Sharia law in Britain: New site backs Bill to tackle issue

Powerful stories from women who have suffered under Sharia law principles in Britain feature on a new website launched as the House of Lords prepares to debate the issue.

Equalandfree.org is supported by a range of organisations that work with those affected.

Baroness Cox is behind the forthcoming Bill in the House of Lords and says that while her proposals cannot solve all of the problems, the Bill provides “an important opportunity for constructive and serious discussion”.

Second class citizen

The website includes a number of case studies of Muslim women speaking out about their experiences.

… an important opportunity for constructive and serious discussion

Baroness Cox
  • Sami commented: “Women’s rights are compromised by the operation of Sharia law in the UK”, and the Government should “ensure that everyone in the UK abides by the English legal system”.
  • Sania said that Sharia councils are disregarding UK court orders and the “trauma victims experience having been battered by their husbands”.
  • Roma said marriage has become a “mockery” at the hands of people like her husband. “He can divorce and remarry at ease without any questions being asked”.
  • Sara told equalandfree.org that she “felt like a second class citizen” at a Sharia council.
  • Vulnerable

    The Muslim Women’s Advisory Council is one of the organisations supporting Equal and Free.

    Roxana Rais, from the group, said: “We have witnessed over the years British Muslim women experiencing injustices and violations of their basic human rights.”

    “Vulnerable women turning to these councils must not be denied the support they so desperately need”, she added.

    Religious liberty

    Baroness Cox’s Bill is set to be debated in the House of Lords on 23 October.

    It seeks to address both the suffering experienced by women under religiously-sanctioned sex discrimination and the development of a quasi-legal system.

    In March Baroness Cox called for a judge-led inquiry into Sharia councils.

    She welcomed Theresa May’s commitment to conduct an “independent review” on the issue, but warned that it was important that any such review had powers to subpoena witnesses.

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