David Calling

The David Pryce-Jones blog.

Sharia in Britain


A few months ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury, nominal head of the Anglican Church, astonished the faithful and the unfaithful alike by announcing that in Britain the introduction of Islamic law, or sharia, was not only “unavoidable” but “desirable.”  In his wake the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Philips, titular representative of British law and legal procedure, also recommended sharia law. Instead of exclaiming at the strangeness of these pronouncements, we should have smelled a rat. They were actually preparing us in advance for what those on the inner circle must have been aware of, namely that sharia law is already operating. The deed has been done in secret, carried out quite typically by an establishment that does not bother with tiresome things that might get in the way, like public debate or consultation. Never mind the general good, they act by the divine right of their positions.

As so often, everything turns on a clause that those with a mind for it have been able to exploit. The Arbitration Act of 1996 classified sharia courts as arbitration tribunals, whose ruling is binding by law if both parties agree to it. Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi controls a body called the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, and according to a report in the Sunday Times, he said that he had taken advantage of the Arbitration Act to classify sharia courts as arbitration tribunals. Sharp man to spot the opening! Courts have been set up already in the major cities, and apparently have been operating this past year and have dealt with more than 100 cases.

Most Muslim countries have long since found sharia law to be retrograde, and have abandoned it. Believe it or not, it doesn’t even apply in Iran, so Amir Taheri informs me. In British instances so far, husbands committing domestic violence have only been sentenced to classes in management of anger. Abused women in each case have withdrawn their complaints. In cases of inheritance, women have also been discriminated against because sharia law favours men.

The only protests seem to have come from Muslims themselves, one or two of whom say that they came to Britain to escape sharia and all that goes with it. Not a peep from the feminists or the civil rights gang or the socialists (if there are any left). Equality for all citizens under the law was once a proud boast in Britain. No longer. Sharia law sets Muslims apart, sanctioning judgements that would never be upheld in British courts, and its introduction is a significant step in the Islamization of Britain.


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