choose.'

    Robert Whelan of the Civitas think tank said: 'Everybody is governed by English law and it is not possible to sign away your legal rights.

    Under fire: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. His comments on Sharia sparked a political storm.


    'That is why guarantees on consumer products always have to tell customers their statutory rights are not affected.

    'There is not much doubt that in traditional Islamic communities women do not enjoy the freedoms that women in this country have had for 100 years or more.

    'It is very easy to put pressure on young women in a male-dominated household.

    'The English law stands to protect people from intimidation in such circumstances.'

    Tories warned that principles of equality under the law must be respected.

    Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: 'The Lord Chief Justice correctly points out that there is a tradition in this country of allowing mediation to take place subject to other legal principles as long as it is voluntary and not subject to coercion, and with outcomes which are not fundamentally incompatible with our own legal principles.

    'Any that are incompatible cannot and should never be enforceable.

    'One of the key aspects of our free society in Britain is equality under our own laws. It is important that this should be understood and respected by all in our country.'

    A spokesman for Jack Straw's Ministry of Justice said: 'English law, which is based on our shared values of equality and a respect for the rule of law, takes precedence over any other legal system.

    'The Government has no intention of changing this position. Alongside this it is possible for other dispute resolution systems on matters of civil law to be accommodated, so long as they are not in conflict with the laws of England and Wales and are abided by on a voluntary basis.'

    BRIEFING: SHARIA LAW
    • Sharia law is based on the Koran, on associated teaching about the life of the Prophet Mohammed, and on the judgements of Islamic clerics and lawyers down the centuries.
    • It is in essence a set of religious principles by which Muslims are required to live. Sharia is interpreted and enforced differently in different countries across the Islamic world.
    • Islamic law is often regarded as having four parts: how Muslims should worship; commerce; crime and punishment; and marriage and divorce.
    • Sharia says forbidden behaviour, like drinking alcohol and taking drugs, or adultery, should be punished. Islamic scholars say the Koran sets down punishments such as lashes or stoning for adultery.
    • Sharia law also permits behaviour not allowed by English law, for examply polygamy, which in some jurisdictions says men may have up to four wives.
    • In Britain, sharia courts are often operated by mosques. Muslim families come to sharia courts for justice and agree to be bound by their rulings.
    • They have no formal legal status.
    • There are around 1.6 million British Muslims, most of whom are of Pakistani origin. The strongest Muslim communities are in London, especially in the East London borough of Tower Hamlets where Lord Phillips spoke yesterday, Birmingham, Yorkshire and Lancashire.
    • Orthodox Jews operate Beth Din courts which are subordinate to the civil law and which decide issues among 180,000 people according to ancient Jewish law. They are regulated by the Chief Rabbi. A divorcing Jewish couple first divorce in the civil courts, then come to the Beth Din tribunals for religious judgement.
    • The only religious courts in England with full and official legal status are the consistory courts and tribunals which decide disputes and disciplinary matters in the Church of England.





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    Here's what I think: if Muslims don't want to follow the British legal system, they can GO HOME.

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    way to sign the death warrant for your country.

    You really think they'll stop at keeping it between themselveS? the crazies will be throwing acid on anybody who doesnt fit to what they think they should be.

    Stupid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Incognito View Post
    In his speech in an East London mosque Lord Phillips signalled approval of sharia principles as a means of settling disputes so long as no punishments that conflict with the established law are involved, and as long as divorces are made to comply with the civil law.
    Doesn't it say here that Sharia law can be used as long as it doesn't interfere with British law? Or am I reading it wrong?

    Isn't this kind of thing already going on worldwide where churches mediate disputes and dole out punishments (anyone do a rosary lately?) without worry that it might interfere with the countries laws? Or is that only okay for Christian religions?

    Personally I'm not on comfy terms with any religion but I recognize that my right to believe what I want is just as important as someone else's right to believe in their sky fairy or alien of choice. So if someone chooses to belong to a religion that has strict laws they can suck it up and live by those laws or practice another religion. No different than choosing which country you want to live in (don't like the laws? leave!).

    And it's not like this ruling effects anyone other than those practicing that religion. And even then they're still protected by the laws of the country.

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    Fuck Sharia Law And Islamicists!!!!
    Don't slap me, cause I'm not in the mood!

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    Quote Originally Posted by purple rain View Post
    Here's what I think: if Muslims don't want to follow the British legal system, they can GO HOME.
    I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by western View Post
    And it's not like this ruling effects anyone other than those practicing that religion. And even then they're still protected by the laws of the country.
    But what about vulnerable people like women, children, the elderly, etc.? They may be protected by British law, but that doesn't mean that they still won't be fucked over by this. A lot of times they're too afraid to involve the authorities. Look for honor killings to skyrocket in western Europe over the next decade. We're even getting them in the US. Doesn't do the vulnerable much good when they're dead.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    way to sign the death warrant for your country.

    You really think they'll stop at keeping it between themselveS? the crazies will be throwing acid on anybody who doesnt fit to what they think they should be.

    Stupid.
    I told you. In the UK and most of Western Europe the lunatics are taking over the asylum.
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    Slippery slope. In no time,Queen Elizabeth will be wearing a pink burka.
    Just once,I wouls love to see Judge Judy or Judge Wapner in that getup!
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    I told you. In the UK and most of Western Europe the lunatics are taking over the asylum.
    You're 100% right; that's the impression I got after spending years there. It's crazy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by purple rain View Post
    Here's what I think: if Muslims don't want to follow the British legal system, they can GO HOME.
    Exactly!! This idea is crazy and disgusting. No way should they allow this so called law.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    way to sign the death warrant for your country.

    You really think they'll stop at keeping it between themselveS? the crazies will be throwing acid on anybody who doesnt fit to what they think they should be.

    Stupid.
    Damn, right! I don't understand this appeasement toward backward ideas that will regress the country to oblivion.

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