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MPs to examine Sharia courts

A committee of MPs will begin an inquiry into the role of Sharia courts this week.

On Tuesday, the first day of evidence gathering will be held by the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in the Thatcher Room of Portcullis House. The MPs hope to gain a better understanding of how Sharia courts operate in relation to divorce and family disputes. They will also examine how these courts relate to the British legal system.

Several experts have agreed to give evidence to the Committee. These include Ephraim Shaista Gohir, Chair of the Muslim Women’s Network UK; Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society; and Dr Ahmad Al Dubayan, Chairman of the UK Board of Sharia Councils.

Speaking in the House of Commons last week, Women and Equalities Minister Justine Greening said the issue of Sharia courts was “one of the utmost importance”. She added that the government was aware “that there are concerns about Sharia councils … and we take those concerns extremely seriously”.

Greening’s comments were a response to Conservative backbencher Philip Davies, who had urged support for a bill proposed in the House of Lords. This had been introduced by cross-bench peer Baroness Cox and, if adopted, would significantly limit the powers of Sharia courts. Davies said the government should “ensure that Muslim women enjoy the same protections under the law as everyone else does” rather than feeling “pressurised into having their cases determined by a Sharia council”.

Baroness Cox has “long campaigned … for Sharia councils to be abolished” the Tory MP for Shipley added, “largely because of the unfair way many women are treated by them”.

Last year, a Dutch legal scholar claimed the British Sharia courts intentionally made it difficult for wives to divorce their husbands and were keeping these women in “marital captivity”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Stitchedup says:

    “Last year, a Dutch legal scholar claimed the British Sharia courts intentionally made it difficult for wives to divorce their husbands and were keeping these women in “marital captivity”.”

    So what’s the answer? force Sharia courts to follow English and Welsh law so that the husband can be stripped of his assets, loose contact with his children and be forced to pay spousal as well as child maintenance?? Perhaps Sharia courts have better family values than the anti-family English and Welsh courts and, god forbid, they may even treat men with some degree of respect and try to leave a father in a position where he can maintain meaningful contact with his children and be in a position to accommodate them in something other than a rat invested bed sit. People in glass houses comes to mind.

  2. Stitchedup says:

    Probably this most worrying thing for our feminist politicians and feminist family law professionals is that Sharia courts do not buy into the feminist ideology that has infected the English and Welsh courts. Oh no, we couldn’t have a level playing field could we??

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