Monday, September 15, 2008

This Should be Interesting: Sharia Law Officially Adopted in Britain

The British Arbitration Act 1996 has a clause in it that classifies sharia courts as arbitration tribunals. That means that decisions of a sharia court are legally binding, as long as both parties in a dispute agree to give the sharia court the power to rule in their case.

A network of sharia courts has been set up in Britain, headquartered in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. There are now sharia courts in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester. Two more are in the planning stages, in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi thinks these courts are a good idea. He runs them. In a TimesOnline article, he said: "We realised that under the Arbitration Act we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals. This method is called alternative dispute resolution, which for Muslims is what the sharia courts are."

I understand how attractive it seems, setting up a separate-but-equal court system for civil cases. Just the same, I'm concerned about what may happen.

For one thing, having two different court systems working the same territory in the same country seems to be asking for confusion.

For another, sharia law has earned a debatable reputation lately. I've written about this before: There's more: use this blog's search function, and search for sharia law.

I sincerely hope that the British Muslims who run Sheikh Siddiqi's courts don't follow Sudan's and Saudi Arabia's lead when applying sharia law to 21st century British cases.

In the News: Another news article, not directly related to the adoption of sharia law in Britain, presented as background: "'Have more babies and Muslims can take over the UK' hate fanatic says, as warning comes that 'next 9/11 will be in UK' " (MailOnline (September 13, 2008)). This article contrasts Anjem Choudary's views with mainstream Islamic organizations like the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB). MCB condemned 9/11 and 7/7: which Anjem Chourdary says was 'selling their souls to the devil.'

Related posts, on Islam, Christianity, Religion, Culture and the War on Terror.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.