Sharia or Women’s Rights in Britain?

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Girl with nose cut offRulings by informal religious “councils” and tribunals are sometimes no more “consensual” than rape, peers were told. The warnings came in the first ever full Parliamentary debate on the subject in the UK.

Baroness Cox, the independent peer and Third World campaigner, last year tabled a private member’s bill in the Lords setting out plans to rein in a network of unofficial self-styled “courts” which apply Islamic principles.

One study estimated that there are around 85 Sharia bodies operating in Britain, although there is no official estimate. They include legally recognised arbitration tribunals, set up primarily to resolve financial disputes using Islamic legal principles but which have taken on a wider range of cases.

There is also a network of informal Sharia “councils”, often operating out of mosques, dealing with religious divorces and even child custody matters in line with Islamic teaching.

The bill, which had its first full debate yesterday, would make it a criminal offence for such bodies to style themselves as courts or those chairing them to pose as judges.

It would also limit the activities of arbitration tribunals and explicitly require them to uphold equality laws including women’s rights.

Baroness Cox told the House of cases she had encountered including a woman who had been admitted to hospital by her violent husband who had left her for another woman but still denied her a religious divorce so she could remarry.

Another woman was forced to travel to Jordan to seek permission to remarry from a seven-year-old boy whom she had never met because she had no other male relatives, she said.

A third who came to see her was so scared of being seen going in that she hid behind a tree whole another told her: “I feel betrayed by Britain, I came to this country to get away from all this but the situation is worse here than in my country of origin.”

Baroness Cox said: “These examples are just the tip of an iceberg as many women live in fear, so intimidated by family and community that they dare not speak out or ask for help.”

Read the rest here.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9621319/Sharia-courts-as-consensual-as-rape-House-of-Lords-told.html  (h/t to NewEnglishReview) http://www.newenglishreview.org

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About Asma Marwan

The Story of the Poetess Asma bint [daughter of] Marwan and her Death * There was a poetess [in Medina] who wrote a poem against Mohammed and his new way of life, Islam. Mohammed said, “Who will rid me of Marwan’s daughter?” One of his followers heard him and on that very night went to the woman’s home and killed her. The assassin was able to do the work in the dark as the woman slept. Her other children lay in the room, but her babe lay on her breast. The stealthy assassin removed the child and drove the knife into her with such force that he pinned her to the bed. In the morning, he went to Mohammed and told him [what he’d done]. Mohammed said, “You have helped Allah and his Apostle.” When asked about the consequences, Mohammed said, “Two goats won’t butt their heads together over this.” Mohammed turned to the people in the mosque. He said, “If you wish to see a man who has assisted Allah and his Prophet, look ye here.” Omar cried, “What, the blind Omeir?” “No,” said Mohammed, “call him Omeir the Seeing.” * from the Sira (the life of Mohammed) Source Texts Guillaume, A. 1955. The Life of Mohammad: A Translation of Bin Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah Oxford: Oxford University Press, page 996. Muir, Sir William. 1923. The Life of Mohammad: From Original Sources Edinburgh: Reprint, John Grant, page 239.

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