Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Britain's House of Commons Debates Place of Sharia Law In England

In Britain yesterday, in the House of Commons, MP Kris Hopkins opened a debate on Sharia Law, questioning whether the government planned to recognize and provide resources for Sharia councils. The full text of the debate is available from the House of Commons website. Responding to Hopkins questions, Under-Secretary of State for Justice Helen Grant said in part:
... [S]haria law has no jurisdiction under the law of England and Wales and the courts do not recognise it. There is no parallel court system in this country, and we have no intention of changing the position in any part of England and Wales.
... [S]haria law is the code of personal religious law governing the conduct of Muslims. Those principles can extend to all aspects of people’s lives. There are a number of sharia councils in England and Wales that help Muslim communities resolve civil and family disputes by making recommendations by which they hope that the parties will abide, but I make it absolutely clear that they are not part of the court system in this country and have no means of enforcing their decisions. If any of their decisions or recommendations are illegal or contrary to public policy—including equality policies such as the Equality Act 2010—or national law, national law will prevail all the time, every time. That is no different from any other council or tribunal, whether or not based on sharia law.

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