Sharia law to be enshrined in British legal system
John Bingham reports in the Telegraph that Sharia law is to be enshrined in the legal system of England and Wales for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills.
This isn't coming from agitating Muslims or Sharia-friendly legislators, but from the 200-year-old Law Society – the professional association that represents and governs the solicitors' profession and provides services and support to solicitors as well as serving as a sounding board for law reform. That the Law Society should issue guidance to its members which effectively creates a parallel legal system to that which has evolved over centuries is, as some lawyers have said, "astonishing".
Of course Muslims should be able to order their own inheritance affairs as they wish, but it should be in accordance with the law of the land, for in a liberal democracy there is one law and all are equal before it. What is quite shocking about this Sharia guidance is that it circumvents equality legislation by specifically denying women an equal share of the deceased's inheritance: “The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class,” it says. Thus do the sons prosper while the daughters live in penury: their only redemption is the dowry they attract on betrothal. There is also acknowledgement of polygamy, which is illegal in the UK. This is the Law Society of once-Christian England effectively facilitating the bartering of Muslim women like cattle. Equality can go to the lowest of the depths of Jahannam.
It is further reported that unbelievers and illegitimate children – "and even those who have been adopted" – may also be excluded from inheritance.
So the Law Society is not only upholding gender discrimination, but overt religious discrimination: "Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognise only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes."
They don't say anything about the inheritance entitlement of gay Muslim sons or lesbian daughters, but no doubt the Law Society bends to accommodate that particular sexuality discrimination, too.
All of this, according to Nicholas Fluck, President of The Law Society, promotes “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system.
His Grace has long reported the efforts of Baroness Cox in combating Sharia-creep. And the former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, has long warned us of the regressive nature of Sharia law and its irreconcilability to the English system of jurispridence.
Baroness Cox is of the view that the Law Society's guidance "violates everything that we stand for.” She said: "It would make the Suffragettes turn in their graves.” Bishop Michael is yet to speak, but in a sense he has already done so. He wrote back in 2008:
English law is rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition and, in particular, our notions of human freedoms derive from that tradition. In my view, it would be simply impossible to introduce a tradition, like Shari’a, into this Corpus without fundamentally affecting its integrity.Curiously, there is absolutely nothing about this guidance on the Law Society's website. Perhaps this ought to come as no surprise: the Telegraph reports that it was "quietly published this month and distributed to solicitors in England and Wales". But the subversion and covert manipulation are jaw-dropping:
The Shari’a is not a generalised collection of dispositions. It is articulated in highly concrete codes called fiqh. It would have to be one or the other, or all, of these which would have to be recognised. All of these schools would be in tension with the English legal tradition on questions like monogamy, provisions for divorce, the rights of women, custody of children, laws of inheritance and of evidence. This is not to mention the relation of freedom of belief and of expression to provisions for blasphemy and apostasy.
It suggests deleting or amending standard legal terms and even words such as “children” to ensure that those deemed “illegitimate” are denied any claim over the inheritance. It recommends that some wills include a declaration of faith in Allah which would be drafted at a local mosque, and hands responsibility for drawing up some papers to Sharia courts. The guidance goes on to suggest that Sharia principles could potentially overrule British practices in some disputes, giving examples of areas that would need to be tested in English courts.The growth of Sharia courts, councils and tribunals is properly a matter for the Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC MP. Those that are acting within the law may be monitored and their judgments appealed. But those which are operating unofficially, often within mosques, are now bolstered in their legitmacy by the Law Society.
..“Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death. This means you should amend or delete some standard will clauses.” It advises lawyers to draft special exclusions from the Wills Act 1837, which allows gifts to pass to the children of an heir who has died, because this is not recognised in Islamic law.
It is utterly astonishing in England that centuries of Christian belief, custom and tradition must conform to every aspect of human rights legislation, while the imported beliefs, customs and traditions of Islam may trump those same rights. The integrity of our legal tradition is rooted in the moral and spiritual vision derived from the Bible. We abandon that at our peril.