A controversial review into the state of Sharia law in the United Kingdom and the bodies administering it has revealed the British government to be unaware of exactly how many of the Islamic law councils are operating in the country, reports Breitbart News.
There has been evidence of a systemic discrimination against women, including a victim coming forward saying she was forced to marry and was asked to appear alongside her family, with an “inappropriate” adoption of civil legal terms used.
“The document — entitled ‘The independent review into the application of sharia law in England and Wales’ — was criticised for taking a theological approach to the issue after Islamic theologian Mona Siddique OBE, as well as Imam Qari Muhammad Asim MBE and Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, were appointed to the panel and advisory board,” reports Breitbart.
Described as having an “inappropriate theological approach” by women’s rights groups, the report recommends the recognition of Islamic marriage in civil law, and vice versa.
The women’s group are arguing that Muslim women do not want their only option for divorce to be through Sharia councils. The sole focus of the report appears to be divorce, despite an admission that a smaller amount of Sharia councils’ works are not in this area.
“‘The exact number of sharia councils operating in England and Wales is unknown. Academic and anecdotal estimates vary from 30 to 85. The review has identified 10 councils operating with an online presence. The sharia councils identified by the review were mostly in urban centers with significant Muslim populations, such as London, Birmingham, Bradford and Dewsbury,’ reports Breitbart.”
The investigators also concede they were not actually privy to any Sharia council processes and did not witness their active work:
“The review panel did not observe first hand either the councils’ process for obtaining information from the individuals seeking their assistance or the decision-making process used by the councils.”
There was — as the report’s methodology states — a public call for evidence on July 4th, 2016, with closed, oral evidence sessions with users of Sharia councils, women’s rights groups, academics, and lawyers, as well as other interested parties.
One of the primary recommendations of the investigation is the idea of “linking Islamic marriage to civil marriage” to ensure “that a greater number of women will have the full protection afforded to them in family law and they will face less discriminatory practices. This will be a positive move aimed at giving women maximum rights should the marriage end in divorce”.
The report also contains an unassailable admission — historically rejected or even ridiculed by left-wing politicians and campaigners — that “[t]he primary and underlying principle of sharia councils is the application of sharia law”, and that this is indeed taking place in Britain, and to an extent that the government is unaware.