MP: Justice Secretary should curb influence of Sharia courts

An MP has urged the Justice Secretary not to accept Sharia courts as they try to operate a parallel legal system in Britain.

A Panorama programme looking at Sharia councils in Britain will air at 8.30pm tonight on BBC1. You can watch it here on BBC iPlayer after it is broadcast.

Tory MP Kris Hopkins asked Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to block attempts by Sharia councils to be recognised by the Government, following a statement from Bradford Council for Mosques.


In a letter, Mr Hopkins said: “As the Cabinet Minister with responsibility for our judicial system, I trust you will use your offices to protect its integrity by rejecting any approaches to recognise or give any credence to Sharia courts which have neither jurisdiction nor legitimacy in this country.”

He said: “There can only be one set of laws in this country”, and warned that we shouldn’t condone groups setting up parallel systems.

The Bradford Council for Mosques last week called on the Government to recognise Sharia councils, and better equip and support them.


However, president for the Bradford Council of Mosques Mohammed Mushtaq denies they are attempting to set up a competing legal system.

The Panorama programme highlighted how some Sharia courts side-step the law and discriminate against women.

It looked at Leyton Islamic Sharia Council, in East London, and sent an undercover reporter there with a story about an abusive husband.


An Islamic scholar at the council, Dr Suhaib Hasan said the reporter should only go to the Police as a “very very last resort”.

Currently, Baroness Cox has a Bill in Parliament aimed at tackling Sharia councils.

She has warned against a system which, “in its gender discrimination causing women such suffering, is utterly incompatible with our country’s values”.

Related Resources