Friday, January 13, 2012

Harrow campaigner and the battle for equality

While in America, the new Oklahoma law making it illegal to cite Sharia law in US courts has been struck down (HERE), in Britain the group British Muslims for Secular Democracy is campaigning to put a bill through Parliament that would inform Muslim women that they can use the secular court system rather than the informal Sharia courts.

It would seem that our British cousins know that Sharia law has no place in a secular society. Hopefully, the Oklahoma law will be appealed to the Supreme Court and ultimately enacted to protect all our citizens from the barbaric influence of Sharia law.


Harrow campaigner and the battle for equality

by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
Jan 12 2012

A CAMPAIGNER is trying to help a controversial bill through Parliament because she believes it would encourage greater equality for Muslim women.

Tehmina Kazi, director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy, is concerned about Muslim women who don’t know about alternatives to Sharia law – the Islamic legal system followed by some Muslims in the UK.

The Wealdstone resident has been advising crossbencher Baroness Caroline Cox on her Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill, which would make it an offence for anyone falsely claiming or implying that Sharia courts or councils have legal jurisdiction over family or criminal law in this country.

Ms Kazi claims the controversial bill, which has been opposed by some parts of the Muslim community, would give Muslim women greater clarification on their rights.

Ms Kazi, a law graduate of the London School of Economics, said: “There is a gap in the system for Muslim women due to the prevalence of Sharia councils.

“They don’t have any legal power and are completely informal so very hard to regulate and they rule on things such as divorce in Muslim communities. We want to educate women so they know what their rights are.”

The campaigner said she is concerned about the number of women who don’t have marriages registered under civil law as some Muslims have the religious ceremony of Nikah, which is not valid as a legal marriage under UK law, therefore don’t have the same legal rights if the couple decides to separate.

The former student of Park High School in Stanmore and Harrow Weald College said: “Sharia tribunals operate under a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996 and, as with all arbitration, their outcomes are legally binding (as long as all parties agree to this).

“Unlike these tribunals, Sharia councils have no legal status and could potentially be set up in someone’s front room. Problems arise when they falsely claim a legal status that they do not have, and this kind of posturing is exactly what the Arbitration Bill seeks to criminalise.”

Article continues HERE.