UK Islamic school says ‘extreme punishments’ are on the way
The ‘Muslim Arbitration Tribunal’ (the acronym for which, as far as many Muslim women are concerned, might as well be prefixed with ‘DOOR’) is reported to have already dispensed more than 100 Shar’ia judgements to resolve civil disputes between Muslims across the UK. One inheritance dispute between three sisters and their two brothers resulted in the men being granted double their sisters’ inheritance, but, under Islamic law, this was deemed ‘fair’.
Of course, these women dare not challenge such rulings for fear of bringing dishonour on the family name. They will be acutely aware of tragic consequences which have befallen many Asian women who have been deemed to have done so.
The court presently operates ‘in tandem’ with the British legal system, but it is certainly aware that there is room for development in this area. Whilst being interviewed about the barbarism usually associated with the term ‘Shari’a’ - beheadings, public floggings and hands being chopped off - Faisal Aqtab Siddiqi, the college Head, said: ‘British society was not ready for such punishments’.
It is not for this learned gentleman and school principal a matter of amending the Shari’a code, or of eradicating the depraved torture and inhumanity of the extreme punishments, but of agitating for the UK to submit to the supreme law of Allah. According to the school’s website: ‘Hijaz is re-designing the basis of Islamic education that was historically the strength of Muslims, which has now been lost to sub-standard or subservient forms of education and thinking’. Mr Siddiqi is quoted as saying that ‘if society became more “civilised” then those who broke the law should expect to receive the highest degree of punishment’.
So there you have it. The Head of this Muslim school, who also sits in judgement within the jurisdiction of its court, is of the opinion that beheadings, public floggings and hands being chopped off are an expression of greater civility. Is this really what his students are being taught?
Cranmer is even more concerned to learn that, unlike the informal Shari’a courts which have operated within the context of local mosques for years, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal has ‘binding legal status’. Mr Siddiqi triumphantly declares: “We can therefore, for the first time, offer the Muslim community a real and true opportunity to settle disputes in accordance with Islamic sacred law with the knowledge that the outcome as determined by the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal will be binding and enforceable.”
This is apparently because ‘decisions challenged by the losing party will be upheld by a county court bailiff or high court sheriff. The Nuneaton-based tribunal cannot force anyone to come within its jurisdication. But once someone agrees to settle a dispute at the tribunal, he or she is bound in English law to abide by the court’s decision’.
However, this appears to be predicated on the court’s decisions being ‘reasonable’.
Well, thank God for that.
Cranmer awaits the day when what is deemed ‘reasonable’ is itself a matter of political contention, for doubtless the Western and British notions, which have been informed and honed through centuries of Christian theology and spirituality, are ‘substandard’. Rather like defining the common good, such principles are mutable, and politicians are prone to bend with the strongest wind. Ultimately, as Mr Siddiqi points out, they are ‘subservient’.
Mr Siddiqi’s ‘not ready’ ought to be a reminder to all that liberties which are not rigorously defended are incrementally eradicated.