UK: Enquiry into Shari’a Courts ‘Racist’ & ‘Islamophobic’

‘Islamophobic’:

A word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons.

Labour MP: ‘Support’ Sharia Courts and Scrap ‘Racist’ Government Inquiry

A Labour MP has said a long-awaited government inquiry into Britain’s sharia courts is ‘Islamophobic’ and should be dropped, proposing the religious legal system should be offered state ‘support’.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday’s launch of the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry Naz Shah, who will give evidence, argued the courts were “complimentary” to British law and were simply “under-resourced”.

She also claimed members of the Muslim community had said they thought the inquiry was “Islamophobic and racist”.

Continued below the fold.
Sharia law being administered in shop basements, MPs told

From the Telegraph

Unofficial and unregulated Sharia law bodies are operating “everywhere in the country” preforming marriages and handing out divorces, the head of a body set up to standardise the administration of Islamic law in the UK has told MPs.

Dr Ahmad Al-Dubayan, chairman of UK Board of Sharia Councils, based in Regent’s Park Mosque in London, said it was impossible to know how many so-called sharia “councils” are operating in Britain. But in some cases self-styled sharia authorities are operating out of small shops “maybe hidden in the basement or somewhere”, he said.

Several witnesses repeatedly rejected the word “courts” insisting on referring to them as sharia councils.

Supporters of sharia bodies insisted banning them altogether would simply lead to more “backstreet” panels springing up, often charging higher fees to provide a religious divorce.

Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, who was herself forced into marriage at the age of 15, insisted during the meeting that many Muslim women, including some in abusive relationships, found Sharia councils a valuable source of help. She warned against “throwing the baby out with the bath water” and said many Muslim communities felt that calls to ban sharia bodies had an “air of Islamophobia”.

Dr Al-Dubayan said his board already had around 15 members affiliated but could not “force” others to join.

“And by the way we don’t know how many councils there are,” he added. Some people talk about 80 or 30 or 50, I don’t know…”

He added properly organised sharia bodies were essential to draw Muslims away from self-styled religious authorities.

“When they see you are well organised they will come to you,” he said. “They will not go to these small shops who are doing marriage and divorce, maybe hidden in the basement or somewhere.”

Speaking about discrimination against women, he said he could think of only two or three cases which had been said to be unfair out of “hundreds” handled by sharia councils. He added: “There are those small [bodies] who call themselves councils but we as the UK Board don’t even recognise they are councils: …”

Continued:

Muslim women for shari’a

The MP’s intervention comes as more than 100 Muslim women, lead by the Muslim Women’s Network UK, called for the inquiry to be shut down, arguing it would treat women like “political footballs”.

Ms. Shah, the MP for Bradford West, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There are issues with Sharia councils, usually they’re under-resourced, there’s not that professional standard.

“What we need to be doing is supporting the Sharia councils. Sharia councils sometimes are last resorts, where people have lost legal aid, we’ve had austerity kicking in and the courts don’t want to deal with small disputes.

“So they [Sharia courts] can act as a complimentary arbitration service but what we need to be careful of is that whether they are discriminating against women and that is where the issue lies.”

The MP conceded that British law should take precedence over any Sharia rulings and admitted the courts could be used to “oppress” women, but added:

“However, we need to be clear that we have to look at issues because my measuring yardstick is one woman who suffers discrimination is one too many and so we have to be really balanced in what we’re looking at here, so I welcome the inquiry.”

Back in May of this year, as she announced the inquiry, then-Home Secretary Theresa May also claimed Muslims in Britain “benefit greatly” from Sharia law.

Over the weekend, it was reported that evidence submitted to the committee claimed that one of the UK’s leading sharia courts “protects wife-beating suspects by sabotaging criminal proceedings against them”.

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