Sharia Law in Canada and Britain

The spread of sharia law to the entire world is part of jihad. In Canada and Britain, jihad is advancing.

A June 2010 report entitled "Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights" begins with Secretary General of the Islamic Sharia Council Suhaib Hasan saying, "If Sharia law is implemented, then you can turn this country [Great Britain] into a haven of peace because once a thief's hand is cut off nobody is going to steal." Furthermore, "once[,] just only once, if an adulterer is stoned[,] nobody is going to commit this crime at all," and finally, "[w]e want to offer it to the British society. If they accept it, it is for their good and if they don't accept it they'll need more and more prisons."

This perverse logic is illustrative of the brutality that is sharia law's penal code. The writers of the report have compiled evidence of "the discriminatory nature of these courts and make recommendations for curtailing sharia and religious tribunals on the basis that they work against and not for equality, and are incompatible with human rights." The authors explain that "whilst there is an obvious difference between stoning a woman to death and denying her the right to divorce and child custody, the fundamentals and misogyny behind sharia's civil and penal codes are the same -- it is just a matter of degree. It is deceptive, or at best a mistake, not to see the civil aspects of sharia law as part of and an extension of its penal code."

The first Sharia Council was begun in Birmingham, England in 1982. Muslim tribunal courts begun passing sharia judgments in August 2007 in Great Britain. In September 2008, Richard Edwards of the Telegraph reported that five sharia courts had been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford, and Manchester, and Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The British government had "quietly sanctioned" the sharia courts and made their rulings "enforceable with the full power of the judicial system." Prior to this, "the [sharia] rulings were not binding and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims." These cases dealt with sharia civil code, i.e., Muslim divorce and inheritance. In one inheritance case, the sons received twice as much as the daughters because men are favored over women in sharia law. Under British law, the daughters would have received equal amounts; in addition, in sharia law, "a woman's testimony is worth half that of a man's." Furthermore, "a woman's marriage contract is between her male guardian and her husband," and finally, "a Muslim woman is not permitted to marry a non-Muslim." 

Opposition leaders in Britain voiced their deep concerns about a dual legal system. Nonetheless, Muslims had taken advantage of a British clause in the Arbitration Act of 1996. Thus, "under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case." Given the second-class status of women under sharia law and the intimidation of women therein, it becomes rather clear that theirs is often not a voluntary decision. Furthermore, "the proceedings are not recorded, nor are there any searchable legal judgments. Nor is there any real right to appeal." Sharia law is absolute.

The Muslim Tribunals cite the Jewish Beth Din courts, which have handled civil legal cases for over one hundred years. But as Melanie Phillips has explained, this is a total misrepresentation. The implication is that British Jews are not bound by the law of the land but instead get an exemption. This is false. Though Jewish religious courts (Beth Din) deal with such issues as dispute arbitration, family issues, marriage, and divorce, the Jewish courts "have never sought official recognition of their rulings, and these are not recognized under English law. ... Jewish religious marriage and divorce rituals have no status in English law. ... Jews have to marry or be divorced according to English law just like everyone else. ... But the crucial difference is that ... Muslims want their rulings to be accepted by the state as having the same legal authority as English law" (emphasis mine). While Jews have always acknowledged that as a minority, they live under the law of the land and do not seek to change, the Muslims have a very different outlook and intent. Therefore, sharia law's "imposition represents a concerted attempt by Islamists to gain further influence in Britain." Unlike aborigine, Catholic, or Jewish tribunals, Muslim tribunals seek "to impose their cultural values on Western society." For example, Jewish kosher laws are never imposed upon non-Jewish people; the same cannot be said concerning Islamic halal food. In one British nursing home, the non-Muslim residents were obligated to forgo bacon in their meals in deference to Islamic halal demands.

Thus, life in Nigeria has resulted in Christian provinces now forcibly being made to accept sharia law in place of the secular constitution. In 2003 in Aubervilliers, Fance, the city council was forced to close the municipal swimming pool so that Muslim women could swim in private. And in America and Great Britain, seeing-eye dogs raise the ire of Muslim taxicab drivers who consider dogs "impure."

Yet, by October 2008, secret talks were underway to bring Islamic sharia law courts to Scotland. Again, many raised concerns about the establishment of a "dual legal system."

A Scottish Tory justice spokesman Bill Aitken stated that "in criminal matters Scottish courts must have total jurisdiction. ... We cannot have private arrangements when human rights are an issue." Nevertheless, by June 2009, "at least 85 Islamic sharia courts" were operating in Britain. This figure was "17 times higher than previously accepted." Academic and Islamic specialist Denis MacEoin stated that "among the [sharia] rulings, we find some that advise illegal actions and others that transgress human rights standards as applied by British courts."

In a Spring 2010 report entitled "An Unjust Doctrine of Civil Arbitration: Sharia Courts in Canada and England," author Arsani William scrutinizes the gender-biased discrimination of sharia. The report examines the former Canadian Attorney General Marion Boyd's examination about the use of Muslim sharia law in private arbitration. Interestingly, it was Canadian Muslim women who claimed that sharia law would treat women in the Islamic community in ways contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights. Boyd, however, concluded that sharia law would not be problematic when used in private arbitration.

Notwithstanding, author William argues that "sharia is a dangerous doctrine of civil arbitration," and he advocates for "its rejection from binding arbitration." And, in fact, attempts to set up sharia courts in Canada in 2005 were abandoned after protests. William notes that "verdicts of an entire community of Islamic Sheiks could neither be answerable nor accountable to anyone." He highlights Boyd's failure to address the danger of "Muslim women [being] forced to cave into social pressure and accept unfair decisions." Furthermore, since the Jewish community and the Catholic community did not want Muslims introducing sharia into Canada, they accepted the decision to ban all religious arbitration in Ontario, including their own respective tribunals. Robert Spencer mused that "it is ... unfortunate that other religious arbitration arrangements [had] to be sacrificed, which feeds the assumption that they are all morally equivalent. If Western authorities could dare to speak honestly about the distinctive characteristics of Islamic law, this would not be necessary."

With this Canadian backdrop, William, in the Stanford Journal of International Relations, amplifies that "sharia courts threaten the integrity of law in the British democracy, by promoting the unequal treatment of women in the British Islamic community." He writes that "In Islam, marriages are seen as contracts. The dissolution of these contracts will provide for settlements that undermine the status of women, as women are not granted equal compensation or child-custody claims." Unlike contractual Jewish law, "sharia recognizes men as superior to women in matters of civil arbitration. Men can divorce their wives suddenly. ... However, [Muslim] women must undergo multiple legal proceedings to be granted a religious divorce. ... In disputes over child custody, sharia recognizes the absoluteness of a father's ownership if the child is over seven years old." Furthermore, in several documented cases, English Muslim women who were victims of domestic abuse and being judged under sharia law were "told to halt police investigations and continue with marriage peacefully."

Russel Bywaters, an English lawyer known for his work in marital and inheritance settlements, points to the "horror at Malaysia's attempts to run the two systems -- a civil code/Sharia." The fact that sharia law conflicts with many of the precepts of the Human Rights Act of 1998 makes it incompatible with Canadian law, and it was these fears that "prompted its ousting from the Canadian system." 

It behooves every American to seriously consider what is happening as sharia law advocates (e.g., Obama appointee Dalia Mogahed) continue to insinuate their beliefs into this country. As Maryam Namazie, spokesperson of the British One Law for All Campaign, has written, "The existence of a parallel legal system that is denying a large section of the British population their fundamental human rights is scandalous." Sharia law is antithetical to freedom and equality. Oklahoma is leading the way and has already established a firewall against sharia law. The evidence continues to mount that the Islamists will keep chipping away if we do not push back, and push back hard!

Eileen can be reached at
If you experience technical problems, please write to