Sharia Law or 'one Law for All'? by Denis Martin MacEoin
Sharia law is a distillation of rulings that purport to represent the divine diktat in all worldly affairs. It provides injunctions for the conduct of criminal, public and even international law. Marriage and divorce, the custody of children, alimony, sexual impropriety and much else come within its remit. Sharia courts are operating in Britain, handing down rulings that may be inappropriate to this country, being linked to elements in Islamic law that are seriously out of step with trends in Western legislation that derive from the values of the Enlightenment and are inherent in modern codes of human rights. Sharia rulings contain great potential for controversy and may involve acts contrary to UK legal norms and human rights legislation. Denis MacEoin argues against the wider use of sharia law. As David Green says in his introduction, equality under the law, regardless of race, gender or religion, is the bedrock of Western civilisation: take it away and you disrupt the whole edifice. Women are not equal in sharia law and, for many Muslims, sharia courts are in practice part of an institutionalised atmosphere of intimidation, backed up by the ultimate sanction of a death threat: 'Nothing less will suffice than the exclusion of sharia courts from recognition under Britain's Arbitration Act of 1996.'