Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sharia Law in the UK

No Hair do’s here, serious stuff this time…

I have not done politics here so far, and to be honest I am not too sure what political pigeonhole I should be in anyway. I don’t think I fit any of them neatly, but this I feel needs a comment.

Maybe it will turn out to be a mistake. Maybe I will need a Hard hat this time…

It turns out the UK government has recently officially, but quietly, sanctioned Sharia courts in the UK.

I guess this has been even easier to keep quiet than usual, what with all the problems with the stock market and recession. It certainly seems to have mostly slipped by the public consciousness.

Well if you didn’t notice it I can tell you there are now Sharia Courts in the UK that can give rulings which are enforceable with the full power of the British legal system, through County, and High Court.

Now, right now you can’t just be summonsed to appear before one. You have to agree to submit a dispute to one, but once anyone does…

I find this whole idea quite disturbing. I expect you may be thinking. Well why not? Isn't it a cultural thing?

Ok I must say now, I am not an expert on Sharia Law, I do know somethings about it though. If there is one thing I am pretty sure about, women sure tend to come off second best under it. A Woman’s word counts for less under it.

Imagine trying to get custody in a divorce under Sharia Law. I think maybe ‘Fathers for Justice’ might get a bit of a raw deal, but this would be turning the tables way too far back the other way.

I figure Sharia law is biased against females and the uk Government should not be tacit in allowing, or promoting something that is biased against females. To use a modern term you can argue Sharia Courts/Law are/is institutionally sexist.

The way society looks at things these days I figure you could even go so far as to say it might be viewed as racist to allow it, given that overwhelming majority of any females to “voluntarily” submit themselves to this institution in the UK will probably see themselves as Asian. It is these women who will be overwhelmingly subject to it.

The government insists it is sexist to have clubs that treat the sexes differently. It is illegal to discriminate against females at work.

I am pretty sure you could bet that there is no way the government would have given such an institution a second's thought if it were not tying to placate what amount to volatile reactionary religious feelings.

I am sure there are some out there who would say women can’t manage for themselves, for whatever reasons. That they need the guidance of wiser male heads. There are probably people who would try to say I am racist, or islamophobic, or something, for even making the points I have. I honestly don’t think I am. To me this looks like letting a religious group get away with treating women unfairly.

We have a legal system that may not be perfect, but one we are constantly trying to make sure is unbiased, fair and honest and good for everyone. We have fought for equal rights for women for a long time, some might say we are not quite there yet.

Surely officially authorising these courts is a step backwards?


Crushed said...

I suppose in principle I disagree, because generally I disagree with secular courts following religious/idelogical agendas.

After all, I'm Catholic but I doubt I could refuse to appear before a divorce court and argue that the Vatican had said no divorce would be legally binding.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like Sharia law, why not move to a country that doesn't have it? Nobody is forcing you to stay.

Dr.John said...

I don't think it is good for any country to have more than one legal system.

jmb said...

You will not get one word of disagreement from me Moggs. This is the thin edge of the wedge. Divorce is a legal matter in the UK and as such everyone should be treated equally under the one law.

Rositta said...

I have written about sharia law frequently on my blog since it was seriously discussed here in Ontario. For a while it looked like we would also get this repressive law. It has been put aside for now but it wouldn't surprise me if our liberal provincial government somehow slips it through sometime in the future...ciao

Ian Lidster said...

I am as disturbed by this as are you and it chills me to think there are those in Canada who think it would be just a swell idea for us. For heaven's sake, British Common Law and their systen of jurisprudence, as flawed as it might be, is still the watershed legal system for the democratic countries of the world.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

Well most comments seem to broadly agree with my point. I agree with Dr John, I think generally one system is probably best.

Crushed, I am not sure if you are agreeing or not, it seems a bit ambiguous.

Anon, Not sure if that is a tongue in cheek deconstruction of rabid tabloidism, or serious. If serious then I had the good sense ^_^ to be born in a country that didn’t have Sharia law. Those that desperately want to live under it have plenty of countries that only have it they can move to, if they want it.

Personally I suspect that one of the attractions of the UK for many who had lived under Sahria Law, especially women, was that it didn’t have it.

benjibopper said...

The irony is that a lot of the women in the cultural groups arguing for Sharia law are the same women who have the most to lose under it. But are Islamic women themselves pushing for Sharia law, or are they along for the ride? I have absolutely no problem with multiple systems of law under one nation. Canada has separate 'subsystems' in place in certain cases involving First Nations people, with good reason. But in this case this separate system seems to do more harm than good in the UK.

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

I figure if a person is told stuff, is so from a young age they will believe it. Also I guess you could have something like Stockholm syndrome come into effect.

I find it difficult to believe that women who support Sharia law don't fall into a group like that.