Recap from part one

In the first part of this article we started to look at the issues involved in this debate with information on the start of the modern debate on whether sharia should be part of the British legal system.  We then started to look at what sharia actually meant in the life of the Muslim and how this was portrayed by advocates of sharia from what is termed moderate Muslims.  We stayed

away from the more aggressive and vocal advocates of sharia in the UK (or elsewhere).  But in these articles we are looking at the more acceptable face of sharia.  This is because it is this more acceptable voice of sharia that is being used to insidiously introduce us to, and get us to get used to sharia as am every day term which does not pose a threat to our way of life.

The like of Anjem Choudary may or may not be known to many British people.  But he is

probably the face of radical Islam’ in the UK that most people are used to seeing in the media.  Yet we regulatory hear from `moderate’ Muslims that he does not represent them or Islam.  The questions is then to be asked if he does not represent Islam who or what does he represent?

It is easy to reject Choudary and his message in favour of the message of Abed Awad is it not?  Certainly if you knew little or nothing about what sharia is (which is the case for 95% of non Muslims) you would think Awad’s message was very reasonable and held no threat at all when it came to Western culture and the freedoms it imparts to every individual that lives under it’s shade.

We are nurtured and molded by the British way of life which is a life of shared values under

the law and protected by the law.  These values allow Choudary, Awad and me to hold differing views on life and be committed to a different world and life view.  It allows us to express ourselves freely under the law, but it also allows us to reject values that are not compatible to the values that mold British society.  We should be thankful that these freedoms are what makes us who we are.

It would behold us to listen to Muhammad Syed on this matter which is very enlightening before we go further.

What sharia actually means to Muslims 

The right wants to ban it in America, but do they even know what it is?  This is another interesting interview on this subject where he again seeks to convince us that sharia really

Abed Awad

does not have anything to do with anything outside matrimonial and financial disputes.  This piece is a gross failure of a journalist to act like a journalist.       What he should have said was: `Please in your own words give us the most positive spin on sharia law that you can.’  It is obvious that if pieces like this continue we will never know what it is.  The rhetoric and misinformation continues.  Go back to the sources and basis of sharia and ask the above questions and see if sharia is compatible to Western values and freedoms.

`Sharia is more than simply “law” in the prescriptive sense. It is also a methodology through which a jurist engages the religious texts to ascertain divine will. As a jurist-made law, the outcome of this process of ascertaining divine will is called fiqh (positive law), which is the moral and legal anchor of a Muslim’s total existence. Sharia governs every aspect of an observant Muslim’s life. The sharia juristic inquiry begins with the Quran and the Sunna. The Quran is the Muslim Holy Scripture — like the New Testament for Christians or the Old Testament for the Jews. The Sunna is essentially the prophetic example embodied in the sayings and conduct of the Prophet Mohammed.’

A couple of things shine through here.  The consistent claim that sharia is based on (or rather is) the core Islamic `rule books’.  The other consistent pattern is the attempt to convince America (and the world) that sharia law is some harmless set of religious laws that do not need to be feared.  This is a deception of the worst kind as we in the UK have found out to our great regret and shame when we allowed sharia law to operate within Muslim communities.

Difference between Sharia and UK (and Western) law

`How is Shariah law different from American law?
We need to keep in mind that the American system is a modern nation state legal system, which is a product of the post- Enlightenment revolution and transformations of Western societies. The Sharia is a pre-Enlightenment legal system that served Muslim

Rule of Law the basis of any society - but what law?

Rule of Law the basis of any society – but what law?

communities for 1300 years efficiently and effectively. The objective social, political and economic historical context for each system must be considered to better understand their similarities and differences. I don’t think you have enough space in this interview to do this topic justice. However, the lively debates that are raging in the Arab world post the Arab Spring about the role of sharia in the modern nation state are fascinating. The modern manifestations of sharia are ongoing and evolving. Be that as it may, the American system is different in that the anchor for the Sharia is moral, while the anchor in the modern Western legal is the separation between the moral and the legal. In the end, both systems strive to discover the truth and dispense justice. Each system, however, tries to reach this ultimate objective via different path.

This section must be handled with clarity as it gets to the core of the issue. To a certain extent how he describes Western legal systems is correct:

`a modern nation-state legal system, which is a product of the post- Enlightenment revolution and transformations of Western societies’.

But here again, he is choosing his words very cleverly with keywords that will resonate in the hearts and minds of his target audience: post- Enlightenment  evolution … transformations of Western societies.  This is very subtle as it is deftly taking us away from the roots of our legal system which is grounded in the Judeo-Christian culture and legal system  (although he does mention this elsewhere in interviews but only in passing).  Much of which is still very much part of our legal system and culture.  The wording implies that the Judeo-Christian world and life view has little relevance to modern Western culture and legal systems therefore not even worth mentioning since we have cast it aside as part of this enlightenment.  He may or may not succeed in his objective.

`The Sharia is a pre-Enlightenment legal system that served Muslim communities for 1300 years efficiently and effectively.

He is highlighting here the difference between pre-Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment.

He is asking us to remember that sharia goes back 1300 years and has served Islam very well, it has been sufficient because it was efficient and effective (and continues to be so) for Muslims since the beginning of Islam.     Sharia is based on a religious and legal code that dates back at least 1300 years without significant development or change.

Sharia is grounded and rooted in the  foundational religious texts (Quran and Sunna)  and that the jurist engages with these foundational religious texts to ascertain divine will.  Since he is probably the pre-eminent expert on sharia in the US we can accept his word for it.  Sharia is an antiquated judicial system not fit for purpose in the 21st century as we are dealing with a 7th century religious and legal system which is mostly incompatible with Western cultural and legal systems.  It is something Western societies left behind a long time ago.

The Arab Spring is leading to a reformation in sharia?

He seeks to silence our alarm bells with the following comment:

`the lively debates that are raging in the Arab world post the Arab Spring about the role of sharia in the modern nation state are fascinating

This is very clever indeed.  He is smoothing over our fears and concerns, and I would say downright alarm, by implying that there is some sort of debate going on within Islam about the modernisation of a 1300-year-old antiquated system that is not fit for purpose for our modern world.

Yet this is not happening in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey or the Gulf (the center of Islamic culture and thought).  Rather than a modernising effect we see a reaffirmation of the traditional Islamic position.  He finds it fascinating, I find it horrifying.

The question then is whether `western’ Muslims are going to lead the way?  Or will they follow the center?  There seems to be no doubt they will follow the center.  After all America Muslims are led by the Muslim Brotherhood and they are firmly in the traditionalist Islamic camp (I do not think there is such a thing as two differing schools of thought).  So where is this reforming movement that he clearly dangles before us to calm our fears?

We keep hearing from moderate Muslims that beating of wives, cutting off of hands, killing some one because they leave Islam, killing someone because of their sexuality, killing a woman for adultery, child marriages (as young as 9 years of age, or when the child reaches pubity), persecution and killing of non Muslims.  Things all contained in these primary sources of authority that are quoted as forming the basis of the Muslim’s very being.  That these things have no place in a modern society and modern Islam.  When will we hear that these things were wrong then, and are wrong now, or even that in no shape or form can they be relevant to a modern society that is based on rule of law (that everyone is protected under) and individuals freedom?  How can it be said when the Koran is seen as the eternal word and law of Allah, binding to all ages: efficient and effective according to Abed Awad.

Sharia law in Britain today

Battle has been joined

The battle for the heart and soul of the UK has been joined.  We now have a nation within a nation (as Trevor Philips has put it).  This nation within a nation has been seeking to erode the British commitment to rule of law and the right for each individual to live their lives as they see fit under this common set of agreed values.  These freedoms have been hard won over hundreds of years and has led us on a journey that has given each individual the freedom to believe in a God or not to believe in a God,  to be able to think and express a life and worldview that may be contrary to others life and worldviews.  A society that has freedom of expression even if this offends others.  A society that believes in the rights of women as well as men to receive equality of treatment in all spheres of life (protected under the law).  A society that believes every individual must live by, and is protected by, the laws of the land (without exception).  A society that believes that no one is outside of the pale when it comes to this equality and that no one has the right to take these freedoms and rights away from any individual.

The Muslim community in the UK and Western values

Moderate Muslims in the UK maintain that Muslims have embraced liberal Western values and that they are as committed to them as any non-Muslim would be except for a small, but vocal, minority.  But is this the case?

Poll reveals 40pc of Muslims want sharia law in UK

Four out of 10 British Muslims want sharia law introduced into parts of the country, a survey reveals today.

The ICM opinion poll also indicates that a fifth have sympathy with the “feelings and motives” of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7, killing 52 people, although 99 per cent thought the bombers were wrong to carry out the atrocity.

 Overall, the findings depict a Muslim community becoming more radical and feeling more alienated from mainstream society, even though 91 per cent still say they feel loyal to Britain.

So 40% of British Muslims (that is 1,200,000!) want sharia law throughout the UK.  Why?  They do not believe that Western cultural values match up to their own therefore they need to impose their own values on the UK.  As I argue in Shari’a Law & American Courts – Islamic Supremacism it is a rejection of our values because their values are far superior to Western values. Nothing more or less than Islamic Supremacism.

If this is not worrying enough a fifth have sympathy with the “feelings and motives” of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7, killing 52 people (that is 600,000).  It is shocking that 600,000 have admitted that they feel this way.  Yet we are assured that everything is fine and London/England is a model to be held up to the rest of the world as an example.  It leads to the question: An example to what?

Whole sections of the Muslim community in the UK are becoming more radical and feeling more alienated from mainstream society.  This is exactly what Trevor Philips is telling us (see below).

The new London mayor Sadiq Khan has argued that British Muslims by and large have integrated well and have accepted Western (British) culture well.  Yet it is reported:

Last night, Sadiq Khan, the Labour MP involved with the official task force set up after the July attacks, said the findings were “alarming”. He added: “Vast numbers of Muslims feel disengaged and alienated from mainstream British society.” Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “This poll confirms the widespread opposition among British Muslims to the so-called war on terror.”

The most startling finding is the high level of support for applying sharia law in “predominantly Muslim” areas of Britain.

This tells us mainstream Muslims have not proudly embraced Western liberal culture. At least 40% are unwilling to embrace our legal system and want sharia instead.  Are they mainstream Muslims that we do not have to worry about, or are they becoming increasingly radicalised as the report suggests?

One Law for All

Britain’s justice system should be the same for all

Extending sharia threatens to create a parallel legal system

This is the title of an article in the Telegraph and it reflects the view of the British public despite the repeated assurances from the Muslim community that sharia is compatible and in compliance with British law evidence is growing that this is not the case. The article argues that:

Promoting sharia is part of the radicals’ anti-integration agenda. Now, as we report today, the Law Society is issuing new guidance for solicitors in drawing up “sharia compliant” wills that conform to Islamic law. This is a worrying development because sharia disadvantages women, children involved in custody battles, illegitimate or adopted heirs, and a significant number of men who, for one reason or another, fall foul of its precepts.

The Law Society was overstepping its remit by seeking to introduce these guidelines and it begs the question whether they actually understood the law.

The cross-bench peer Baroness Cox campaigns for the rights of Muslim women and is concerned that some women in Britain experience serious problems as a result of the application of sharia. She has described the Law Society’s guidelines as “deeply disturbing”. Anything that validates a parallel legal system is indeed concerning. Many reasonable people will feel that sharia, which unapologetically discriminates against women, is incompatible with British ideas of fairness and decency. Britain’s legal system has its roots in Judaeo-Christian morality. It is, or should be, a single system of law that applies to everyone. That is the most fundamental principle of British justice.

Our society welcomes diversity, but this should not mean adopting legal practices that are hostile to our values. As long ago as 1215, with the sealing of Magna Carta, England took its first steps towards equality for all under the law. It would be very sad if the 800th anniversary of that historic event next year found us in retreat from this vital principle.

This analysis is telling about the dangers of sharia.  Our legal system is a result of hundreds of years of struggle and development and we cannot abandon our legal system which would set us back hundreds of years.

The Express reports on:

A private members bill due to be voted on today would stop religious organisations from pretending to be able to act as a court when they have no legal…Around 85 Sharia courts are thought to exist in Britain and the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill, first introduced by Baroness Caroline Cox, which has already been passed in the Lords, will also force them to stop discriminating against women.

Bid to ban Muslims from replacing UK law with Sharia courts to be put before MPs TODAY

The bill was first introduced by humanitarian campaigner Baroness Caroline Cox amid concerns over “systematic” discrimination against women in these quasi-legal systems including Sharia courts.

She said: “Today MPs get the opportunity to help women whose suffering would make the suffragettes turn in their graves. Countless victims of religiously-sanctioned gender discrimination are being treated as second class citizens, no better than the chattels of their husbands.

The Suffragettes will be turning in their graves

The above articles are representative of the press coverage of this issue and it is obvious that Britain is finally waking up to the dangers that sharia poses to the whole fabric of our society.

One Law for All  campaign for the total ban of sharia in the UK.  As you can see from the picture below there are more than one organisation seeking this end.  It is worth looking at a press release for a recent conference:

On Saturday 30 April 2016, women’s rights campaigners will speak at a “Conference on Sharia Law, Legal Pluralism and Access to Justice” in central London from 11:30am-5:30pm.

The conference proceeds correspondence with the Government following a hand delivered letter to 10 Downing Street on 10 December 2015 signed by nearly 400 individuals and organisations urging David Cameron to hold an inquiry into and dismantle discriminatory Sharia courts and other religious arbitration forums.Conference with New Evidence on Sharia Courts in Britain and Adverse effects of Legal Pluralism for Women

At the conference, and for the first time in the UK, Humanist Muslim Elham Manea, a professor at the University of Zurich, will present the finding of her soon to be published book: “Women And Sharia Law: The Impact Of Legal Pluralism In The UK,” which includes first-hand analysis of the Islamic Sharia councils and Muslim arbitration tribunals in various British cities, interviews with experts on extremism, lawyers, politicians and activists in civil society and women’s rights groups. She will offer a scathing critique of legal pluralism, with evidence of its connections with Islamism and the adverse consequences for women in Muslim communities

CEMB were the sponsors of this conference and it is well worth looking through the information and reports they have on this issue.

Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

This organisation gives a wealth of information on Islam but especially as it relates to people who leave Islam in the UK.

The Clarion Project

The Clarion Project

UK Report: Muslim Women Being Abused By Sharia Law Courts

It beholds us to take heed of what is happening around us.  If we turn a blind eye to what is happening right in front of us we are culpable.  But it is not without consequences.   Britain has a long history of standing for freedom and what is right and it beholds us to continue this tradition.

The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing

Originally posted 2016-05-25 14:32:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Lived and worked in Muslim-majority countries for over 12 years while working in the international development sector as a senior director/manager. This included South East Asia, East, and West Africa (including the Horn of Africa), the Middle East and Afghanistan. Main interests in life is the study of Political Islam and how this has interacted with non-Islamic civilisations, especially Judeo-Christian civilisations, in history and currently.

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