Govt inquiry into Sharia courts falls at first hurdle

A Government inquiry into the rise of Sharia councils was abandoned after the Muslim courts refused to co-operate, it has been revealed.

Politicians and pressure groups are becoming increasingly concerned at the growing influence of Sharia law in the UK.

And there are fears that Islamist radicals will now be able to continue their activities unchecked.


The news came as Muslim extremists launched a campaign last week to declare ‘Sharia-controlled zones’ across Britain.

The failure of the investigation into the UK’s alleged 85 Sharia courts was disclosed to MPs by Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly.

He informed Tory backbencher Kris Hopkins that the previous Government commissioned “an exploratory study of Sharia councils in England with respect to family law”.

However, because the limited findings could not be regarded as a representative assessment of the operation of Sharia councils, the Ministry of Justice decided not to publish them.


The Ministry commented that the report “was essentially an exploratory study which identified a number of challenges to undertaking more robust research.

“The challenges to undertaking more robust research were that the councils are generally run on a volunteer basis, were short staffed and very busy, so there were practical difficulties in speaking with respondents”, it explained.

“There was also reluctance to discuss the private work of the councils and respondents were wary of the stereotypical ways in which their organisations were represented in the media.”


Sharia law is currently under scrutiny in the House of Lords, where Baroness Cox has tabled a Bill seeking to make it a crime to claim separate jurisdiction from UK courts in family or criminal matters.

In response to the Bill, the Islamic Sharia Council released a statement claiming that Lady Cox had “regurgitated common myths about the role of women in Islam”.

The statement, issued by the Islamic Sharia Council’s Secretary Dr Suhaib Hasan, said: “It is indeed a crime that Lady Cox has made no attempt to understand the workings of the shariah councils.”

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