Total Pageviews

Friday, June 10, 2011


‘Sharia is inherently unequal in its treatment of men and women.’
      Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali was the main speaker in the House of Lords in support of a new Bill intended to outlaw the use of Sharia law where it conflicts with English law in discriminating against women and non-Muslims.
      The Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill was introduced on June 7 by Baroness Cox, who said:
      ‘I am deeply concerned about the treatment of Muslim women by Sharia Courts. Equality under the law is a core value of British justice. My Bill seeks to stop parallel legal, or ‘quasi-legal’, systems taking root in our nation. Cases of criminal law and family law are matters reserved for our English courts alone.
      ‘I want to make it perfectly clear in the law that discrimination against women shall not be allowed. We must do all that we can to make sure they are free from any coercion, intimidation or unfairness.’
      Adding his support, Bishop Michael said:
‘People in this country are free to practise whatever faith they have. But at the same time we have a very long tradition of people being equal under the law. The problem with Sharia is that it is inherently unequal for certain kinds of people. Muslims and non-Muslims are treated unequally. Similarly, men and women are treated unequally, so if Sharia is recognised in any way in terms of the public law in this country, that introduces a principle of contradiction in the body of the law which will cause problems for the country and for people who will suffer, particularly women.
      ‘It is often suggested that Sharia family law should be recognised in terms of public law. Well, what would happen if it were to be recognised? Bigamy is still a crime in this country. Would it then be only a crime for some, or for all? Equality before the law is immediately compromised.
      Divorce: the parties to divorce in this country are treated equally. Not so in Sharia law, where the man's position remains dominant.
      Custody of children: the Law Lords at one of their last sittings ruled that the question of the custody of children violates a woman's fundamental freedoms, as far as Sharia law is concerned.
      ‘The laws of inheritance are unequal. The laws of evidence are unequal. What all of this does is to cause suffering to people, particularly, but not only to women, and we need to make sure that people have free access to the courts and equal protection from the state, as far as their fundamental rights are concerned.'
+ Michael Nazir-Ali
June 9 2011

No comments: