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Maryam Namazie of One Law for All: "There is no place for sharia in Britain's legal system just as there is no place for it anywhere." (credit: Peter Curbishlie/Amnesty International)

The British legal system is rightly considered one of the fairest in the world. But with the growth of sharia law, a parallel system that is based on inequality and ancient religious doctrine, in towns and cities across the UK, that proud system could well be under threat.

The Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, is seeking to enshrine sharia within the British legal system. In March, the society discreetly published guidelines, distributed to all lawyers, to "assist solicitors who have been instructed to prepare a valid will, which follows sharia succession rules" while remaining valid under British law.

Feminist campaigners Southall Black Sisters (SBS) and the secularist organisation One Law for All (OLfA) mounted a legal challenge to the Law Society on the grounds that it contravened gender equality and human rights law. The Solicitor's Regulatory Authority (SRA) agreed to withdraw its endorsement of the practice note, but the Law Society refused to do so, arguing that "no equality and diversity implications" arose from the note. The campaigners are currently taking further legal advice on the question of whether solicitors acting on the practice note might be themselves acting unlawfully.

The guidelines penalise widows, non-believers and children born outside marriage. Illegitimate and adopted children are not sharia heirs. The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a sharia heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death.

All women are adversely affected by the implementation of sharia, as it perpetuates the notion that it is reasonable to privilege men over women for no reason other than they are born male. A number of feminist, secular and human rights organisations are challenging the creeping acceptance of sharia and speaking out against the non-Muslim cultural relativists who believe that allowing some forms of sharia to operate is good for cultural harmony.

Sharia courts or councils enjoy the support of a number of non-Muslim establishment figures, including the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams. In a 2008 interview he said: "There's a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law." It is estimated that there are currently around 85 sharia courts operating in Britain.

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January 13th, 2015
1:01 AM
Not true that adoptees do not inherit under sharia law. But they inherit from their biological parents, not their adoptive parents. I would actually prefer that over the way Westerners do adoption because they're rather like transsexuals in that way--reality is reality because I say it is reality, never mind what the actual facts are. Western adoption involves falsifying a legal document and forcing a mother to pretend she never birthed her child and the child to pretend genetic strangers are his or her parents. Islam doesn't allow that--and in the process also accidentally protects against incest and the disinheritance of children and the cutting off of adults from their genetic and medical history. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are undoubtedly Muslim tenets you would agree with, even as there are many you wouldn't.

December 20th, 2014
7:12 AM
And she is an anti Israeli, pro Palestinian communist.

October 15th, 2014
10:10 PM
Our politicians seem content to let the islamified Birmingham schools revert to type. The main parties want the muslim votes. They`ll betray Israel for muslim votes. They`ll betray civilisation for muslim votes. Are the party leaders happy to be used as useful idiots by uber rich Islam ? There`s no Kaffir- Infidels Party to vote for. The closest to this is unPC `shambolically british` UKIP. They weren`t expensively uneducated at Eton and Cambridge and don`t have dodgy Politics,Philosophy and Economics degrees either.

October 14th, 2014
12:10 PM
It's about time we said no to all so called religious based groups trying to get their interpretation on how to live your life spread over the wider populace. No one should be held at law to the whims of an imam deciding what Mohammed would have thought on a particular topic. The Koran (and the rest of the religious texts were all written many many centuries ago and other than tenents like don't kill people (of whatever religion) not just fakirs, have no relevance today. It's about time we just said no to all religion and its insidious ways.

October 10th, 2014
11:10 PM
What has been said is that this is the way that Islams want to Islamisise Europe and also America. Because with our laws we will let it happen.

October 9th, 2014
11:10 PM
The recent Sun front page muslim woman wearing a union jack flag will be duplicated by muslim women in Israel draping themselves in the Israeli flag? Inna from Femen is more precise in the Huffington Post (7/10/14)`Islam Is Peace`- But Islam is Also Isis. It looks like Polyglot5 is right too.

October 8th, 2014
9:10 AM
Siddiqi is quick to resort to taqqya - strategy of lying to westerners in order to project a heavily sugar-coated image of Islam and shari'a. Don't believe a word of his mansplaining.

September 29th, 2014
1:09 PM
Presumably MAT has a list of women it has successfully helped in the past 35 years and they can be contacted to verify Shaykh Siddiqi`s claims ? And Shaykh Siddiqi is happy with the sharia divorce fee of £200 for men and £400 for women ? Does Shaykh S think muslim women deserve better than sharia law ? Or is he actually advocating it ? It`s handy for our intelligence services to know for sure who`s advocating sharia in this country.

Shaykh Siddiqi
September 26th, 2014
7:09 PM
You have reported inaccurately the fact that the 6 women withdrew their complaint to the police. In fact they had not reported the matter to the police and were encouraged by MAT in the first instance to report the matter to the domestic violence officer at the local police station. The women showed clear reluctance to do so as they clearly stated that this would not resolve their problem but create a whole myriad of problems and ultimately end the marriage. They stated that the police and the Social Services and/or most DV charities were inept and incapable of resolving their problems but contacting them would only cause the demise of their marriage. They approached MAT as it is the only organisation in the country that is capable of and has for the last 35 years helped women especially and sometimes men to eliminate any form of violence within the relationship and to maintain a healthy future with their spouses. Thus Julie Bindel is invited to first properly investigate the facts rather than misstate the truth. Please amend your article accordingly.

September 25th, 2014
11:09 PM
£200 for a man to divorce and £400 for a woman. And available on every muslim doorstep. Cheap cowboy-Islamic capitalism. And Michael Gove and David Cameron are saying/doing nothing ? Sending jets to bomb scumbag Islamic State abroad but actually ignoring the women victims here/home front and cutting funding to womens refuges ? !

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