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Very concerned about establishment of plural legal systems in the UK

Wednesday 13 February 2008, by Women Against Fundamentalism

Statement in ’Evening Standard’, 13 February 2008:

Women Against Fundamentalism would be very concerned about the
establishment of plural legal systems, implementing laws on different
principles. Research on existing sharia councils shows that their
decisions are frequently discriminatory, may impede women from
leaving violent marriages - insisting first on reconciliation - and
frequently have little basis in any recognised law such as those
which govern marriage and divorce in Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Appeasing these demands will lead to calls for separate legal systems
from other communities such as extremist Hindus. It will also have a
detrimental impact on those groups trying to reform Muslim laws,
which are informally applied. Few genuine reformers are calling for
sharia councils to be legitimised, because they understand that they
are threatening to the civil rights of ordinary Muslims. The
Archbishop appears to have been influenced by sections of the Muslim
Right-wing, self appointed experts who are promoting violent and
discriminatory versions of ’sharia’ at home and abroad.

Gita Sahgal, Women Against Fundamentalism.