Petition to end Sharia Courts

September 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Atheism

Please take a couple of seconds to click the link and sign the petition to end Sharia Courts in the UK

http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/End_discriminatory_Sharia_court_system_in_the_UK/

Thanks.

Comments

91 Responses to “Petition to end Sharia Courts”

  1. russell20 on December 7th, 2012 10:55 pm

    “If we’re going to be level headed and fair citizens, we need to see the underlying fault – and as atheists the underlying fault is religion.”

    I see and what would constitute an effective challenge to the perception of religious authority ?. Could it be challenging the”right” of any and all relgious denominations to establish quasi- parallel legal systems that are beyond acceptable democratic control. Would that be a good place to start ?

  2. tookey2k on December 17th, 2012 5:03 am

    Russell,

    [In the link you posted last] The heading reads: “SHARIA LAW IN BRITAIN – A THREAT TO ONE LAW FOR ALL & EQUAL RIGHTS”.

    What it says in the ‘small print’ is secondary! What the heading SHOULD say is: “RELIGIOUS LAW IN BRITAIN – A THREAT TO ONE LAW FOR ALL & EQUAL RIGHTS”

    Whilst I agree with the statement about Sharia Law, the fact that the website is biased against one religion discredits it beyond any serious political debate and it becomes a magnet for extremism. It’s basically a good idea turned sour by it’s own frustrated founders.

  3. russell20 on December 17th, 2012 10:51 am

    Now you are splitting hairs in the hope that that will invalidate the report, well that won’t wash I’m afraid, the report explicitly opposes all religious courts, whilst using sharia as an example. Probably because sharia courts are the most active.

    “Whilst I agree with the statement about Sharia Law, the fact that the website is biased against one religion ”

    No it opposes the arrogance of that religions leadership who think they have the right to pontificate and pass judgement on others based only upon their belief in a particular deity.

  4. tookey2k on December 17th, 2012 12:30 pm

    I’m trying to point out that it is the legalities of outlawing Sharia Law in Britain that will do the hair splitting – not me. To have a serious debate on this subject One Law for All will need to demonstrate they are not biased in any way, but their website clearly pushes Sharia Law to the front of stage.

    Believe me Russell, I am on your side here. I know you don’t like what I say but I am tired of all the years of venting my own frustrations only to realise that all that does is alienate those I am trying to influence, and have come to the conclusion that stepping back for a moment and taking a deep breath works wonders. One also gets to see things more clearly. We have to remember we live in a free society and sometimes that means we have to put up with things we don’t like simply because of those freedoms. I don’t like the presence of Sharia Law in Britain any more than you do, but we have to abide by the rules that give us our own freedoms.

  5. russell20 on December 17th, 2012 12:58 pm

    ” I don’t like the presence of Sharia Law in Britain any more than you do, but we have to abide by the rules that give us our own freedoms.”

    But that is the whole point, the existence of religious courts subverts those freedoms by acting outside of the existing justice system and they do so without any regard to any established law. Thus it can be agrued that they act illegally and if that is found to be the case then that provides sufficient grounds for closing them down.

  6. tookey2k on December 19th, 2012 3:28 am

    We seem to be going around in circles. I think you’re missing my point – that Sharia Courts in Britain do not break any British laws because they only deal in domestic affairs. They cannot send anyone to prison, for example.

    If there is any evidence of British Sharia Courts breaking any British laws, then you need to tell me (more importantly – the police!). The terms ‘Sharia Courts’ and ‘Sharia Law’ are misleading, because they are not officially ‘courts’, and it isn’t officially a ‘law’.

    Also, I think you will find that it is the older non-English speaking Muslim generation who use these courts, simply because there is a language barrier between them and the British legal system. This is where the problem lies – if a Muslim woman does not know her rights as a British citizen, she will most likely obey the Sharia Court’s judgement and act accordingly.
    With this in mind, I think Sharia Courts will eventually die out with the older generation that uses them, although this is not much comfort to those currently on the receiving end of injustice.

    Then you have to think about why a Muslim man would even bother to attend a Sharia Court with his wife if she doesn’t speak English and is socially isolated anyway?

    Anyway, I found this link: http://www.lawyerssecularsociety.org/default.asp?sectid=394

  7. russell20 on December 19th, 2012 5:44 am

    Ok tookey

    I followed your link I believe you need to re-read point 5, points 6 and 7 (sub-headings a-e) points 9 and 10 ( which points out the difference between sharia and beth-din) and in particular point 11.

    If you had followed any of the links provided by people here you would not need to do so of course as all the criticisms in the report you have linked to were presented in the previous links presented to you.

    Therefore going round and round or not the critics position on sharia stands I’m afraid.

  8. russell20 on December 19th, 2012 6:13 am

    tookey

    And of course point 8 forgot that one

  9. Graham Martin-Royle on December 19th, 2012 10:23 am

    That’s the point though tookey, sharia courts ARE encroaching where they shouldn’t, they are dealing with criminal cases that they shouldn’t touch. This was all pointed out in the links I provided earlier.

  10. russell20 on December 20th, 2012 12:00 am

    @ tookey

    You wrote ……..

    “We seem to be going around in circles. I think you’re missing my point – that Sharia Courts in Britain do not break any British laws because they only deal in domestic affairs. They cannot send anyone to prison, for example.”

    We already know this tookey, and you also know that no-one here is suggesting they can imprison anyone. However, it is the inherent bias against women (based on islamic principles which sharia courts must adhere to) which underpin sharia courts “judgement” on domestic issues, It is this that contravenes established UK equality legislation thus they are acting illegaly.

    All of this should be familiar to you as they are points raised previously by myself and everyone else here (except you of course) They are also points raised in the all of the links provided to you. Why not read through them instead of merely dismissing them.

    You furtther wrote…………..

    “Also, I think you will find that it is the older non-English speaking Muslim generation who use these courts”

    How do you know this ? please provide some evidence.

  11. tookey2k on December 21st, 2012 5:29 am

    Graham,

    I did look at the links you posted. I didn’t see anything that suggested British Sharia courts were dealing with criminal cases. Can you actually specify the exact location of the texts you are are referring to?

    Russell,

    “However, it is the inherent bias against women (based on islamic principles which sharia courts must adhere to) which underpin sharia courts “judgement” on domestic issues, It is this that contravenes established UK equality legislation thus they are acting illegaly.”

    Like I keep on (banging my head against a brick wall) telling you; this is what is known as ‘religious freedom’. The fact that ALL religion (not just Islam) is sexist matters not a jot! If people want to believe in that sh*t, then they have every right to! – including women and homosexuals!!!

    IT IS THEIR RIGHT TO BE WRONG!!!

    Now, your argument about Muslim women (because we’re not talking about any other poor souls, are we?) being FORCED into participating in a religion they neither believe in, nor want to believe in, is against the law.

    ““Also, I think you will find that it is the older non-English speaking Muslim generation who use these courts”

    How do you know this ? please provide some evidence.”

    I’ll ignore the facetious tone of that and just say; all you have to do is actually study the subject you are are discussing. I don’t like the term ‘ignorant’ because we are all ignorant in many ways, but in this case you are an ignoramus.

  12. russell20 on December 21st, 2012 11:11 am

    tookey

    You need to calm down .You post a link to the secular law society report and in it you find the first point that seems to agree with your argument, what , did you think that I would’nt the rest of the report ?. Every single point from 5-11 is highlighting the sexual inequality in sharia courts, therefore it is not me it is the evidence that points in that direction. And you have the audacity to call me an ignoramous. But, it is what I have come to expect from you when you can’t win over those that are simply disagreeing with you then there is a retreat into petulance and infantile ad homs.

    “I’ll ignore the facetious tone of that and just say; all you have to do is actually study the subject you are are discussing. I don’t like the term ‘ignorant’ because we are all ignorant in many ways, but in this case you are an ignoramus”

    Again produce the evidence I have , you have yet to do so. There is very little point in appearing here making a statement and then tell me to find the evidence for myself. Of course if it was there you would waste no time in posting it , so I am going to treat it as an assumption on your part until you prove otherwise.

    Also when you can prove that both parties enter a sharia court on an equal footing (eg not when one is only worth half of the other) your argument may have some validity.

    And again they can believe whatever crap they want to, what they don’t get to do is set up some quasi-legal system that does not allow independent scrutiny of it’s decsions, simply because they believe in a particular deity.

  13. tookey2k on December 21st, 2012 1:22 pm

    Russell,

    Yep , we are going around in circles aren’t we?

    Can you point out where I have claimed that Sharia courts are fair?

    “Also when you can prove that both parties enter a sharia court on an equal footing (eg not when one is only worth half of the other) your argument may have some validity.”

    That is not my argument, and you know it. As I said in my previous post:-

    “The fact that ALL religion (not just Islam) is sexist matters not a jot! If people want to believe in that sh*t, then they have every right to! – including women and homosexuals!!!

    IT IS THEIR RIGHT TO BE WRONG!!!”

    As you can see, I am agreeing with you that Sharia Law is unfair. But that’s just tough!
    Just because we don’t like the way others live their lives doesn’t mean we can barge in there and stop them from doing what they want to do, as long as no laws are being broken.

    Lastly, what evidence are you asking me to provide?

  14. Stephen on December 21st, 2012 2:12 pm

    It is not their right to be wrong if they are not obeying the laws of the land they live in. We are getting back to your cultural relativism. Sharia courts here do do give equal rights to women and that is wrong by the laws of this land.

  15. russell20 on December 22nd, 2012 9:23 pm

    tookey

    We are done here you have said nothing worth listening to, you can’t engage in debate without child like insults, oh and FYI I have never and will never agree with you, so please carry on posting your apologist twaddle. I have switched you off.

  16. russell20 on December 22nd, 2012 10:18 pm

    Tookey

    Before I go, provide the evidence for the following (let’s see if you can manage it without retreating to the playground)

    “Also, I think you will find that it is the older non-English speaking Muslim generation who use these courts”

    And again going over old ground.

    “As you can see, I am agreeing with you that Sharia Law is unfair. But that’s just tough!
    Just because we don’t like the way others live their lives doesn’t mean we can barge in there and stop them from doing what they want to do, as long as no laws are being broken.”

    As has been pointed out to you ad nauseum, they are breaking the law by not adhering to established UK equality legslation. This is highilighted in the link YOU provided.

    “The fact that ALL religion (not just Islam) is sexist matters not a jot! If people want to believe in that sh*t, then they have every right to! – including women and homosexuals!!!”

    Not if their belief impinges upon upon current equality legislation (which sharia does) if you believe that religious belief supersedes democratic legislation, then you are arguing, whether you like it or not, that religion has the right to carve out a legal niche for itself, and thus, should have a special place in the legislative framework., which it does not deserve

    Let’s see if you use the “your previous post means I do not need to answer” dodge. That would be funny !!!!!!! Y’all have a nice day now

  17. tookey2k on January 2nd, 2013 1:52 am

    Stephen,

    “It is not their right to be wrong if they are not obeying the laws of the land they live in.”

    Who exactly are you talking about? Are you talking about the people who USE Sharia Courts/Councils, or the people who RUN them?

    I was talking about the people who USE them.

  18. trev on January 9th, 2013 10:35 pm

    As a resident of N.Ireland where to the best of my knowledge no [at the moment] Sharia courts exist, Was stunned to read of their presence & powers on the mainland.Although from what I read,are primarily functioning to deal with family/domestic problems ! This is not a matter for another lunatic fringe to embroil themselves with ! Can one begin to imagine Baptist, C of E, Methodist, Roman Catholic etc. courts ? NO ! and Why ? The notion of such is so bloody ludicrous, that no such institutions would ever be permitted to engage in such activities !
    How long before these courts begin to pass dangerous judgements on people ? It did happen in my country for over 30 years. These places were known as “Kangaroo Courts” where paramilitary organisations acted as Judge,Jury & Executioner albeit as an underground activity. Although I am not attempting to draw comparisons, These Sharia courts would appear to me to be the thin end of a very thick and potentially lethal wedge ! Personally the whole concept of these activities,send shivers down my spine,when I envisage the future potential. According to U.K. law “they are unlawful” Although they are still openly operating. The other danger by closing them is that they move underground. Catch 22 !!

  19. tookey2k on January 11th, 2013 3:38 am

    “Can one begin to imagine Baptist, C of E, Methodist, Roman Catholic etc. courts ?”

    What about Jewish courts?

  20. Graham Martin-Royle on January 11th, 2013 3:29 pm

    All religious courts should be banned but this petition is specific to Sharia courts.

  21. tookey2k on January 11th, 2013 5:21 pm

    “All religious courts should be banned but this petition is specific to Sharia courts.”

    Exactly! And therein lies the problem. Because the petition is specific to Sharia courts it would be deemed biased against one particular religion and would be thrown out by the government as unconstitutional even if the issue was presented in Parliament for discussion. It would be thrown out before any debate could take place.

    If the petition encompassed all religious courts then that would be a different matter. Even then, banning religious courts would still be deemed unconstitutional because it would involve the removal of a person’s right to settle a domestic dispute out of court on their own agreed terms via their method of choice. That is a right we all have, whether we are religious or not.

  22. Graham Martin-Royle on January 11th, 2013 8:57 pm

    It’s not unconstitutional because we don’t actually have a constitution. It would not be thrown out before a debate could take place if it was raised in parliament. The reason this is a petition specifically about sharia courts is because, if you had actually taken the time to read up about it, you would realise that they are already encroaching into non domestic matters and are trying cases that should be tried in criminal courts. No I am not going to provide you with any more links, you have been provided with enough and if you’re too lazy to check it out yourself I see no reason why I should keep on doing your work for you.

  23. tookey2k on January 12th, 2013 3:01 am

    Graham, I have viewed all the links posted in this thread. I will view yours again to see where I am going wrong.

    Britain does indeed have a constitution, albeit complicated. The US constitution was based on the British model and written up in one simple document, but both have their roots in the Magna Carta.

  24. tookey2k on January 12th, 2013 3:42 am

    I’m back already.

    Yes, I didn’t miss any of your links. You posted 3 links, all to the One For All website. Not only that but I also clicked through to the presentations.

    My views are the same. The application of Sharia Law in Muslim countries is backwards and barbaric, to say the least, but there is no such thing as Sharia Law in this country, only UK law.

    Sharia courts may exist here, but they cannot sentence anyone to amputation, or the death penalty. Their function is to mediate in domestic affairs, and even then their judgements are not recognised by the British justice system.

    Anyway, in return I ask you take a look at this link:
    http://www.thenation.com/article/168378/true-story-sharia-american-courts

    Take note of the paragraph which reads:

    “Had an anti-Sharia ban been in place in these courts, Exxon could not have won its verdict, nor would the wife in Odatalla have been able to enforce her marriage contract. The ban would have stripped those judges of their ability to fully and fairly consider the cases. For litigants in states where such a ban exists, these statutes are an unconstitutional infringement of the people’s freedom of contract, free exercise of religion and right to equal protection. And what the anti-Sharia movement ignores is that, whether a US judge considers Sharia as a foreign law, as in the Exxon case, or as a way to better understand a dispute between parties, as in Odatalla, the extent of its applicability is always dictated by American law.”

    Yes, this is an American website, but it explains very clearly my own position on this subject.

  25. Graham Martin-Royle on January 12th, 2013 2:46 pm

    We have a constitution eh? Please show me where, in the constitution, it says that banning sharia courts is against the constitution.

    While sharia courts may not be able to sentence anyone to amputation etc. they are already deciding criminal cases, i.e. domestic abuse (assault), and are interfering in child custody cases that they have no jurisdiction over. If they were to hold themselves back to merely arbitration they would not generate so much hassle, but they do not.

  26. tookey2k on January 14th, 2013 10:15 am

    Graham,

    The answer to your question can be found here:-

    The Constitution of the United Kingdom

    Part 1: The United Kingdom and Its Nationals

    Article 44 – Freedom of Thought, Conscience and Religion

  27. Graham Martin-Royle on January 15th, 2013 12:25 am

    Tookey, your link doesn’t work.

  28. Graham Martin-Royle on January 15th, 2013 12:29 am

    Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights
    Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
    1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with
    others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in
    worship, teaching, practice and observance.
    2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be
    subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are
    necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety,
    for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

    If this is what you are referring to, then I don’t see how banning sharia courts contravenes it.

  29. tookey2k on January 15th, 2013 3:26 am

    Graham,

    I did not post a link as I could not link to the document and the copy and paste obviously did not work correctly.

    Article 44 of The Constitution of the United Kingdom has 3 parts, the first 2 of which are the same as the European Convention on Human Rights which you have posted.

    Part 3 states:-

    “If a court’s or tribunal’s determination of any question arising under this Part of the Constitution might affect the exercise by a religious organisation (itself or its members collectively) of the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, the court or tribunal must have particular regard to the importance of that right.”

    I’m not sure what you see here, but it is quite blatantly obvious that banning Sharia courts would certainly contravene Part 1 – “…to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”

    It does not matter if there are individual cases where an injustice has been done on the back of a Sharia court ruling, the fact remains that you cannot ban Sharia courts because that would be removing an individual’s right “…to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, PRACTICE AND OBSERVANCE.”

    I capitalised the last two words to emphasise the importance of them. Sharia courts give guidance (however backwards it may be) on practice and observance.

    “While sharia courts may not be able to sentence anyone to amputation etc. they are already deciding criminal cases, i.e. domestic abuse (assault), and are interfering in child custody cases that they have no jurisdiction over.”

    If Sharia courts are ‘deciding’ criminal cases, then why can’t they sentence people to amputation or give them the death penalty?

  30. atheist0083 on January 15th, 2013 8:52 am

    Any sort of judiciary system based on religious delusion is bad, laws must be devoid of any religious influence. Religion has a history of viewing issues from an extreme view point and that view point is irrational.

  31. Graham Martin-Royle on January 15th, 2013 9:45 am

    Tookey, if that were all that sharia courts were doing there would not be a campaign to ban them, It is because they go beyond that, out of the realm of arbitration and into areas that are the domain of the courts that they are being targeted. This has nothing to do with the practise or observance of the religion. To keep bringing up the death penalty and/or amputation is a non-sequitur, not all crimes merit these punishments.

    The reason you can’t link to a document titled “The Constitution of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” is because such a document does not exist. We do not have a written constitution.

  32. tookey2k on January 15th, 2013 11:03 am

    “To keep bringing up the death penalty and/or amputation is a non-sequitur, not all crimes merit these punishments.

    Surely the reason this petition was set up was through fear that eventually Sharia Law would take over and we would see the re-introduction of the death penalty and other atrocities labelled ‘punishment’?

    Am I mistaken?

    The reason I can not link to the document is because it is on my computer! If I can find another source I will post it.

  33. tookey2k on January 15th, 2013 1:58 pm
  34. Graham Martin-Royle on January 15th, 2013 2:43 pm

    Are you mistaken, yes.

    The document you linked to is not the constitution of the UK. As said before, we do not have a written constitution.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_Kingdom

    Please note the second paragraph, which starts, “Unlike many other nations, the UK has no single constitutional document”.

  35. russell20 on January 15th, 2013 4:48 pm

    I know I pulled out of this discussion but the lack of a single coherent document of constitutional rights in the UK is a pet gripe of mine. We simply don’t have a single document as the US does.. However, despite the lack of a single document in the UK, ironically the US constution was influenced by Magna Carta, and the English Bill of Rights. There is a useful piece (link below) over at the UCL public policy dept.

    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit/research/uk-constitution

    From the UCL article………….

    “Finally, because the British Constitution cannot be found in any single document, politicians and lawyers have relied on constitutional authorities to locate and understand the constitution”

  36. trev on January 18th, 2013 12:10 am

    Dont forget guys, that whenever these Shaira courts if or are abolished as they should be, that the powers that introduced and enforced them will disappear ! As I and many of my fellow countrymen have witnessed for decades. These kind of practices simply move “Underground” ! And as in the case of illegal courts in this island, Punishments ranged from, community service, fines, punishment beatings, punishment shootings/kneecappings & executions.! And these were only enforced by small groupings of hoodlums in N.I. So how much more dangerous can a vast community of religious fanatics/extremists be ?

  37. SudoNim on January 26th, 2013 3:02 pm

    “Whilst I am fully aware that Muslim women may be threatened with violence if they do not attend Sharia ‘courts’, that is not reason enough to outlaw them”….

    Im sorry but it seems your morality has been eroded…. If there is ANY chance that somebody’s human rights may be be violated in ANY way (certainly the right to not be assaulted) that is most definitely a reason to outlaw them.

    Are you just being contrary for the sake of argument? I hope so because otherwise I find your position disturbing.

    If we are to have law it should apply to EVERYONE irrespective of childish superstitions and backwards belief sytems. END. OF

  38. tookey2k on January 28th, 2013 2:54 am

    SudoNim,

    “Are you just being contrary for the sake of argument? I hope so because otherwise I find your position disturbing. ”

    No, I am not just taking my position ‘for the sake of argument’. I have made my position clear that Sharia courts are a worry for me, but that outlawing such religious freedoms would erode everyone’s freedoms including those of us atheists! I really do wish people would wake up to what I’m saying.

    The only other alternative would be to outlaw ALL religious forms of domestic dispute mediation and advice, and that would be unconstitutional.

    If a woman is threatened with violence if she does not attend a Sharia court, then the law has been broken and it needs reporting. If no one reports it, then nothing can be done about it. But that has nothing to do with the court itself, the same as witnesses being intimidated NOT to give evidence in court – that is not the court’s fault.

    “If we are to have law it should apply to EVERYONE irrespective of childish superstitions and backwards belief sytems. END. OF”

    There is only one law in Britain. There is no such thing as Sharia Law in this country, only Sharia courts which are not recognised by British law as having any legal powers. But if you or I would prefer to settle our dispute out of court – as many people do – then we have the freedom to do so. That’s is what is called a free society.

  39. Graham Martin-Royle on January 28th, 2013 1:26 pm

    It’s a pity you can’t read Tookey, The reasons for this petition and the arguments against your position have been plainly put. I’m not wasting any more time with you.

  40. tookey2k on January 29th, 2013 12:22 am

    With respect Graham, I have no problem with the REASON for this petition, but the petition itself is flawed – that’s my problem and something I have, at great pains, tried to convey to an audience who are so oblivious to the fact that religious freedom and freedom of thought are actually the same thing.

    Sharia and Jewish courts are not endorsed by the state yet are allowed to exist under the flag of ‘freedom of religion’. I don’t like it, you don’t like it, but we have to put up with it!

    There is no difference between a Sharia court discriminating against women, and the Catholic church discriminating against homosexuals. That’s what is called religious freedom. It is an ‘opt-in/opt-out’ thing.

    But there is no opt-in/opt-out option when it comes to the law! The law trumps all. One can opt-out of religion and stand under the protective umbrella of the state. Conversely, one can also opt-in to a religion and decide they would rather settle a domestic dispute with religious guidance.

    But there is still only one law.

    So Graham, I know you’re not going to waste any more time with me because I can’t read, but it would be reassuring if you could point out what is wrong with the above? Maybe I could learn where I went wrong over the last 10 years or so of debating the conflicts arising between the need for a free society and the freedom it gives those who do not share the spirit of such freedoms (i.e. The BNP).

  41. russell20 on March 9th, 2013 10:37 pm

    @ tookey

    “Sharia and Jewish courts are not endorsed by the state yet are allowed to exist under the flag of ‘freedom of religion’. I don’t like it, you don’t like it, but we have to put up with it!”

    Still displaying your total ignorance I see. Both of the above “courts” exist as a result of religious privilege (and not religious freedom what ever that is supposed to mean perhaps you could explain) granted to them by a state that endorses and supports a privileged place (at a social, political and cultural level) for religion eg faith schools, bishops in the House of Lords, displays of deference to religious leaders (see Ratzingers visit) etc etc. And we don’t have to put up with it

    You really do need to do better tookey.