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Sharia courts ‘protect domestic abusers’

British Sharia courts protect men who commit domestic abuse, a charity has claimed.

Some of these religious courts urge the Crown Prosecution Service to “reconsider” criminal charges against men accused of such a crime. This claim was made by the Southall Black Sisters (SBS), a London-based non-profit organisation which provides support for ethnic minority women who suffer from gender-related violence.

In written evidence submitted to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, the group claimed that these interventions represented an “attempt to sabotage criminal proceedings”.

One of the institutions singled out by the organisation was the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (Mat) in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. According to the SBS, “the Mat actively involves itself in criminal proceedings on domestic violence” and “uses its position of power to persuade the CPS to drop charges” against abusers.

Not only that, but the Mat also encourages victims “to reconcile with abusive partners without reference to court orders they may already have or to risk assessments and safety planning” the SBS alleges.

This report was part of the Committee’s inquiry into Sharia courts which began hearing oral evidence this week.

Meanwhile, a Muslim women’s group has criticised the nature of the inquiry. Shaista Gohir is the chair of Muslim Women’s Network UK and is one of the people scheduled to give evidence to the Committee. She has published an open letter signed by over 100 Muslim women. In it, she says she is worried Muslim women will be treated like “political footballs”.

Gohir claimed that “people who are anti-faith, particularly anti-Islam … are using women’s rights as a guise, wanting to abolish Sharia councils”.

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  1. Andrew says:

    If the CPS lets itself be persuaded – if it does anything with these letters except bin them – that is an outrage. But you can’t stop people writing to them.

    • Stitchedup says:

      I don’t often disagree with you Andrew but on this occasion I do. Any representation to the CPS should be considered on its merits not binned because it comes from a Muslim/Sharia organisation… That smacks of racism, arrogance, cultural insensitivity and cultural intolerance… The CPS “SHOULD” be above that.

      • Andrew says:

        The CPS should bin such things wherever they come from.

        • Stitchedup says:

          I find that comment worrying coming from a magistrate but unfortunately quite typical of my experience of the magistrates courts. They were called the police courts and imho ate really only suitable for hearing and sentencing genuine guilty pleas. Not guilty pleas should be heard by a jury of peers who are more likely to be objective with regards to the CPS and indeed the Police.

          • stitchedup says:

            Ate should read aren’t

          • Andrew says:

            So the CPS should not prosecute if enough worthy types with impressive letterheads urge them not to?
            Political parties? Councils? Employers?
            Come off it.
            As for juries: serious d.v. is charged as abh which carries a right to trial by jury at the Crown Court, and very few defendants exercise that right. And they are wise not to.

  2. Stitchedup says:

    Here we go again…. Guilty until proven innocent. A man accused of domestic abuse or even charged with domestic abuse should not be labelled an abuser. SBS have demonstrated their bias and their “evidence” should not be taken at face value but should be considered extremely objectively. As Andrew said, you can’t stop people writing to the CPS, this is part of normal process, particularly if new evidence comes to light. However, given the absurdly broad definition of domestic abuse, the political pressure to prosecute at all costs, the political pressure to convict, and the probability the case will be heard in the magistrates courts by a suitably indoctrinated district judge; it is highly likely the CPS are deciding to prosecute cases which in normal circumstances would not pass the public interest and possibility of successful prosecution tests. Under such circumstances charges of this nature leave themselves wide open to challenge, and in the interests of any children involved, should be challenged to avoid the possibility of the father being convicted for something completely trivial and possibly loosing his livelihood or perhaps even going to Prison.

  3. stitchedup says:


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