The below is my piece published in The Freethinker on 15 December 2016.

This week over 300 women who have faced abuse issued a warning of the growing threat to their rights by Sharia courts and parallel legal systems.

Also this week, One Law for All submitted devastating new evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee Inquiry into Sharia Councils on how violence and gender inequality lie at the heart of the courts.

By permitting Sharia courts, Britain is clearly failing to meet its obligations to gender equality in the family as specified in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.  Here are some examples:


Men have unilateral right to divorce via the triple talaq rule, whilst women’s rights to divorce are limited.  According to the Islamic Sharia Council (now deleted but screenshot available here): “The right of divorce is primarily with the husband in the Shari’a”. Even a civil divorce is only valid if the husband is the petitioner or consents to the divorce. Women seeking divorces without the consent of their husbands are labelled “hypocrites” (deleted now but a screenshot is available here) and accusations of “zina” or adultery is always the sub-text of any discussion on women’s “right” to divorce.

Testimonies gathered by One Law for All reveal the coercive nature of such threats over women who fear being ostracised and vilified for “dishonouring” the family or “community”. The celebrated “divorce services” that Sharia courts provide is really men’s rights being packaged and rebranded as women’s rights.


Amra Bone, the “first female judge” at Birmingham Sharia Council (who turns out to not even to be a judge but “a high official of a Shariah court second to a judge”) has been quoted saying “the government cannot ask Muslims not to have more than one wife. People have a right to decide for themselves”.

Again, men’s right to have up to four wives is promoted as a “right” for the entire “community”. As many of our testimonies attest, however, polygamy has devastating effects for women and children. It’s abusive and a conducive context for violence against women and girls.


Sharia courts justify marital rape. Maulana Abu Sayeed, chairperson of the Islamic Sharia Council, has said that marital rape is not an offence because “sex is part of marriage”.

In another ruling on a woman who “refuses to respond to her husband’s sexual needs” because of “abuse in childhood”, the court advises the wife to read books such as the Ideal Muslimah, quotes hadith which says that women’s treatment of her husband decides whether she goes to heaven or hell, mentions that “The angels’ curse will befall every woman who is rebellious and disobedient” and that she must respond to her husband’s sexual urges even if she is “riding a camel”. It then goes on to say: “After this advice, if your wife should persist upon not responding to your sexual needs then you should divorce her. This is because a woman who can not have conjugal relationship should not be married in the first place”.  (Removed from their website but available via screenshot here.)


Sharia courts use child custody to exert pressure on women who have faced domestic violence and normalise violence against women.

In a documentary (Part 1 and Part 2), one woman who had secured a civil divorce was told by the Islamic Sharia Council that she would have to give up child custody to her ex-husband  (who had only been allowed indirect access to the children by the civil court).

Sharia judge Suhaib Hasan told one woman who had faced domestic violence:

“I think you should be courageous enough to ask this question to him. Just tell me why are you upset huh? Is it because of my cooking? Is it because I see my friends huh? So I can correct myself”.

Another woman who had been physically abused and her husband imprisoned for his violence, was told by the Dewsbury Sharia Council to go to mediation despite injunctions issued by a British court.

On the question of “What age is it suitable for children to live with the father” upon divorce, the Sharia court issued a ruling that the child must go to the father at a preset age, irrespective of child welfare rules (advice is no longer on their website but screenshot available here).


The Birmingham Sharia Council, amongst others, has also ruled: “In Islam hijab is compulsory and any woman who denies the ruling of hijab is disobeying her Lord and is rebelling against the Islamic law”. So much for the propaganda on the “right” and “choice” to veil.


In the Sharia courts, a woman’s testimony is worth half that  of a man’s. The Islamic Sharia Council explains it in full here (deleted but available via screenshot) and concludes: “To deny the difference between the two genders is a denial of truth. Allah who created us, gave us rulings according to our nature. And all is well as long as we go by the nature”.


There are hundreds of “child brides” every year – some as young as 6 – as well as a report that at least 30 girls, some as young as 9, being married under Sharia law in one London borough alone. Sharia courts say they do not marry children but according to their rules, a girls who has reached the age of nine and puberty is no longer a child.


Nadia Sadiq, one woman who has submitted her testimony to the One Law for All Coalition, went before a judge at the Green Lane Mosque in Birmingham, which is a Salafi mosque where Abu Usamah has said women were created deficient and “whoever changes his religion, kill him“.

Habiba Jan, another woman who has submitted a testimony, went to a Sharia court judged by Anjem Choudary who defends the death penalty for apostasy and stoning to death for adultery.

Even questioning the competency or relevance of Sharia courts is equated with “disbelief”,  a form of kufr, which is a serious “crime” (See Islamic Sharia Council position now deleted but screenshot available here).


Sharia courts are central to the Islamist project to control women and normalise the far-Right restructuring of society via the Sharia. In “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism” Algerian American author Karima Bennoune speaks about the commonalities of various fundamentalists as believing “in the imposition of ‘God’s law’, something called the Sharia – their version of it rather than others’ – on Muslims everywhere, and in the creation of what they deem to be Islamic states or disciplined diasporic communities ruled by these laws”.

According to Elham Manea, the author of “Women and Sharia Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism in the UK“, Sharia courts grew out of an Islamist agenda with clear connections with transnational Islamist groups.

The founding organisations of the Islamic Sharia Council which is often promoted as the oldest, biggest and “best” of the courts clearly highlights these links:

* London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Center (Trustees include officials from the governments of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Brunei, Qatar, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan. Ahmad Al-Dubayan who gave oral evidence at the Home Affairs Select Committee as the Chairman of the UK Board of Sharia Councils which aims to “regulate” the courts is Director General)

* Muslim World League (propagates Saudi Wahabbism, the Muslim Brotherhood)

* Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith (involved in promoting sectarianism and jihad in the Indian sub-continent)

* UK Islamic Mission (inspired by Jamaat e Islami and Syed Abul Ala Maududi and shares the same ideology as Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood)

* Dawatul Islam, UK (UK branch of the Bangladeshi Jamaat e Islami implicated in running death squads and organising lynchings against people demanding independence)

* Muslim Welfare House, London (founded by Kamal Helbawy of the Muslim Brotherhood who has praised Osama Bin Laden. They have fatwas defending polygamy and prohibiting Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men as well as campaigned to stop the selling of alcohol)


The term Sharia itself means law. The bodies are set up as courts. Those presiding call themselves judges and issue what is often considered by the judges, women themselves and the wider community as binding religious law with regards family matters. Most importantly, they call themselves courts.

See for example the Islamic Sharia Council website. In the “About Us” section, it says (screenshot in case it is deleted):  “A group of concerned Muslim scholars and field workers… decided to establish “The Islamic Shari’a Council” to be a quasi-Islamic Court”.

The Birmingham Central Mosque says on its website (screenshot in case it is deleted): Birmingham Central Mosque is the only Islamic institution in Britain in which a woman has been elected as a high official of a Shariah court second to a judge”.

According to Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters, “Muslim fundamentalists have mounted what can be described as a two pronged pincer like manoeuvre based ostensibly on the demand for religious tolerance, but which is in reality a bid for power in which the control of female sexuality is central. On the one hand they seek to ensure that personal religious codes are normalised within the legal system, and on the other they seek to formalise a parallel legal system through the establishment of alternative religious forums for dispute resolution in family matters. This process – a sort of ‘shariafication by stealth’ of the legal apparatus – involves making state law and policy ‘Sharia’ compliant”.

Despite all efforts to repackage and rebrand the courts, including by Islamic feminists, Sharia courts represent a concerted attempt by Islamists to normalise the denial of women’s rights in the family and gain further influence.

Clearly, Sharia courts are not compliant with either British law or international human rights treaties. By undermining British legal principles of equality before the law, the universal concept of one law for all and the protection of the rights of women and children, these courts help to increase discrimination, intimidation and threats against the most vulnerable.

By accommodating them, the government is itself in breach of its obligations.

The law and not religion must be the key basis for securing justice for all citizens.

Support One Law for All’s work in calling for the dismantling of parallel legal systems and for the promotion of equal rights. #OneLawforAllBecause #StruggleNotSubmission



  1. Why liberal punishment failed to contain crime against angel like children?…Why brutal criminals need Sharia law to protect innocent children?.————-STATISTICS:
    According to NIBRS data analyses, (1) approximately 1.3 million crimes known to the police in 2008 were committed against children under age 18, representing 9% of all known crime victims and (2) approximately 25% of these victims were under age 12. These numbers include children who were direct victims of crimes as well as those who were indirectly victimized by witnessing criminal acts.

    The University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Crimes Against Children Research Center has examined data states submitted to NIBRS and reported on characteristics of perpetrators and victims of crimes committed against children. While some of the analyses address children under age 12, they show that most victims were over age 12.

    The only Connecticut-specific child victimization data we were able to find pertains to murders. It shows that in 2011, (1) the percentage of murder victims under age 18 was a little under 10% of the total number of murder victims for all age groups both in Connecticut and nationally, (2) there were fewer female murder victims under age 18 in Connecticut than nationally, and (3) Connecticut had a much higher percentage of murder victims under age 18 who were black.

    In 2008, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) developed the Children’s Exposure to Violence (NatSCEV), which measured both past year and lifetime exposure of children age 17 and younger in seven victimization categories, all of which had some direct or indirect connection to violent crime. The data and subsequent analyses revealed trends in victimization reporting and the types of victimizations that occurred at each developmental stage. These analyses reinforce the notion that (1) young children can be victims of violent crime simply by witnessing them and (2) it is difficult to get a complete and accurate assessment of the degree to which victimization occurs.


    Children exposed to violence are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol; suffer from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic disorders; fail or have difficulty in school; and become delinquent and engage in criminal behavior.

    Sixty percent of American children were exposed to violence, crime, or abuse in their homes, schools, and communities.

    Almost 40 percent of American children were direct victims of two or more violent acts, and one in ten were victims of violence five or more times.

    Children are more likely to be exposed to violence and crime than adults.

    Almost one in ten American children saw one family member assault another family member, and more than 25 percent had been exposed to family violence during their life.

    A child’s exposure to one type of violence increases the likelihood that the child will be exposed to other types of violence and exposed multiple times.

    *Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Ormrod, R., Hamby, S., and Kracke, K. 2009. Children’s Exposure to Violence: A Comprehensive National Survey. Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

    One in every 14 adults in England and Wales suffered sexual abuse as a child, a survey suggests.
    According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, about 11% of women and 3% of men said they had been sexually assaulted during childhood.
    The Office for National Statistics introduced new questions about childhood abuse in 2016’s survey, which was released on Thursday.
    Some 35,000 adults and 3,000 children were questioned for the report.
    The survey also suggested that 567,000 females aged between 16 and 59, and 102,000 males in the same age bracket, had experienced “sexual assault by rape or penetration” when they were children.
    The report also found:
    Apart from sexual abuse, 9% of adults said they had suffered psychological abuse and 7% physical abuse
    Some 8% said they had witnessed domestic violence or abuse at home
    Other than in physical abuse cases, women were “significantly” more likely to report they had been an abuse victim than men
    Rape and penetration attack survivors said the most likely attacker was a friend or acquaintance (30%) or other family member (26%)
    For other types of sexual assault, victims said the most common perpetrator was a stranger (42%)
    Boys were most likely to be abused aged 11 and girls at age 14
    The report also found that three in four victims of these assaults said they did not report what happened at the time, most commonly because of “embarrassment or humiliation, or thinking that they would not be believed”.

    Saudi Arabia has executed a member of the royal family for murder in a rare case involving one of the thousands of members of the House of Saud.

    Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir was put to death in the capital, Riyadh, for shooting dead Adel al-Mahemid, a Saudi, during a brawl, the interior ministry said.

    Murder rate increases in UK:
    The murder rate in England and Wales rose by 11% to 573 homicides in 2015, providing fresh evidence that the long-term decline in violent crime may be over.

    The annual crime figures published on Thursday also show that knife crime rose by 9% and sexual offences, including rape, increased by 29% to top 100,000 for the first time in 2015. But the Office for National Statistics (ONS) issued a strong warning that tightening of police recording procedures may account for some increases among forces.

    But while there is mounting evidence that the decade-long decline in violent crime is over, the latest results from the authoritative Crime Survey for England and Wales show that overall crime continued to fall, by 7%, with an estimated 6.4m offences in 2015. The fall was largely driven by declines in thefts and criminal damage.
    The murder rate in England and Wales rose by 11% to 573 homicides in 2015, providing fresh evidence that the long-term decline in violent crime may be over.

    The annual crime figures published on Thursday also show that knife crime rose by 9% and sexual offences, including rape, increased by 29% to top 100,000 for the first time in 2015. But the Office for National Statistics (ONS) issued a strong warning that tightening of police recording procedures may account for some increases among forces.

    But while there is mounting evidence that the decade-long decline in violent crime is over, the latest results from the authoritative Crime Survey for England and Wales show that overall crime continued to fall, by 7%, with an estimated 6.4m offences in 2015. The fall was largely driven by declines in thefts and criminal damage.

    Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), which is the best guide to trends for the population and offences it covers, estimated there were 6.4 million incidents of crime based on interviews in the survey year ending June 2016. This was not significantly different compared with the previous year’s estimate (6.5 million in the year ending June 2015). These headline figures do not yet incorporate estimates from new questions added to the survey since 1 October 2015 on fraud and computer misuse offences.

    Estimates derived from these new fraud and computer misuse offence questions continue to be published as experimental statistics and the latest figures (based on questions asked of half of those interviewed in the survey between the beginning of October 2015 and end of June 2016) showed there were 3.6 million fraud and 2.0 million computer misuse offences experienced in the 12 months prior to interview. Next quarter (in January 2017) it is our intention to add these estimates to the headline CSEW totals, once the questions have been asked for a full 12 months in the survey. Latest administrative statistics showed an annual rise of 5% in frauds referred to the police. Industry data on financial fraud, the vast bulk of which is unreported to the police, showed there were 1.9 million cases of frauds on UK-issued cards, an increase of 46% from the previous year.

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — Saudi Arabia on Tuesday executed a member of the royal family for murder, the first time in four decades it had done so, after he was convicted of shooting another man to death during a brawl.

    Prince Turki bin Saud bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabeer was put to death in the capital, Riyadh, according to a report by the Saudi state news service. While the report did not detail the method used, most death penalties in Saudi Arabia are carried out by beheading in a public square.

  7. Why the greatest democratic country and super power USA needs Sharia law to protect innocent and angelic minor girls, teen girls and women? ( Please implement sharia law at least for criminal minded Muslims )

    The super power of the world is at the first position in the race of rapes. Males are majorly the rapist holding a proportion of 99%. Out of all the victims, 91% are females while 9% are males. The U.S Bureau of Justice Statistics states that 91% of rape victims are female and 9% are male, and nearly 99% of rapists are male. According to the National Violence Against Women Survey, 1 in 6 U.S. women and 1 in 33 U.S. men has experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. More than a quarter of college-age women report having experienced a rape or rape attempt since age 14. Out of all, only 16% of the total cases are reported. Outdoor rape is not common in USA rather most of the rape cases takes place inside homes.

  8. Why Sharia law is compulsory to protect innocent girls / women? ( At least to punish criminal Muslims)>
    An estimate of 240,000 women and girls has died up till now in Germany because of this crime. Germany is on the number six in the highest rape crime with the figures of 6,507,394 in this year which is really a big figure. German Catholics have allowed the morning-after pills for the victims. The country moving forward in technology is actually moving really backward in humanity.

    Rape was not a crime in France until 1980. Laws reinforcing women’s rights and safety are relatively recent in France. The law making rape a crime dates back only to 1980. Earlier decrees were based on 19th century moral codes. A law on sexual-harassment was approved in 1992 and one on moral harassment was passed in 2002. The last bill to fight violence against women was passed last year. Government studies show there are 75,000 rapes a year in the country. Only about 10 percent of the victims filed complaints. France is at the 7th position with the total reported crime of 3,771,850.

  10. Why sharia law is necessary?..At least for criminal Muslims?.

    Many people wish to live or even visit UK as it is one of the most developed countries. But they surely must not be aware that this country is also involved badly in the crime of rape. In January 2013, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Home Office released its first ever joint Official Statistics bulletin on sexual violence, entitled An Overview of Sexual Offending in England and Wales. According to report: Approximately 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year. Over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year. One in 5 women (aged 16 – 59) has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.

    1. You might like to consider the following verses LOGICALTHOUGHTS:

      Fools Awake!

      O fools, awake! The rites ye sacred hold
      Are but a cheat contrived by men of old
      Who lusted after wealth and gained their lust
      And died in baseness-and their law is dust.

      The Prophets and the Priests

      The Prophets, too, among us come to teach,
      Are one with those who from the pulpit preach;
      They pray, and slay, and pass away, and yet
      Our ills are as the pebbles on the beach.

      The crimes that you speak of plague the ummah just as much (if not more) as societies governed by liberal laws and norms. If you are a sincere seeker of truth then look up the crime statistics for countries where sharia is the basis of the legal system. The internet can be your friend in the search for truth and clarity.

      So let us give the last word to al-Ma’arri:

      Traditions come from the past, of high import if they be True;
      Ay, but weak is the chain of those who warrant their truth.
      Consult thy reason and let perdition take others all:
      Of all the conference Reason best will counsel and guide.

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