Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Disorder in Shariah Courts

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Disorder in Shariah Courts

Article excerpt

LONDON -- Set aside for a moment the violent incidents associated with people claiming to act under authority of their Islamic faith and consider instead what passes for normalcy.

Some in Britain would like to elevate to the level of wide-scale acceptance Sharia law, an Islamic legal system predicated on the religious tenets of Islam. "A number of Sharia councils operate in the UK to offer resolution to disputes," writes The Express, but currently "they have no jurisdiction in criminal matters." Not yet. There is a campaign underway to make a UK suburb Britain's Sharia- law zone.

"Former archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sparked controversy in 2008 when he suggested it was 'inevitable' elements of Sharia would be incorporated in British law," according to the Express. Would this mean in the near future Sharia law could run parallel and equal to UK law? Sharia has an abysmal record when it comes to treatment of women.

London's Mayor Boris Johnson called the idea of Sharia law in Britain "absolutely unacceptable." He is joined in his rejection by Home Secretary Theresa May, who has proposed a review into Sharia courts.

The Independent recently published a story revealing a parallel system of Islamic justice, which the writer says condemns many British women to "marital captivity," while failing to protect them from domestic violence.

Leiden University scholar Machteld Zee, writes The Independent, managed to obtain unusual access to secretive Sharia courts. After attending 15 hours of hearings at the Islamic Sharia Council in Leyton and the Birmingham Central Mosque, Zee reviewed more than a dozen cases.

According to The Independent, some of her findings included:

- A case where a woman who claimed to be married to a physically and verbally abusive man is told by a "laughing" judge: "Why did you marry such a person? …

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