Wednesday, 9 September 2009

One Law for All


Recently I wrote :
What’s needed still is a broad-based coalition of concerned citizens to come out against the Sharia. Creeping Sharia is a real worry for western societies and all that our mums and dads fought for: freedom of belief, freedom of speech, respect for the rule of law, equality of sexes and races, and so forth. Sharia is diametrically opposed to all of those.
Well, hurrah! Breaking news, just nine months old, and reaching me by pedal-powered internet, on this most auspicious of days for we Chinese, the 9th day of the 9th month of the 9th year of the century.
It’s also incidentally the date on which Mao Tse Tung died in 1976; I well remember walking down Wanfujing main street in central Peking on this very day 33 years ago, when roadside speakers blared the news, young women started crying and all of a sudden black arm-bands and black ties appeared, instantly, in all the shops on the street. But I digress.
The news: that there is just such a broad-based coalition, calling itself One Law for All , established in December 2008 in the UK, and calling for the very reasonable proposition: that all people should be treated equally and be equally protected under law.
Official launch: December 10, 2008, House of Lords, Committee Room 4A, 4-5 pm.  Co-organisers: Carla Revere, Gina Khan, Ibn Warraq, Keith Porteous Wood, and Maryam Namazie.
Their proposition:
Sharia law is discriminatory and unjust, particularly against women and children. Sharia courts in Britain are a quick and cheap route to injustice and do nothing to promote minority rights and social cohesion.
The speakers at the launch of the movement were made up of Muslims, ex-Muslims, religious people and secular humanists. They include Maryam Namazie, an ex-Muslim, Spokesperson for Equal Rights Now and Head of the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain; Roy Brown, of the International Humanist and Ethical Council and member of the UN Human Rights Commission; Ibn Warraq, a well-known ex-Muslim writer; Johann Hari, Journalist in the Middle East and South Asia; Gina Khan, a secular Muslim.
Key points they made:
  • Sharia "courts", known as Sharia Councils, have operated in the UK since 1997, but have increased sharply in recent years, to the current 87.
  • They are run by men, to the detriment of the rights, in particular, of Muslim women and children.
  • There is no such thing as voluntary attendance by Muslim women at these "courts". Their family and peer ensure that they effectively have no choice in going to a Sharia "court" for divorce and family matters such as domestic violence.
  • The Sharia "courts" routinely grant the Muslim man twice the assets of a Muslim woman in a divorce and grant custody of children to the man if the child is over seven years of age, regardless of what would be the best for the child. As Ms Namazie points out, this is worse than in Lebanon where the age for automatic granting of the custody to the male is twelve.
  • The "courts" routinely perform polygamous marriages.
  • In domestic violence cases, the Sharia "courts" routinely mitigate the punishment of the male, below what Common Law would find acceptable. In the case of Germany, Johann Hari quotes the numerous cases where the consideration of religion (which is required under German Law) leads to “honour killings” sentences being reduced from Murder to Manslaughter.
  • These courts are bad for Muslim women and children in England. They are not wanted by the majority of Muslims in the UK, but are foisted on them by a government keen to be seen to be “sensitive” to cultural differences and in response to pressure of vocal male Islamists.
  • Ibn Warraq reiterated: the two groups who suffer most under Sharia are women and non-Muslims. He noted that in the 1970s when Zia Ul-haq became Prime Minister of Pakistan and instituted the Sharia, the number of women in jails increased 300% in just six months, as men who wanted rid of their wives simply accused them of adultery.
  • The Muslim and ex-Muslim women said: the bitter irony is that many Muslims in the UK came here to escape the Sharia, only to find it following them. It’s a nightmare for them, which can only be stopped if the Sharia is stopped and all come under the one law.
Roy Brown, of the UN Human Rights Commission made this statement:
The HRC has issued edicts that members shall not even mention Islam, nor the word “Sharia”. 
“This in the leading Human Rights Institution in the world…. It has been completely taken over by political Islam. This is massive, massive threat to liberal democracy”.
And if we think, “couldn’t happen here”, or “it only affects the Muslims”, think again. Here’s what Sheikh Hassan, General Secretary of the London-based Islamic Sharia Council said recently, quoted by Keith Porteus Wood:
“Sharia is knocking on the door of Britain. If we have Sharia in Britain, we’ll have peace. If a thief’s hand is cut off, nobody steals. If an adulterer is stoned, no-one will commit this crime”.
Couldn’t happen? Who would have thought ten years ago that the UK would have government-sanctioned “courts” mandating child abuse and polygamy? Polygamy?! I can’t imagine why one would want several wives, but, gents, it’s illegal, isn’t it??
The video below is well worth watching. Especially Johann Hari and Maryam Namazie. There are several other videos on the site, as well as a petition sign up before Sharia threatens our country with its baleful and draconian provisions.