Home Secretary Theresa May has launched an independent enquiry into the use of Islamic law in England and Wales.
The review will investigate the extent to which Sharia law can be compatible with English law. A panel of experts has been appointed, to be chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui of the School of Divinity at Edinburgh University, who received an OBE for her work in Christian-Muslim relations.
Assisting her will be retired High Court Judge Sir Mark Hedley and other family law experts. Two imams – Qari Asim and Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi – will also provide detailed input on Sharia law and Islam.
The review is intended to address concerns regarding certain aspects of Sharia law and the activity of some Sharia councils who are thought to promote social harm and discrimination, encouraging for example forced marriage and unfair divorce practices.
Home Secretary Theresa May said:
“Many British people of different faiths follow religious codes and practices, and benefit a great deal from the guidance they offer.”
But, she continued:
“A number of women have reportedly been victims of what appear to be discriminatory decisions taken by Sharia councils, and that is a significant concern. There is only one rule of law in our country, which provides rights and security for every citizen.”
The panel is expected to report in 2017.