Feminists & UK Sharia Courts


Shamim Qureshi, UK Sharia Judge

When it comes to matters of inheritance, divorce and even rape, a British Muslim woman can expect inferior justice in the future compared to her non-Muslim counterpart. This, with the blessing of the United Kingdom government.

Islamic sharia courts are operating all over Europe, both formally and informally. In many ways this can be seen as an individual liberty issue: if you want to impose diminished rights on yourself out of respect to your beliefs, fine. But there are few individuals less free on this earth than the Muslim female.

In its own words Islamic texts, the Qu’ran (the words of Allah), the Hadith (the words of Mohammed) and the Sunnah (the life of Mohammed), preach on the diminished status of women as compared to men; men and women and certainly not ‘equal’ in Islam. These texts are used to determine a decision in a sharia court. Judge Shamim Qureshi will be the first UK judge allowed by the Judicial Office (JO) to rule in a sharia court¹. Just let that sink in while you read what the JO believes its purpose to be.

[I]ts purpose is to support the judiciary in upholding the rule of law and in delivering justice impartially, speedily and efficiently. [JO website]

In other words, when Judge Qureshi reaches a decision in his sharia court, using Islamic texts, conferring a decision that will, through those texts, impose diminished rights on a British woman, the British government, through the Judicial Office, will uphold that decision. As noted, there is no creature on God’s green earth less free than a Muslim woman. Now, the full weight of the Judicial Office will enforce and uphold whatever unequal justice may be meted out. As repressive as this sounds, British non-Muslims must also respect this decision, however prejudiced and uneven that decision might be compared to British Law (if there can be said to still be such a thing).

If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, “the law is a ass — a idiot.” [Charles Dickens, ‘Oliver Twist’; 1837-9]

As clear as this inequity between the sexes is, it is surprising that the feminist movement has not weighed in heavily. Although its ‘third-wave‘ variety is not really defined, actual equality, having been gained, is no longer a major driver; social issues under the banner of ‘social justice‘ now dominate their agenda. Perhaps with this newer, wider focus, the matter of the eqality of Muslim women is not a concern for feminists. If so this is a shame and a disgrace. Those few that do can expect a tough time². Whether a Muslim woman, a feminist or any average British citizen for that matter, criticizing Islam just got a whole lot more dangerous.

¹ Bristol Post; ‘Bristol judge will be first in UK to rule on sharia law cases
² Spectator, Agnieszka Kolek; ‘Few feminists dare criticise Islam. To see why, look at the ones who do

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