Little mundane personal private harmless sharia

How’s that again?

Amnah is going through a divorce and is baffled at being told that she must wait for three months to remarry, considering that she hasn’t seen her estranged husband for two years. Dr Hasan with an intense look…[Dr Hasan] meets this with a simple reply: “These rulings are all in the Koran. The rulings are made for all.” Amnah has little choice but to comply: Dr Hasan is a judge, and this is a sharia court – in east London.

She has little choice but to comply? Why? If it’s a sharia court in east London, then she does have other choices, doesn’t she?

It is one of dozens of sharia courts – also known as councils – that have been set up in mosques, Islamic centres and even schools across Britain. The number of British Muslims using the courts is increasing. To many in the West, talk of sharia law conjures up images of the floggings, stonings, amputations and beheadings…However, the form practised in Britain is more mundane, focusing mainly on marriage, divorce and financial disputes.

Oh, just marriage and divorce – no big deal then. No impact on people’s lives. Not about floggings and beheadings, therefore mundane and ho-hum.

The judgments of the courts have no basis in British law, and are therefore technically illegitimate – they are binding only in that those involved agree to comply.

Well then it’s not true that Amnah has little choice but to comply. She may have decided to bind herself to obey a sharia court, but she still does have a choice (unless someone is coercing her, which is not mentioned).

So let’s learn more about this Dr Hasan fella. He sounds interesting.

“Whenever people associate the word ‘sharia’ with Muslims, they think it is flogging and stoning to death and cutting off the hand,” he says with a smile.

Ah yes! Such an amusing subject – I can see why he would smile!

Dr Hasan is open in supporting the severe punishments meted out in countries where sharia law governs the country. “Even though cutting off the hands and feet, or flogging the drunkard and fornicator, seem to be very abhorrent, once they are implemented, they become a deterrent for the whole society…If sharia law is implemented, then you can turn this country into a haven of peace because once a thief’s hand is cut off nobody is going to steal. Once, just only once, if an adulterer is stoned nobody is going to commit this crime at all. We want to offer it to the British society. If they accept it, it is for their good and if they don’t accept it they’ll need more and more prisons.”

I wouldn’t accept it if I were you. My advice would be to say no thanks.

Ibrahim Mogra, chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain’s inter-faith committee, admits that to non-Muslims some laws may seem harsh on women. Those who are married to a man with a number of wives can be treated badly, for instance. But he insists that sharia is an equitable system. “It may mean that a woman married under Islamic law has no legal rights, but the husband is required to pay for everything in marriage and in the case of a divorce all the woman’s belongings are hers to keep.”

Oh I see – that does sound equitable! The woman has no legal rights, but – um – well, she has no legal rights. What could be more equitable? I’m like totally reassured.

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, points out that during British rule in India, Muslim personal law was allowed to operate and sees no reason why it wouldn’t work now. “Sharia encompasses all aspects of Muslim life including personal law,” he says. “In tolerant, inclusive societies all faith groups enjoy some acceptance of their religious rules in matters of their personal life.”

You mean the men in the ‘faith groups’ enjoy that. The women don’t enjoy it quite so much.

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