Sharia councils may be working in a “discriminatory and unacceptable way”, the Home Office has said, as it announced an investigation into the practice.
Lord Bates said the probe will be part of the Government’s counter-extremism strategy, and pledged to act on its findings.
Last month a website was set up which highlighted powerful stories from women who had suffered because of Sharia law in Britain.
In March, Baroness Cox – who is behind a Bill aimed at curbing the growth of quasi-legal systems such as Sharia councils – called for a judge-led inquiry into the issue.
In a written Parliamentary answer, Lord Bates said that the Government will set up a “full, independent investigation to assess to what extent Sharia is being applied in a manner that is unacceptable”.
He said the terms of reference and duration of the review will be set following the appointment of an independent leader.
Rights are compromised
The Government “will act on any evidence” that shows unlawful use of Sharia law, the minister added.
In September, equalandfree.org was launched featuring a number of case studies of Muslim women speaking out about their experiences.
One lady, 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”.