Monday, 29 April 2013

"Sharia Courts in Britain: It is enough now"

From One Law for All:

Dear Friend,
Thank you as always for your support of One Law for All.  As you might know, sharia is being increasingly discussed in the media quite regularly, including an undercover report by the BBC’s Panorama programme.  We write today to give a review of that programme, and to tell you a little about our upcoming plans. 
This week’s BBC Panorama programme “Secrets of Britain’s Sharia Councils” confirms why One Law for All has been campaigning against the discriminatory parallel legal system running counter to British law for nearly five years.  
As has been repeatedly stated, women are being held to ransom, told to remain in violent situations, blamed for the violence they face, refused divorces over many years, and placed under undue pressure including with regards child access and welfare. The programme confirms this.
Whilst Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Northwest, Nazir Afzal, asserts that “most of them are absolutely fine but there are some clearly, like this one, who are putting women at risk”, One Law for All believes that all Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals put women at risk. This is because the problem lies not with rogue councils or judges disrespecting the tenets of Sharia but is the result of a strict adherence to the Sharia.
Both the previous Government (which allowed them to evade investigation) and the current one, which asserts that existing legislation is sufficient to address this matter have shown nothing but moral cowardice and betrayed a large segment of British society. It is enough now.
The British government must put the rights and equality of all citizens over and above any religious laws and put an end to this human rights scandal once and for all. You can read the full text of our press release on the programme here.
We urge you to continue to exert pressure on the Government. Clearly our message is getting through. We must keep fighting till we win.
Please also sign One Law for All’s petition against Sharia law, which has over 29000 signatories.
Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill
One Law for All continues to work with Caroline Cox in the promotion of her Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill which aims to place criminal sanctions upon religious councils and tribunals that mislead women.  The Bill will also place a legal obligation on public sector agencies to advise women (correctly) of their rights under English law, and aims to bring private tribunals in to line with equality and human rights laws in the UK.  The Bill has received strong support from women's rights organisations as Inspire, as well as by the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation, the Henna Foundation, Karma Nirvana and British Muslims for Secular Democracy.  Last year, it passed its second reading in the House of Lords.  Whilst the Bill has stalled due to the Government’s refusal to support it, the Bill will be re-introduced following the state opening of Parliament in May and we will update you on its progress.  You can read more here.
Please support Baroness Cox Equalities Bill, which was inspired by One Law for All here.
Essay Competition
One Law for All, in partnership with the Lawyers’ Secular Society, are calling on students across Europe to submit essays on the use of Sharia family and criminal law in countries in the EU.  The National Secular Society will provide a cash prise for the winning essay.  Submissions should be made by the end of the summer and details of how to do so will soon appear on our website. 
Songs for Freedom and Passion for Freedom Festival
One Law for All is inviting musicians and songwriters to create and submit their original material for a song competition.  Song entries should be focused on issues that relate to the work ‘One Law for All’ is engaged with, discussing themes like religion, freedom, secularism, Sharia law, equal rights and religious arbitration.  Details of where to submit entries can be found here.  The deadline for entries is 31 December.
One Law for All’s Passion for Freedom will hold its fifth festival during 2-9 November 2013. Deadline to submit artwork is 20 September 2013. Terms and conditions can be found here.
Other Activities
This year, we will release our report on the support of some on the political Left for Islamism; “Siding with the Oppressor: the Pro-Islamist Left” will soon be available.  Another report, “Multiculturalism and Child Protection in Britain: Sharia Law and Other Failures” will be available soon as well. 
We will continue to speak to various organisations and events, including in Leicester, Washington, DC, Boston, Dublin, Brighton, and New York City.  Full details can be found here.  Moreover, we are in the early stages of arranging debates with proponents of Sharia law. We are also organising a debate with the English Defence League, where we will expose their similarities with Islamism and argue our opposition to both – further details to follow. 
Support us
If you can, please continue to support us in our essential work. To donate to One Law for All, send a cheque made payable to One Law for All to BM Box 2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK or pay via Paypal. You can also commit to giving at least £5-10 a month via direct debit. You can find out more about how to donate or join the 100 Club here. Also, if you shop online, please do so via the Easy Fundraising’s website. It won’t cost you anything extra but can help raise much needed funds for One Law for All.
Thanks again for your support. A particular thanks to those who provide monthly donations, which is much needed. We look forward to continuing to fight for human rights in the months to come.
Warmest wishes
Maryam Namazie
Anne Marie Waters
One Law for All
BM Box2387, London WC1N 3XX, UK
tel: +44 (0) 7719166731