Thinking Anglicans

A bill to curb Sharia law in the UK

A Private Member’s Bill has been introduced into the House of Lords by Baroness Cox entitled Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill.

To make further provision about arbitration and mediation services and the
application of equality legislation to such services; to make provision about
the protection of victims of domestic abuse; and for connected purposes.

The full text of the bill is available as a PDF file, and there are also explanatory notes.

Some news reports:

Guardian Bill limiting sharia law is motivated by ‘concern for Muslim women’

Telegraph Plans to curb influence of sharia courts to be unveiled

This bill has won support from an improbable alliance of lobbying groups:

Andrew Brown explains, in The state cannot curb sharia law alone.

A bill to limit the scope of courts is laudable, but sharia law’s discriminatory aspects must be undermined by Muslims.

He writes:

…What is politically interesting about this is that it represents an alliance of Christians and atheists along with what one might call normal secularists who just dislike institutionalised sexism and exploitation. The campaign against sharia law has long been confined to a leftwing atheist ghetto. Cox has broken it out of that. It’s to the credit of both parties that Keith Porteous Wood of the National Secular Society appeared next to an American Christian missionary at the launch of the bill yesterday.

There’s no doubt that the bill will be used by some people to stir up distrust and hatred of Muslims. But I don’t think that is in itself a good enough reason to oppose it. What it does is to make explicit the fact that Islam is practised like any other religion in Britain, under the rules that parliament makes…

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Richard Ashby
Richard Ashby
12 years ago

Andrew Brown – ‘British secular law must take precedence over religious dictates’.

What a good idea. Perhaps we could now have the abolition of the exemptions granted to religious bodies from Human Rights and Equalities legislation.

12 years ago

Treating people equally doesn’t mean treating all people the same.

As with the burqa debate in France and Belgium, this discourse seems to be dominated by concerned non-Muslims presuming to speak on behalf of Muslim women. I’d be more interested to hear what Muslim women who use so-called “Shari’a tribunals” think about them, but the media seems to be no more interested in them than are the swivel-eyed Christian and atheist ideologues.

H. E. Baber
12 years ago

Treating people euqally doesn’t meant treating all people the same–but it does mean treating people the same if they are, in relevant respects, the same. When it comes to the kind of “family law” issues shari’a courts were supposed to handle–inheritance, child custody, divorce–Muslim women are the same as any other women. As far as asking them goes, when shari’a courts were proposed in Canada a couple of years ago it was Muslim women that blocked the program. Please show me some Muslim women who believe that their testimony should be worth half of a man’s testimony or that their… Read more »

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