Undercover filming in some of the 85 councils operating in mosques and houses across the country has revealed that the courts, which are run by sharia councils, are ruling in favour of men meeting estranged wives or having access to children when they have found to have been abusive.
Sharia law has no formal place in any of Britain’s legal systems. However, the investigation found courts in London which follow it were making rulings on domestic and marital issues according to Islamic law which appeared at odds with English family law.
Although they are not legally binding, those who were subject to the rulings them felt they had to follow them as a matter of religious belief – or because they felt under pressure from family and community to do so.
In one case filmed by a BBC reporter for the Panorama documentary, an Islamic scholar from a sharia council ruled in a custody dispute that the children should be taken away from their mother and be placed with their reportedly violent father.
“Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband's] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.”
Yeah, Allah is so exalted and grand, for telling men that they are superior to women and can beat them if they disobey! Sounds to me like Allah is a misogynist.
A young woman was facially disfigured and almost lost her eyesight in a horrific unprovoked acid attack on the streets of London.
Naomi Oni, 20, was on her way home from work when an unknown attacker dressed in a niqab threw a chemical substance at her leaving the retail assistant with severe burns on her head, neck, arms, legs and body.
These shocking images have now been released by Ms Oni in an appeal for help to catch the attacker whose identity was concealed behind the Muslim women’s dress which completely covers the face apart from the eyes.
Ms Oni, who is employed by Victoria’s Secret at the Westfield Stratford shopping centre, was five minutes from home in Dagenham, east London when she was attacked on December 30.
The 20-year-old was only released from Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford last weekend after spending almost a month receiving skin grafts and specialist treatment in the hospital’s burns unit.
Doctors initially warned Ms Oni that she may not be able to see again and although she can now see out of her left eye she still only has partial vision in her right eye.
Police are investigating reports a gang claiming to be Islamic vigilantes have been confronting members of the public and demanding they give up alcohol and women cover their flesh in their ‘Muslim area’. The hooded men, who call themselves Muslim Patrol, have been filmed walking London’s streets and calling white women ‘naked animals with no self respect.’
The group is also shown taking ‘evil’ booze from revellers and film a cyclist being treated after a road accident, claiming they were injured because they were unclean.
In one exchange a member of the group says: ‘We don’t care if you are appalled at all’, before calling themselves ‘vigilantes implementing Islam upon your own necks’.
They have uploaded videos to their YouTube channel with the most recent three-minute clip causing a stir online. ‘The Truth About Saturday Night’, which was uploaded on Sunday, has already been viewed more than 42,000 times.
An unemployed and homeless man beat his sister-in-law with a dumbbell bar and cut her throat leaving her to bleed to death in the arms of her young children – out of shame at his lack of ‘status’ in the community.
Foyez Ahmed, 31, flew into a rage and beat 38-year-old Razu Khan before slashing her throat with a kitchen knife, severing her wind pipe and blood vessels, and fleeing the family home.
He was starting a life sentence in jail today, ordered to serve a minimum 22 year prison term at Manchester Crown Court after pleading guilty to murder.
Bangladeshi Ahmed, who had no job, no money, no home and no prospect of marriage, had tried to ‘calm himself down’ by consulting the Koran, but ‘lost it’ after believing that Mrs Khan had laughed at him.
Three of Mrs Khan’s four children and her 13-year-old niece were upstairs when Ahmed attacked her and were alerted to what had happened by her screams.
Her 13-year-old daughter held her hand as she lay dying on the sofa while her 17-year-old son tried in vain to revive her.
The murder of the teenager Shafilea Ahmed is likely to stand out in British history as a particularly gruesome example of what we now refer to as “honour killings”. Shafilea had warned that her parents were trying to marry her off to Pakistan; others knew she had sustained injuries from beatings by her parents; she had even tried to commit suicide in Pakistan. But right until the end, her own life was fated to be out of her control – she went missing in 2003 and her dismembered body was found a year later.
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It took eight years for the murderers of the Sikh woman Surjit Athwal – her own husband and mother-in-law – to be brought to justice in 2007. It took ten years for Mehmet Goren to be jailed, in 2009, for murdering his daughter Tulay, because she fell in love with an older man of a different Muslim sect. Last year Gurmeet Singh Ubhi was found guilty of murdering his 24 year old daughter Amrit because the Sikh girl was dating a white man. There are others too – Heshu Yones, Banaz Mahmod, Nuziat Khan – the list of women murdered in the UK over their “honour” is depressingly long.
Any decent person would be angry and sad when presented with these names. But it isn’t enough to be sad: we have become complicit in this epidemic of abuse and violence by not doing more to challenge it. This should be a left-wing cause célèbre but instead there is an embarrassed silence. Left-wing activists robustly challenge racism and homophobia – so why isn’t more being done to stand up to this social evil?
[ . . . ]
In the past, most left-wing intellectuals and activists avoided the issue of cultural integration for good reason: it was usually a code-word for assimilation and conjured up images of whites telling others their way of life was inferior. But caught between attacks from the right on multiculturalism, and worries that speaking out would look racist, we have become paralysed. Meanwhile, these problems are set to get worse as more second and third generation children of immigrants come of age.
The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (Ikwro) found last year that 39 out of 52 police forces across the UK had recorded at least 2,823 “honour” attacks over 2010. Some forces showed a jump of nearly 50 per cent in such cases from 2009.
More and more cab firms are springing up around the country to cater for women who prefer to see another female at the wheel. Even in a licensed cab, there is often a niggle at the back of any female passenger’s mind: will I get home in one piece? While the vast majority of male taxi drivers are of course completely safe, many women simply feel less vulnerable with a female driver. And it’s not only women who prefer a woman behind the wheel.
Maggie Hennessy, who runs the women-only taxi firm London Lady Chauffeurs, says: “A lot of our business comes from husbands who want to make sure their wives are OK, especially in the evenings.”
Blogger Daniel Greenfield comments on this new service to women:
To understand the rise of female cabbies and female taxi firms in the UK, one need only look at stories like these.
Zahoor Mahmood, aged 40, was described as a ‘sexual predator’ when he was jailed yesterday for sexually assaulting two women he picked up on nights out in Sheffield. The father-of-four, who worked for City Taxis, attacked both women within three weeks last summer.
Atiq Rehman, 20, spotted his 22-year-old victim leaving a club and tricked her into thinking he was a taxi driver. He then lured her into the back room of a corner shop and attacked her on a mattress for 45 minutes.
Taxi driver Larasab Hussain, 46, sexually assaulted a 15-year-old after she had been repeatedly abused by two other men.
Ibrahim Selman went on the run to the Sudan days after holding a female passenger hostage, repeatedly raping her and leaving her for dead in the street. Now one of his victims is demanding an investigation into how Selman managed to get the licence which allowed him to operate a private hire taxi in Edinburgh.
Mazhar Rashid, 43, tied breeze blocks around Emma Ewart’s body and put a plastic bag over her head before leaving her in a Bedworth Canal last May.
A Taxi driver kidnapped and sexually assaulted a female passenger in an hour-long ride of terror, a court heard. Mohammed Saddique told his 23-year-old passenger he thought she was “up for anything”.
A taxi driver from the Black Country has been jailed for 10 years after raping a 12-year-old schoolgirl. Mohammed Yunis was told he had “ruined” the victim and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
A forced marriage occurs when an individual is forced, coerced, threatened, or tricked to marry without her informed consent.
In many cultures, it is customary for families to arrange meetings between their children in the hopes of fostering a voluntary relationship that will lead to a marriage. In such situations, while the initial meetings are arranged by the families and a marriage is encouraged, the ultimate decision regarding whether to marry remains with the couple and the choice to marry is strictly voluntary. In contrast, in a forced marriage, an individual is threatened and/or coerced by her family to enter into the marriage against her will and may suffer honor violence if she resists or refuses the marriage.
Does this happen in the United States?
Yes. Although this is generally treated as a private family matter that remains hidden from public view, there are numerous reports of girls being taken out of school in the United States in their early teenage years and returned to their parents’ home countries to be forcibly married. For example, in 2007, the New York Daily News reported that a number of girls were being forced to return to Pakistan to marry men chosen by their families. One woman recalled being tricked and drugged before being put on a plane to Pakistan and, once there, being forced at gunpoint to acquiesce to a marriage to a man chosen by her father.
The Tahirih Justice Center released survey results in September of 2011 that found as many as 3,000 known or suspected cases of forced marriage within immigrant communities in the United States in the two years preceding the survey. We believe the actual number of forced marriage cases in the United States to be much higher, as the survey was directed towards service providers and other professionals. Many more existing cases are likely hidden from the view of officials.
The United Kingdom has set up a hotline specifically to handle cases of forced marriage. In 2010, there were 1,735 cases of forced marriage reported to the hotline. Of those victims, 131 were British citizens who were rescued after having been taken to Pakistan for marriage against their will.
In May this year an e-petition demanding an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) in Britain was submitted to the UK Government website. I was lead author of that petition, which can be viewed here.
Well over 20,000, perhaps 25,000, under-age British girls are thought to be subjected to, or at serious risk of, FGM every year, so we might expect that a petition seeking to stop it would be accepted by the government, as encouragement to action and greater awareness.
But no. The petition was, after a full week of waiting, rejected without explanation. It took another month or more of insistent emails to discover why.
Rulings 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.”