Britain should adopt Sharia law
The Archbishop of Canterbury came in for huge criticism for suggesting Britain should adopt certain aspects of Sharia law, but what would it actually mean and could it be a good thing?
Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments.
You can also add to the debate by leaving a comment at the end of the page.
British law already allows people to devise their own methods of arbitration
Where there is a civil dispute – i.e. not a criminal one, two parties can agree the terms under which their dispute is to be settled. The judgement of the arbitrator is completely legal under domestic law, unless it is clearly unreasonable. The arbitrator would not be able to impose any physical or custodial punishment.
Sharia law can be manifestly unjust towards women in particular. It is easy to imagine situations where women are forced into accepting arbitration by a Sharia court only to have her children taken from her and her husband given all her assets. British law provides a manifestly more open way of securing justice and this is the only law that can be acceptable here.
Other religions decide things their own way
Jews have had their own Beth Din courts in Britain for centuries and have been quite able to find a way of co-existing with Britons. Jewish courts deal with matters relating to Judaism only. Anything outside of that, anything subject to British law, is still tried by the British legal system.
If anyone is flogged, that would count as common assault under existing British law and those responsible punished. This debate does not presume Sharia Law and any punishments given under it to be superior to or beyond existing domestic legislation.
Jewish law is entirely different to Sharia and is far more tolerant. We cannot allow Sharia any foothold in this country, for it might start out dealing with marital disputes but could easily end up with women being flogged for sitting too close to a man they’re not married to. Very many aspects of Sharia law are abhorrent to Britons and the idea it should be practised here is unthinkable.
The 'For' argument says: "Jews have had their own Beth Din courts in Britain for centuries and have been quite able to find a way of co-existing with Britons." This says it all, really. Their attitude is wrong. If they want to live in Britain, they should become Britons, not aspire to just 'coexist' with them.
If a dispute does arise British law will overrule
Should there be any dispute about the legitimacy of Sharia or the decisions made as a result of it, any plaintiff will still be able to appeal to British law and have their case heard there. Sharia does not replace British law but supplements it, and by so doing provides a way for Muslims to reduce the load on the British legal system.
As all public bodies have to adhere to Human Rights legislation, one aspect of which is a fair trial, all Sharia decisions will be suspect as the very nature of the procedure is often unfair. For example, the weight of the testimony given by a woman or non-Muslim is less than a Muslim man. Sharia courts will only be useful in business disputes between two male Muslims which is not the circumstance in which most people supporting this move would like them used.
It is difficult to see a situation in, say, family law, where the Sharia court could give a different decision to what would have been the decision of secular family court and where that decision would be upheld.
There is room for improvement in any legal system
National laws should always be open to any improvements or adjustments for the benefit of the dynamic society. There is no harm in considering to adopt the positive aspects of another legal system, regardless of the authority that devised it. It should not be a debate about religion and religious rules, but about the system of rules that work best for society. And there is always a 'need' for continuous improvement in any system. Therefore, certain aspects of Sharia law that would be good for the society should be considered for adoption.
Sharia Is God Law It is Fair and Just and it should be Implemented
Sharia will solve all the problems that the west have be they britian, america, anywhere. How dare u say that Sharia is harsh to women it gives more rights to women then any other legal system. Sharia up lifts a women. Either it be personal law, penal code, criminal law, commerical law, economic law Sharia encompesses all. Islam is a complete way of life there is no law in Islam which is against Human rights, women, animals etc. People should learn abot Islam before throwing accusations. If you study Saudia Arabia there hardly no problems, the crime rate is so low. America such a laught 'super power' has the highest crime rate. Similar problems with britain. Thats what happens when you have 'man made laws' they don't solve the problems that west have. People think Sharia is harsh, God has designed this law for us he Knows what is best for us no law is against humanity for example the wisdom behind God saying the punishment for stealing is cutting of hands; if this is adopted as a law of the land then anyone who thinks about stealing will think twice as he or she will know that if they steal there hands will be cut off so they will definitely think twice about stealing. Also if every muslim gave zakat islamic taxes there will be no poor people left in they world no one will die of hunger, thirst. If this law of giving Zakat was implememted than it will make it the law and any one who breaks the law should get punished as it happens in british law. Another islamic if any one commits rape they should be killed if this law was adpoted then anyone who thinks of commited such as evil crime of rape will certainly think twice before committing this crime they would know if I rape then I will be put to death. If I pose a question to you the reader if you mother, daughter,sister was raped what will you do? I pose this question to my friends not only did they say I will kill him they also said I beat, or torture him to death. So why the double standards if someone commits rape and they should be put to death why does it seam harsh for others and not you. There are so many other examples that I can give but It will take ages. I leave with the thought think carefully before you saomething about Sharia and Islam the solution for mankind.
Alas this commenter is unable even to formulate his argument correctly grammatically or with the correct spelling as such his argument illustrates his total ignorance and also highlights the barbarism, sexism and general intolerance of his religion and its law. A religion that advocates death as a punishment is a false religion.
The muslim jurist should wake up
The muslim jurists are putting the name of Islam down they are to wrapped up in there selfish desires that they dont do what is best for the muslims they have to fight and stand up to the british governement and make the truth be heard. They should not whip out and applogise all the time stand up for what is the truth. If sharia law is adopted in britian the non-muslims will have no problems as sharia is designed for humans created by God. For example no non muslim will be forced to aspect Islam, they can drink in the privacy of there homes, they dress any way they like. The non muslims will see the postive changes in britan such such as accident resultings from drink driving will go down considerably, rape crime will go down, stealing will go down. There society will be a better and safer place to live. By seeing the muslims the non-muslims will see how correct Islam.
NO THIS IS THE UK and although the religions here for centuries have and always will be full of hypocrisy we do not need a more hypocritical one.
SHARIA ESPECIALLY ISLAMIC CRIMINAL LAW SHOULD BE ADPOTED
We know that some parts of Sharia are adopted by British people for Muslims such as family law including, divorce, marriage, commercial law etc. but still Sharia is not excepted by British law for example if you get married in under Islamic law you still have to get married the English way marriage registry, also to get divorced according to the British law. This is not incorporating Sharia into British law is it now? British government knows that if they adopt Sharia as a while it will solve all their problems which they don't like. If Tobacco market was stopped they will lose all the money, if drinking was stopped they will have no money etc. It is all money, money, money. For them. If interest was stopped they will die.
Incorporating Shariah law would violate British Law an example being giving away your children to a man as you marry them or giving half your money, this is not right. If they do not wish to follow the laws of the country they live in then they should return home.
It would not solve the problems.
Debt Problems? Nope. Infact would make it worse.
Money? That's how a country is run.
Also even if they did, Value Added Tax (VAT) would still apply to consumer goods.
Shariah law would make the country worse if anything.
One law for everyone
Justice cannot be served unless there is one law for everyone. British law is based on this tenet and it is inviolate. Sharia law cannot be allowed to override or even co-exist with British law. British law must apply to everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. To change this would be to invite any sub-group to determine their own laws, and that way anarchy lies.
Muslims are not asking for Britons to abide by Sharia, just that they be allowed to use Sharia courts in cases where both sides agree to abide by their decision. Muslims would still have to abide by British law and to suffer the consequences if they don’t. No-one, Muslim or non-Muslim, would have to abide by Sharia law if they didn’t want to.
Sharia law is unfair to women and incompatible with justice
Sharia law in Britain might not start out as the same Sharia law practised by the Taliban or in Saudi Arabia, but who’s to say it won't end up that way? Extreme Sharia law doesn’t allow for free speech, doesn’t treat women equally, treats gays as second-class and imposes some pretty brutal punishments. This is not the kind of law we want in Britain.
The Taliban and Saudi Arabia are two extreme versions of Sharia law. Islam is actually a very fair and tolerant religion. It has only been made extreme by extremists and the danger here is that by not allowing Sharia we force young Muslims to choose between British society and their religion. For Muslims there can only be one winner and this will force moderates to come into contact with extremists and to become radicalised.
When British law was imposed on colonial India women were stripped of their property and freedom's from their husbands, guardians etc. By removing Sharia law, women's rights were harmed. Indeed, it took 1300 years for 'western' states to catch up with Islamic law in respect to women's rights. A woman was able to divorce, own property, take part in politics and public life long before British and American women. However, one must accept that since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Islamic jurisprudence has been in a heavy decline. It is here, that we are presented with an opportunity for Islamic jurisprudence to be developed and allowed to modernise by engaging with British law. There is an opportunity for both legal systems to engage and learn from one another.
In relation to punishments imposed by Sharia - in Britain, the death penalty was officially repealed in 1998. The last executions took place in 1965. However, there are undoubtedly a growing number of people that would re-introduce the death penalty in Britain, regardless of Sharia. Nevertheless, the motion does not imply an imposition of Sharia over the entire British public nor over criminal law. The difference between secular western states and Muslim majority states is that Muslims have had a God-based/given legal system for 1400 years and on the whole Muslims are religious people that have been directed to live a certain way of life (thus, for example, the attitude to homosexuality). While Muslims and Jews have their own advanced legal systems, Christianity never fully developed its own independent one, and so the current legal system was developed in the wester world, although the basic tenants of Christian teaching are present within them.
People who come to this country should abide by its laws
Muslims should not expect society to bend to Islamic law when in a (primarily) Christian society. There needs to be some give from Muslims, it can’t be all British society bending to their whim. If we choose to live in another country we must agree to abide by their rules and laws. In this case it means British rules and British laws.
Muslims have made great efforts to integrate with British society, the reason they feel alienated is because they have been made to feel so through intolerant attitudes from some in this country. Sharia law does not interfere with British law, it does not replace British law and will not affect British people. It simply recognises that sometimes Muslims want to abide by Muslim rules.
'Government approval' doesn't equal public approval.
If the British Government is ultimately responsible for the appointment of the legal representatives/arbitrators of Sharia law then there is always the risk that Muslims will not accept their judgements as valid or agreeable, particularly if the arbitrators have been selected on account of their westernised and liberal traits that are not always shared by the rest of the Muslim population.
The situation is then that the 'official bodies' will be ignored and Muslims in need of dispute resolution will simply go back to the more conservative clerics in their mosques as they always have done.
And how would that be worse than the present situation?
Most arbitrators of Sharia would be Muslim. And even if they are very western, they would still be less western than the present arbitrators of the British legal system.
The idea is not to get All Muslims to come around, all Muslims are not the same(as you've pointed out, some are relatively liberal/conservative), the idea is to recruit 'anyone' willing to trust the government after a minor change, that familiarizes the Justice system to them. To argue that no such people/person exist/s is presumptuous.
Such a change would mean that British society is not rigidly intolerant of the voice of the minority, making whites more accepting, less judgmental and the Muslim British minority feel more comfortable and less oppressed in its surroundings.
There is no need for Sharia law.
The existing legal system is designed to be fair to the whole population. Religion should not be allowed to infiltrate law, and Muslims should be focused more on integrating with British society rather than further distancing themselves from it.
Allowing different religious groups to run their own worlds is dangerous; it will only lead to anarchy and fragmentation.
The adoption of a supplementary legal framework for certain legal issues is not dangerous, when only applied to Muslims. Ultimately, the Parliamentary recognition of this field as a legal mechanism is not a huge step towards some sort of oppression or lack of integration but is more of a formality. Instead it would allow Muslims to engage with the legal system further if Sharia elements were brought into the legal code. Sharia law introduced various human rights and civil liberties long before the European and American revolutions and the move towards the legal frameworks, rights and political systems that exist in the Western world today.
The Muslim and democratic state of Malaysia, for example, has different laws that apply to non-Muslims to those that apply to Muslims under sharia. The system has generally been a success, and would present an opportunity to engage all minorities within Britain. Moreover, there is a strong possibility that non-Muslims would turn to the Sharia legal elements within English law because of expediency and its emphasis on justice and negotiation. Arguably, but perhaps too wishfully, if the British public were able to gain a (greater) understanding of Sharia law it would allow for social cohesion and integration and cross-cultural dialogue, instead of non-Muslims automatically viewing Sharia as an out of date legal practice.
Abolishing secularism is reactionary
To abolish the secular principles of an established democracy, in favour of a religious rule of law, is reactionary.
The motion is not calling for secular law to be abolished, rather supplemented by an alternative yet fair judicial system which can be approached by those who do not wish to undergo the expense and bureaucracy of the secular law systems.
British Law for a British Country
Britain is a Christian country and so to introduce laws from another religion is ridiculous. Sharia Law would take us back to a time of capital punishment, something our society has advanced from. Sharia Law is fixed and leaves no room to evolve, if people wish to introduce new laws they should use the current system in place to try and include them in British LAW.
Christian law has often been just as brutal and misogynistic as Islamic law. Allowing people to practice Sharia law whilst under the supervision of secular law will prevent harsh and cruel punishments from being installed, and the constant discussion amongst imams would allow Sharia law to evolve and adapt. Jewish law is based on rabbinical decision and the country’s own law, allowing adaptation and prevention of old and useless laws and customs, and simply changing British law to accommodate for Muslims would not solve the problem of expense and bureaucracy.
GOES AGAINST BRITISH VALUES AND FREEDOM OF RELIGION
This would be tyranny of the minority and would exclude the right to freedom of religion as it would force laws from ONE RELIGION upon people, rather than having liberal laws that allow for freedom of religion.
We should respect freedom of religion by allowing Muslims to practice their religion in peace, while they allow us the same right.
Why would we even consider applying Sharia Law when followers of Islam are very much in the minority in Britain - if we are considering Sharia law, should we not consider new laws that make everyone follow Christian principles, such as 'love thy neighbour' and no sex before marriage.
But more important, why are we considering adopting something that goes against all of our democratic beliefs and rights - freedom of religion.
More importantly, Sharia law will take away more of our fundamental human rights and allows for capital punishment - something against the European Charter of Human Rights, along with other infringements. Why bring these laws in? We have VOTED over centuries for our existing laws.
This would be undemocratic and wrong, and would only be right if we had a referendum and a majority voted in favour (which, obviously, would not happen!).
Unless this happens, adopting Sharia law would be undemocratic and conflict with our existing commitments to the European Union, their Charter of Human Rights, and human rights in general.
Rowan Williams, and indeed any sane person, did not and would not argue for the imposition of Sharia law on the entire British population. His argument was based upon the extension of current informal legal practices in certain areas of the UK where, for example, Sharia law is used in regards to marriage, divorce and commercial agreements/disagreements between Muslims. This is a growing field due to its success and support from Muslims that do not wish to undergo the time consuming, convoluted and expensive English legal system. The motion does not call for the abolition of English law, but rather the adoption of a supplementary system within civil law. Therefore, freedom of religion is not jeopardised and a referendum is unnecessary. A referendum would in fact be a tyranny of the majority as the answer would undoubtedly be a ‘no’ due to the lack of knowledge and fear mongering that would go and does go hand in hand with this contentious and misunderstood topic. Democracies exist to protect minority rights within a state and not to enforce the majority view. Moreover, the death penalty in Britain was only fully repealed in 1998 by the Human Rights Act, section 21(5), and initially in 1965 for murder. There has not been a long standing jurisprudential and legal framework for the abolition of capital punishment anyway.
The suggestion that ‘it would force law from one religion upon’ another is absurd if only applied to the 2 million Muslims in the UK. The adoption of Sharia does not automatically void the United Kingdom’s commitment to European Union law and the ECHR; indeed the very notion that human rights and civil liberties have no link to Sharia is offensive to 1400 years of Islamic jurisprudence. Human rights and civil liberties were introduced through Islamic law long before Locke, Mills et al developed legal principles such as the rule of law and non-retroactivity.
Finally, if we consider the practices of a number of Muslim countries, such as Malaysia, we see that there exists various legal divisions that deal with non-Muslims, in addition to the Sharia based law for Muslims, and the criminal code that is applied to all citizens. Therefore, the adoption of sharia law within the UK does not go against British values, and certainly not the freedom of religion.
Sharia jurisprudence would not allow for Sharia to be adopted in the UK
Sharia jurisprudence dictates that Sharia Law is to be adopted in states where the overwhelming majority of the population are Muslims. Therefore, Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are quite right to have a legal system based on Sharia.
A state with a mixture of Muslim and non-Muslim inhabitants can either have Sharia law for Muslims and a different legal code for non-Muslims or it can adopt a 'secular' code for all citizens. There cannot be an imposition of Sharia on non-Muslims.
Muslims that are a minority in a state are required to follow the rules of the land they live in as long they do not require Muslims to carry out an activity that would be illegal under Sharia. So, until Britain adopts a law requiring Muslims to drink alcohol the British legal system is fair and appropriate enough for Muslims and people of other faiths to accept and follow it without the need for further provisions.
No, they burn poppies.
We have enough hypocrisy in this country without taking on more. Also they burn poppies on one of our days of mourning,,,and they do not even get fined for littering. I do if I drop a cig end. So wrong.
It should be considered that this is only a tiny minority that is condemned by most Muslims. It also really has very little to do with the debate.
The islamic community are a severe minority in terms of population in the UK.
Most islamic people immigrate from countries, meaning they are not British at heart. The Islamic community makes 4.4% of the British population.
Irreligion makes up 50.6% of the population and Christian 46.4, Shariah law is irrelevant to most people and thus would take more time and effort than it would ever be used for.
What do you think?