Sunday, 7 September 2008

Official sharia law court is up and running in Nuneaton.

I've just received an email from fellow blogger Harry Hook of the Final Redoubt blog. He's a bit too busy to blog at the moment so he has pointed me in the direction of a very interesting (and controversial) story. Before I go any further I want to point out that neither Harry (to my knowledge) or I are raving anti Muslim loons. I am however worried that we could be running two very different systems of law. We have a system of law in this country and it should apply to every citizen regardless of race, colour, sex or religion.

This story is running in the Sunday Mercury, you can read the article by clicking HERE.

11 comments:

Harry Hook said...

I just had enough time for the usual daft post... but not enough to do this one justice. It looks like they will be handling criminal cases with only an obligation to mention it to the police. So, what's going to happen to those poor women trying to escape homicidal relatives out for a honour killing? If she goes to our police and court system, there's a good chance she'll be referred back to the Hijaz College.

Harry Hook said...

"No criminal matters can be considered by sharia arbitrators and no corporal punishment can be imposed." ...at the moment.

"The tribunal can, however, adjudicate on cases of domestic violence – with a requirement to pass details to the police." ...well, we all know what's going to happen there, don't we children.

Harry Hook said...

Thanks Steve.

Letters From A Tory said...

British laws for everyone - simple, effective and fair.

Any questions?

Dave Cole said...

The interesting thing here is the use of the world 'official'. It is not an obligatory court; its official status derives from, er, the law of England and Wales. There are already plenty of examples of this sort of thing. It is voluntary; both parties have to consent to the arbitration before it can proceed and any compulsion or pressure would, on appeal to a county court, invalidate the judgment outright.

Harry Hook - where is the evidence that they will be handling criminal cases? As they are arbitrative, they have no ability to do so. In the instance you give, the initial proceeding would be in a magistrates' court (entirely possibly under a DJ rather than a bench) and swiftly passed to a crown court. There's no way it could get to an arbitrative body.

Nor is the application of religion to arbitration processes. Battei din have been around in the UK for some time. I hope this puts an end to Harry Hook's 'slippery slope' argument in his second comment.

In answer to Letters from a Tory, there is no such thing as British law. There is Scottish law and there is English & Welsh law. In any case, the principle, as I understand it, is that everything is permitted that is not specifically prohibited. Just because you don't like the way someone conducts their life does not mean you have the right to interfere in it. This is a use of an existing piece of legislation in a novel way. The only ways I can see justification of interference, assuming that you're not interfering just because they're Muslim, is either scrapping all arbitrative processes and insisting, effectively, that the state is a party to all contracts or saying that there is an inherent compulsion in this process. Do you have any evidence of that?

I find this kind of thing somewhat disheartening. This isn't running two different systems of law at all as the one is subject to the provisions of the other and the other has specifically allowed the one limited competences in some areas.

xD.

Harry Hook said...

"Harry Hook - where is the evidence that they will be handling criminal cases? "

Well... er... again... "The tribunal can, however, adjudicate on cases of domestic violence – with a requirement to pass details to the police." ...sort of suggests to me that... the word... violence... means er... criminal behaviour... and this suggests that they're going to become heavily involved in the honour killing situation. If you researched a little more... http://www.hijaz.co.uk/news.php, ... you will find that views are being expressed like "Shaykh Faiz Siddiqi, a barrister and a leading community figure, said the resentment and alienation created by forced marriages drove young British Muslims towards extremism." which is complete bollox... and "British Muslim lawyers said Thursday they had decided to take matters into their own hands with a radical plan to combat the forced marriage "crisis" in their community.

Backed by heavyweight Shaykh's and muftis, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) proposed setting up their own system to tackle the widespread culture of forced marriages between British Muslims and spouses from South Asia."

So it looks like Hijaz College is leading the way for all issues effecting Muslims to be dealt with in-house.

Dave Cole said...

Harry,

There are two potential outcomes from domestic violence that are not mutually exclusive. One is a civil action for divorce or some form of arbitration. The other is a criminal action which would be taken forward by the CPS. The Hijaz College would carry out the civil part and automatically refer the case to the police for further investigation prior to passing it to the CPS for prosecution. Nowhere is there the suggestion that the Hijaz College is going to try to enter into the criminal domain; indeed, they are specifically saying that they will pass anything criminal onto the proper authorities.

You said:

'"Shaykh Faiz Siddiqi, a barrister and a leading community figure, said the resentment and alienation created by forced marriages drove young British Muslims towards extremism." which is complete bollox'

The gentleman you mention, Faiz Siddiqi, is a member of Lincoln's Inn. While I cannot be absolutely sure, I am reasonably confident, given that he practices at the bar, I rather suspect that the Bar Commission would have words to say if he was acting outside the law in any way.

Your counter to Siddiqi is that he is talking "complete bollox". How eloquent your argument! How silvered your tongue! I don't know, to be honest, whether Siddiqi is right or not. However, if you look at their report on liberation from forced marriages, it would seem to suggest that they acknowledge the existence of the problem and are trying to do something about it. I'd add that s6.2 of that document emphasises that submissions to the MAT on this issue must be voluntary.

You seem to be mistaking offering a service in a manner already permitted by the law of England and Wales with its imposition. I suggest that, were there any suggestion of imposition, the whole kit and caboodle would be shut down with despatch.

xD.

Dave Cole said...

Sorry - forgot to tick the email follow up comments box before.

Harry Hook said...

Dave said,

"Your counter to Siddiqi is that he is talking "complete bollox". How eloquent your argument! How silvered your tongue!"

Archbishop Cranmer has also complimented me in the past... thanks. Can I use your quote as an endorsement on my blog? You have to understand, that one can get a little light headed getting all this legal advice for free.

"I don't know, to be honest, whether Siddiqi is right or not."

again...
"Shaykh Faiz Siddiqi, a barrister and a leading community figure, said the resentment and alienation created by forced marriages drove young British Muslims towards extremism."

So... you can't decide whether or not extreme Islam is throwing people into the arms of extreme Islam? Mmmmmh, I bow to your superior powers of reasoning.

"I suggest that, were there any suggestion of imposition, the whole kit and caboodle would be shut down with despatch."

You can suggest all you like... I would still put serious money on the fact that any imposition would be met with acquiescence by our present political and judicial system.

Cheers.

Dave Cole said...

Harry,

You're very welcome to use the line. I am no great legal expert - don't pretend to be - but I simply don't see this as either novel or threatening. You quoted me as saying "I don't know, to be honest, whether Siddiqi is right or not." That was with reference to his efforts to prevent forced marriages; however, he is doing something that does not seem unreasonable and may, indeed, help the situation.

"So... you can't decide whether or not extreme Islam is throwing people into the arms of extreme Islam? Mmmmmh, I bow to your superior powers of reasoning."

Why do you think that the College and the MAT are extreme? It doesn't seem to be, judging by their websites. I'm asking honestly; I don't see it.

"You can suggest all you like... I would still put serious money on the fact that any imposition would be met with acquiescence by our present political and judicial system."

If that's your point of view, fair enough; I don't share it.

xD.

Harry Hook said...

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/christopher_howse/blog/2008/09/14/criminal_sharia_judgments

"In six cases of domestic violence, according to Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment."

This goes with what I originally said about the domestic violence issue. The Sharia Court dealt solely with these criminal offences and it looks like there was no further involvement of the police or judiciary.

Expect Dave Cole and Plod to shut down the whole kit and caboodle with despatch... very soon... way to go Dave.

DC said...
"Why do you think that the College and the MAT are extreme? It doesn't seem to be, judging by their websites. I'm asking honestly; I don't see it."

I didn't say or think that. I just pointed out the fact that we are being told that excessive aspects of Muslim family life... e.g. forced marriage... are being given as the reason for young Muslims embracing extreme forms of Islam. I believe that only the most die hard PC loon would believe such a thing. What IS fanning the flames, is ideology and power... and sadly the sure knowledge that Western civilisation is in decline.

DC... the Beth din argument is a red herring... I don't remember any rabid Rabbis wanting to turn Britain into a Kibbutz... or threatening Macca for taking his guitar and purple hair to Israel.