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U.K. Government Review of Sharia Admits Systematic Discrimination Against Women

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A review by U.K. authorities into sharia has revealed that many in Britain’s government are blind to the numbers of Islamic law councils in operation.

And that means some of Britain’s highest governing authorities are completely unaware of how systematic the discrimination against women has become.

Bombshell: UK Govt Review into Sharia Admits Systemic Discrimination Against Women, Unknown Number of ‘Councils’, Forced Marriage Victim Made to Appear with Abusers

Here’s a recent video that speaks to the issue of sharia law in Britain and shows the public protests of Sharia Watch UK that have gone forth in the country:

And here’s one from way back in 2012, warning about sharia coming to Britain as well:

Yet today’s governing authorities are still blind to sharia in their communities?

Breitbart has more:

A controversial review into the state of Sharia law in the United Kingdom and the bodies administering it has revealed the British government to be unaware of exactly how many of the Islamic law councils are operating in the country, an admission of systemic discrimination against women, including the victim of forced marriage being asked to appear alongside her family, with an “inappropriate” adoption of civil legal terms used.

The document — entitled ‘The independent review into the application of sharia law in England and Wales’ — was criticised for taking a theological approach to the issue after Islamic theologian Mona Siddique OBE, as well as Imam Qari Muhammad Asim MBE and Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, were appointed to the panel and advisory board. Other members included Sam Momtaz QC, Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE QC (Hon), and Sir Mark Hedley DL.

Described as having an “inappropriate theological approach” by women’s rights groups, the report recommends the recognition of Islamic marriage in civil law, and vice versa, so that Muslim women do not necessarily feel their only option for divorce is through Sharia councils. The sole focus of the report appears to be divorce, despite an admission that a smaller amount of Sharia councils’ works are not in this area.

The report stunningly admits:

The exact number of sharia councils operating in England and Wales is unknown. Academic and anecdotal estimates vary from 30 to 85. The review has identified 10 councils operating with an online presence. The sharia councils identified by the review were mostly in urban centres with significant Muslim populations, such as London, Birmingham, Bradford and Dewsbury.

The investigators also concede they were not actually privy to any Sharia council processes and did not witness their active work:

The review panel did not observe first hand either the councils’ process for obtaining information from the individuals seeking their assistance or the decision-making process used by the councils.

There was — as the report’s methodology states — a public call for evidence on July 4th, 2016, with closed, oral evidence sessions with users of Sharia councils, women’s rights groups, academics, and lawyers, as well as other interested parties.

One of the primary recommendations of the investigation is the idea of “linking Islamic marriage to civil marriage” to ensure “that a greater number of women will have the full protection afforded to them in family law and they will face less discriminatory practices. This will be a positive move aimed at giving women maximum rights should the marriage end in divorce”.

This would require alterations to the Marriage Act 1949 and the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, “to ensure that civil marriages are conducted before or at the same time as the Islamic marriage ceremony, bringing Islamic marriage in line with Christian and Jewish marriage in the eyes of the law”.

Despite numerous admissions that men have an upper hand in Sharia councils, the report concludes the system should not only remain in place, but should be self-regulated by imams:

It could invite, encourage or even urge sharia councils to adopt a system of uniform self-regulation.

The state could provide a system of regulation for sharia councils to adopt and then to self-regulate.

It could impose such a system and provide an enforcement agency similar to OFSTED. However, proportionality is not the only issue. Just as the state does not confer legitimacy on the Beth Din or on Catholic tribunals by seeking to regulate them, the state may be reluctant to regulate sharia councils. That raises a dilemma: either the state withholds further intervention or it risks intervention being perceived as conferring legitimacy upon sharia councils and thereby creating a parallel legal system.

Despite the difficulties, we have concluded that intervention/regulation carries more advantage than no intervention.

Men are revealed to have an advantage in Sharia councils because of the ease of routes to divorce offered to them ahead of women. The report appears to want to ease this problem, rather than eradicate it, and lend the legitimacy of the British state to Sharia law.

Men seeking an Islamic divorce have the option of ‘talaq’, a form of unilateral divorce that they can issue themselves. Women do not have this option, unless inserted as a term in the marriage contract (which varies from school to school) and therefore have to seek a ‘khula’ or ‘faskh’ from a sharia council.

The review also heard evidence “that in some instances, during khula divorces, women were asked to make some financial concessions to their husband in order to secure the divorce”.

Rather than a condemnation of such practices, the review seeks to create “a body by the state with a code of practice for sharia councils to accept and implement. This body would include both sharia council panel members and specialist family lawyers. This body could go on to monitor and audit compliance of the code of practice.”

The report also contains an unassailable admission — historically rejected or even ridiculed by left-wing politicians and campaigners — that “[t]he primary and underlying principle of sharia councils is the application of sharia law”, and that this is indeed taking place in Britain, and to an extent that the government is unaware.

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