While Hillary and Sarah Get Trashed in the U.S., Muslim Women in Britain Get Sharia Law

As Israel appears on track to have its second woman Prime Minister, things seem to being going backwards here in the U.S. We’ve learned a lot about the state of politics and the media when it comes to women here during this election season as we’ve witnessed the trashing of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin… but things aren’t looking very good in Britain, either, especially for Muslim women. And the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chief Justice aren’t helping matters much.

Last February, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in a controversial statement, opined that it was inevitable that Sharia law would come to Britain:

The Archbishop of Canterbury provoked a chorus of criticism yesterday by predicting that it was “unavoidable” that elements of Islamic sharia law would be introduced in Britain.

Christian and secular groups joined senior politicians to condemn Rowan Williams’ view that there was a place for a “constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law” over such issues as marriage.

Dr Williams told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One: “It seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of sharia are already recognised in our society and under our law, so it is not as if we are bringing in an alien and rival system. We already have in this country a number of situations in which the internal law of religious communities is recognised by the law of the land as justifying conscientious objections in certain circumstances.”

He added: “There is a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law as we already do with aspects of other kinds of religious law.”


The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the Government had moved to accommodate some aspects of sharia law, such as stamp duty on mortgages (without special provision, the tax would be payable twice), but declared: “The Prime Minister believes British law should apply in this country, based on British values.”

–The Independent, February 8, 2008, Archbishop of Canterbury warns sharia law in Britain is inevitable

Then in July, the Lord Chief Justice chimed in:

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice, strongly backed Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, over his suggestion earlier this year that aspects of sharia should be adopted in Britain.

The archbishop’s remarks sparked a national debate and led to calls for his resignation.

Risking inflaming that controversy again, Lord Phillips has said that Muslims in Britain should be able to use sharia to decide financial and marital disputes.

The judge did add that only the criminal courts should have the power to decide when a crime has been committed and when to impose punishment.

But his suggestion that different religious groups should run their affairs according to different rules sparked warnings that community cohesion could be undermined.

Now, The Daily Express, The Times of London, The Telegraph, and The Brussels Journal are all reporting that Sharia law has already been operating in Britain. All these publications are conservative, but facts are facts. The Daily Mail has a particularly good summary of the entire situation.

From The Times of September 14, 2008:

ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

Previously, the rulings of sharia courts in Britain could not be enforced, and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

It has now emerged that sharia courts with these powers have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester with the network’s headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Two more courts are being planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the courts, said he had taken advantage of a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996.

Under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.

Siddiqi said: “We realised that under the Arbitration Act we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals. This method is called alternative dispute resolution, which for Muslims is what the sharia courts are.”

The next day, the Daily Express reported on the backlash as it was revealed that Sharia Courts had already heard “more than 100 cases.”

Labour last night faced a backlash over claims the Government had quietly sanctioned powers for Sharia judges.


Last night MPs and pressure groups said the courts would divide the British legal system.

Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: “These tribunals have no place in passing binding decisions in divorce or criminal justice hearings. Far from handling more criminal cases they should be handling none at all.”

Douglas Murray, director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: “I think it’s appalling. I don’t think arbitration that is done by Sharia should ever be endorsed or enforced by the British state.”


Until now the rulings of Sharia courts in Britain could not be enforced and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

From the Telegraph:

It has also emerged that tribunal courts have settled six cases of domestic violence between married couples, working in tandem with the police investigations.


There are concerns for women suffering under the Islamic laws, which favours men. Mr Siddiqi said that in a recent inheritance dispute handled by the court in Nuneaton, the estate of a Midlands man was divided between three daughters and two sons.

The judges on the panel gave the sons twice as much as the daughters, in accordance with sharia.

Had the family gone to a normal British court, the daughters would have got equal amounts. In the six cases of domestic violence, Mr Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders.

There was no further punishment. In each case, the women subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police and the police stopped their investigations.

Mr Siddiqi said that in the domestic violence cases, the advantage was that marriages were saved and couples given a second chance.

So far, no good.

Srdja Trifkovic writing in Chronicles, a Magazine of American Culture (a scholarly publication devoted to “Western Christian civilization”), discusses why the introduction of Sharia Law differs from Jewish and Catholic courts and tribunals that exist in Britain and expresses fears about the future:

Muslim activists point out that allegedly similar Jewish family courts (Bet Din) and Catholic marriage tribunals have existed in Britain for many years, but there is a major difference: such courts explicitly claim jurisdiction only over their believers, whereas according to orthodox Islamic teaching shari’a is the only legitimate law in the world, with universal jurisdiction over Muslims and non-Muslims alike. To a devout Muslim the incorporation of shari’a into British law is by no means the end of the affair. It is merely a major milestone on the road that cannot stop short of subjecting all Britons, regardless of faith, to the strictures of Allah’s commandment and Muhammad’s example. The Islamic law, the Shari’a, is not a supplement to the “secular” legal code, it is the only such code and the only basis of obligation (Kuran 4:8).

Only time will tell, of course, if the tensions between government and Sharia law that are described above will actually increase to this extent.

Britain, of course, is not the only place where there’s a push for Sharia law.  Canada has had it’s own controversy, and, of course, there’s Kenya, where Obama’s “cousin” Raila Odinga is a proponent. In 2006, the Justice MInister of the Netherlands expressed being open to Sharia Law.

What about the U.S.? The Second District Court of Appeals in Texas, of all places, has adjudicated a case involving arbitration of a Sharia Law agreement which a few conservative sites like this one have seen the case as the first step onto a slippery slope; here is the actual court ruling so you can judge for yourselves. I think this is a different situation though…the judge upheld the provisions of an arbitrated contract, but the judge isn’t using Sharia to uphold the ruling and Sharia isn’t enshrined in the legal system…at least, that’s what I take away from the ruling. But it’s clear that Sharia Law is being conducted here, like everywhere else. It’s just a question of if and when pressure mounts to have it made part of the legal system in places where there are large Muslim populations here.

It seems to me that the introduction of Sharia Law could easily create a class of women with fewer rights within Britain.  The question is, why should Muslim women in Britain suffer from treatment that other women in Britain do not have to experience?  Would you feel comfortable witih this sort of thing here?  I know I sure wouldn’t. It’s bad enough hearing cases involving women who have been subjugated by husbands or church doctrines…but having unequal treatment applied to a whole segment of the population based on religious law?    Gives me the shivers..

And reminds me of “The Handmaid’s Tale“….


NOTE: For an overview on how Sharia Law is being followed in the financial world, including the U.S., see “The Zero Percent Solution” (11/4/2007) in the Boston Globe.

Information on Margaret Atwood and “The Handmaid’s Tale”

19 Responses

  1. I have to admit G that this piece scares the hell out of me.

    That GB would accept Sharia Law is something I would have never believed would come to pass in the country that gave the world the Magna Carta. I cannot believe that the women of England will stand for this now that it’s out in the open.

    The women of the free world better quit their damn bickering over who is or is not a “feminist” and worry about crap like this. Or we’ll all find ourselves in bondage to the men in our lives as our grandmothers and other female ancestors were just a short time ago.
    This is scary stuff!

  2. Oi. Not good. Not good at all. I think if Obama wins, the same sort of thing will be proposed in places like Michigan, where there is a large Muslim population.

    The Obama/Biden ticket gives me absolutely ZERO confidence in confirming the status, dignity, and honor of women. I think these men honestly believe women are a places to put their penes, people who bring them coffee, and props to their own egos.

    BTW, did you mean to write “Palin and Hillary” in your headline?

  3. Darn it! I forgot my McKinney/Clemente plug.

  4. i hope this post gets picked up and disseminated widely…!!

  5. EA…thanks….boy, I was up so late doing it, I missed that!!

    My aging eyes don’t catch things like they used to…..

  6. This is why I keep warning young women who never fought for the rights that have–and think they will always be there—that electing Barack Obama means they will have much bigger things to worry about than Roe V Wade.

    He disrespects women and he SURROUNDs himself with people from countries that have no problem burying women alive, setting them aflame and shooting them on site. This “World” view for America is a fatal danger for women. Look at the behaviors of his young sycophants toward women on the internet. He is indoctrinating them by inciting them.

    Sharia is infiltrating Europe bit by bit and we must lay down ALL to make sure it doesn’t happen to us.

    As we speak a man is in jail in Georgia for killing his daughter who refused to be in an arranged marriage with an old man.

    In Texas, two daughters were murdered by their father and one of them was on 911 as he was killing her. The mother and son believe they got what they deserved. The murdering bastard can’t be found because his fellow Sharia friends are hiding him. And I don’t see the USA working too hard to find him either.

    We women MUST make a statement on November 4. It’s imperative!

  7. Uppity,
    I read about those cases but stuck to the legal issues discussed in the press…but you’re exactly right…this crap is everywhere and Obama is not to be trusted…I mentioned his Odinga ties, which are creepy and wrote about them months ago….

    This guy must not win!!

  8. Enter the Burning Times all over again – again in the name of patriarchal religions. I agree with Uppity – women must make the statement on election day – and thereafter. We cannot go to sleep again and must stay vigilant.

  9. Britain not only admits citizens of its former Empire nations automatically, but like much of Europe, Britain wanted cheap labor. Enter hordes of Muslims, and whole villages have become their enclaves. Cheap labor, Europe? I guess you’re learning that you get what you pay for.

    Here’s how thr Muslims work it. Immigrate, Populate, Don’t Integrate.

  10. Yes, Mary, you are right on the mark! England has had a huge influx of Muslims. One of the articles I posted (I think) had poll results….while under 50% of young Muslims there want Sharia, 30-40% apparently do…

  11. Very scary stuff.

  12. Holy Crap! Every time I open an internet browser I find myself wondering if somehow we have managed to revive the 1950 with modern technology. Race relations, gender relations, unions, the middle class – everything seems like that odd movie (sorry I can’t think of the name right now) where the characters are mysteriously sucked into an old TV show and have to try to adapt to living in a world where women, Hispanics, and blacks have no real rights and are not taken seriously.

    Uppity Woman is dead on the mark – women need to speak with a RESOUNDING voice on November 4th if we want to ever be able to speak again. Barack Obama will bring change, alright. Just not change that any sane person (other than corporate CEOs and rich white males) would want. And he’ll bring hope, too; the hope that we can get our society back to where it was before he appeared on the scene. Yikes!

  13. I was just viewing pics of devastation at the Marriott Resort in Pakistan on AOL.

    I will fight Muslim law with every fiber of my being.

    It’s turning back the calendar thousands of years. Think Biblical days.

    US prisons are chock full of Muslim converts, because they get out of jail to ray more often.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  14. Sorry – they get out of their cells to pray more often.

  15. Well I hate to burst your bubble,

    but supporting Mussolini/Stalin type of SuperMOM role model, the new American MUTTERKIND, a.k.a. the extreme Right Wing machine,

    is JUST as complimentary to the establishing of Sharia Law as Obama’s left wing-Pan-Islamist alliance is.




    That foundation was laid First and Why, there IS no revolt against it, Why Should their be? After all, misogyny and patriarchy reign supreme in UK,


    you KILL liberalism and feminism by pandering to extreme fascist right wing anti-feminism, even IF in doing so to voice objection against the other form of misogyny [nationalist Stalinism with Pan Islamism],

    you’re doing the exact same thing…welcoming Sharia. Whether you know it or not,

    Medievalism compliments Medievalism. The TWO are twins on the same damn quarter. So either way,

    we’ll wind up with Sharia here. When Women are willing to betray women, willing to kiss the asses of men who want women under their thumb,

    can you Really be surprised, seriously? Feminism, true feminism, liberation from misogyny and PATRIARCHY, is DEAD. Sold out–to save ‘material privilege’.

    Today its Christian Talibanism, tomorrow it will be like South America where women with ten starving and dying kids will be the norm [but hey, the pedophiles will Love it, why go overseas to Thailand when there will be plenty of poor street kids to rape here with forced pregnancies and no services or housing or jobs]

    and then, it will be Sharia–in America, polygamy is Already being discussed in legal channels, and HOW?


    Don’t forget, its your capitalists who are bringing the Somalians and Egyptians over to work in companies, Swift Beef ring a bell? Who are DEMANDING COMPLIANCE TO SHARIA–forcing low income women, with children, to work Doubles on weekends leaving kids home alone with no childcare–to Keep their jobs [you know cuzz got to protect that fetus but fuck childcare, thats an evil communist thing]



    Pope or Mullah, take your damn pick,

    THIS IS WHAT AMERICAN WOMEN OBVIOUSLY WANT, so why the complaining, seriously?

    Or did you really think, that selling out half of the countries women into more misogynist policies [cuts in domestic violence programs, cuts in rape crisis centers, forcing pregnancy by taking away not just abortion but birth control–and its happening in one state Right now, under the Republicans as we speak–and if raped, too damn bad, you gonna have that baby and if you can’t take care of it,

    your fault–you lazy, or haven’t you heard?]

    did you really think–that it won’t come back to Bite all women in the ass?

    You suck up to patriarchy–expect it, doesn’t matter WHAT RELIGION ITS CLOTHED IN–

    you kill liberalism and feminism [and sucking dick to appease dick Politically speaking is killing feminism, you know, being what the Boys LOVE],

    you pave the way to Sharia eventually. SOCIETY THAT SEES NO ISSUE WITH TREATING WOMEN SECOND CLASS,


    mark my words on this, Obama or McCain–we’ll have Sharia here–because the Patriarchy doesn’t give a DAMN one way or another. One will sell you out for nationalism

    the other for capitalism.



    women only have themselves to Blame.

  16. Excuse me…is this a pro-Obama rant? Because it won’t be bought here….

  17. HI,

    Just came over from RD’s place.

    It didn’t sound to me like Natasha was endorsing any candidate.

    I agree with what she said about Patriarchy and I think her connection between Christian Churches and Sharia law is intriging and terrifying at the same time.

    I strongly disagree that we have “only ourselves to blame.” I’m tired of women blaming other women.

  18. Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)

    I say they all need membership in RAWA, but we need to start our own chapter here in the states:
    Revolutionary Association of the Women of America (RAWA)

    From NOW on every politico should be asked if they support Sharia Law and it they hemm and ha…there will be out of there…no more support for misogyny!

    A 12-y-old girl is gang-raped by warlords in Northern Afghanistan

    The above video shows how Sharia Law doesn’t protect women and how that too affects the whole family. Will we allow this to come to here in the US? Lets organize NOW!

  19. She started out by saying we “endorsed” Palin…

    “but supporting Mussolini/Stalin type of SuperMOM role model, the new American MUTTERKIND, a.k.a. the extreme Right Wing machine,

    is JUST as complimentary to the establishing of Sharia Law as Obama’s left wing-Pan-Islamist alliance is.”

    We have never endorsed Palin, but we DO ENDORSE FAIR TREATMENT!

    I got the feeling that immediately comparing it to Obama’s allliances wasn’t necessary and it gave me an impression of some “defensiveness.” I may have been wrong…but I just got that sense that the hostility was mainly dumped on Palin-McCain.


    Other points made about patriarchy were on the mark.

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