"Hvis frihed overhovedet betyder noget, så betyder det retten til at fortælle folk det, de ikke vil høre"

George Orwell

8 March Seminar on Sharia Law in Britain

16. marts 2010 - Artikel - af Maryam Namazie

One Law for All held a seminar on Sharia Law on Monday 8 March 2010 at Conway Hall in London to mark International Women’s Day

The seminar brought together Muslims, ex-Muslims, women’s rights campaigners, lawyers and politicians to outline the problems women and children in particular face at the Muslim Arbitration Tribunals and Sharia Councils and to propose recommendations for prohibiting religious tribunals and bringing about equal rights for all.

Speakers at the seminar included: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (British Muslims for Secular Democracy); Yassi Atasheen (One Law for All); Clara Connolly (Women Against Fundamentalism); Ismail Einashe (One Law for All); Denis MacShane (MP); Rony Miah (Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and Lawyers’ Secular Society); Maryam Namazie (One Law for All) and Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters).

The seminar highlighted the discriminatory and arbitrary nature of Sharia courts. Under Sharia law, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s; she does not have the right to child custody after a prescribed age regardless of the child’s welfare. A woman has limited rights to divorce whereas men have unilateral rights to divorce. Men can marry up to four wives, and, in the Shia tradition, have as many temporary wives as they want as well. Women cannot even sign their own marriage contract; a male guardian must sign it on their behalf and so on and so forth. And it is not just under Sharia. The case of a woman who had finally received a divorce after 40 years from the Jewish Beth Dinn was given as an example of the discriminatory nature of all religious courts.

Panellists exposed the links between the rise of the political Islamic movement and Sharia courts. Given the level of pressure, threats and intimidation involved, a number of speakers questioned the voluntary nature of these courts. Moreover, there was concern that Sharia courts will encourage other religious courts and shrink the secular spaces available to women.

Panellists then discussed ways in which religious courts could be prohibited. A working group is to be set up to draft an amendment to the Arbitration Act to prevent religious arbitration in civil matters. This was successfully done in Ontario Province Canada to stop all religious tribunals. One Law for All campaigners though stressed the need to stop not just Muslim Arbitration Tribunals but Sharia Councils as well given that both are denying women the rights fought for and wrestled from the church by progressive social movements over centuries.

One Law for All will be publishing a report on the seminar findings, which will be made available on our website. Upcoming campaign events include an art competition, a June 20 rally, a September 26 fundraising concert, a December 11 conference on Sharia law and apostasy and continued campaigning work on the issue.

To support the campaign, and to sign on to its petition, visit the website.

Maryam Namazie is Spokesperson for the One Law for All Campaign.

Der er lukket for flere kommentarer til dette indlæg