Islamic Sharia law in the UK, which has recently been given the backing by the government, is now operating in 5 Sharia courts in London, Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester and Nuneaton.
Guest Post by David Booth Christian People’s Alliance
Islamic Sharia law in the UK, which has recently been given the backing by the government, is now operating in 5 Sharia courts in London, Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester and Nuneaton. The rulings of these courts are now enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, either through the Country Courts or the High Court. A further two courts are believed to be planned for Glasgow and Edingburgh. Previously, the Sharia courts rulings could not be enforced, but this has now been granted by the government.
The Sharia courts are now ruling on cases ranging from divorce to financial disputes or domestic violence.
According to the The Sunday Times, Sept 14, 2008,
“Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the courts, said he had taken advantage of a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996.”
This move follows Archbishop of Canterbury’s public statement, suggesting that the establishment of sharia in the future “seems unavoidable” in Britain.”
Should the UK be concerned about this parallel legal system operating within it’s shores and how can such a system based upon Islamic concepts, be consistent with British Laws, or indeed democracy and equality?
The Guardian published an article on a report by the thinktank group, Civitas, concluding:
“Dozens of sharia courts in the UK are regularly giving illegal advice on issues including marriage and divorce, a report published today claims. Decisions concerning marriages not recognised under English law, polygamy, and disputes regarding children are being made by at least 85 sharia courts, according to the report by the thinktank Civitas.
There is no clear divide between the functions of imams and the sharia courts. An imam who conducts a marriage which is not registered and then advises on disputes within that marriage acts in breach of the law and outside the scope of the sharia court’s role, Civitas say.”
“About two-thirds of Muslim marriages are not being registered under the Marriages Act, which is illegal,” said Neil Addison, a barrister specialising in the law on religion. “A woman with such a marriage would have no choice but to go to a sharia tribunal … But it’s not the way arbitration is supposed to work.”
Given the difficulty for Christians living in muslim dominated countries, which use the laws to target and persecute Christians, is it time for a sober pause for thought, about where this is all heading? Before anyone jumps up and shouts ‘racists’ or ‘islamaphobia’, consider carefully what kind of society you wish your children and grandchildren to live in.
If you are a committed Christian who loves people of all races, religions and backgrounds, consider carefully how much more difficult this may be, if in the future, Islamic law is used to force you to be quiet about the gospel, or even used to imprison you? Whilst this may not be happening now, is this not all a slippery slope of no return, in which Islamic law will become further and further integrated into the British legal system? Given the localised context of the Sharia courts system that is being progressively set up, and the fact that some of our cities are statistically predicted to become majority muslim populations in the next few decades, what will this mean for the lives of non muslim natives in such cities? Christians may not be allowed to preach the gospel in such places and one wonders what will happen to all our churches?
It is worth a careful look at Islamic history to see how Islam superseded the former Christian societies around it and how its Islamic laws and jurisprudence have made it very difficult if not impossible for Christian faith and churches to survive. Certainly, for centuries, the Christian faith in such countries has not been allowed to expand and nor is the gospel allowed to be preached! Churches are also not allowed to be built there.
Isn’t it time to take proper control of this growing Islamic legal system?
David Booth Christian People’s Alliance