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AND SO IT BEGINS? SHARIA LAW IN BRITAIN?

 
 
Foxfyre
 
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 10:05 am
Assimilation of other cultures into the existing culture of a nation tends to enrich and expand the cultural wealth of a nation without eroding its uniqueness and strengths.

But what about dual cultures within a nation? On the Israel/Hamas/Hezbollah/Iran thread there has been spirited discussion about the ramifications for Israel and whether its culture would survive an Islamic Arab majority. The U.S. immigration threads also include a dynamic of an "American culture" versus competing cultures coming in. And at least a few Brits are now raising their eyebrows at how long the uniquely British culture and virtues of law can be sustained with increasing competition.

So here......red flags? Or no big deal?

Sharia law SHOULD be used in Britain, says UK's top judge

By Steve Doughty
Last updated at 12:05 PM on 04th July 2008

Explosive: The Lord Chief Justice's endorsement of Sharia law has already created huge controversy

The most senior judge in England yesterday gave his blessing to the use of sharia law to resolve disputes among Muslims.

Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips said that Islamic legal principles could be employed to deal with family and marital arguments and to regulate finance.

He declared: 'Those entering into a contractual agreement can agree that the agreement shall be governed by a law other than English law.'

In his speech at an East London mosque, Lord Phillips signalled approval of sharia principles as long as punishments - and divorce rulings - complied with the law of the land.

But his remarks, which back the informal sharia courts operated by numerous mosques, provoked a barrage of criticism.

Lawyers warned that family and marital disputes settled by sharia could disadvantage women or the vulnerable.

Tories said that legal equality must be respected and that rulings incompatible with English law should never be enforceable.

Lord Phillips spoke five months after Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams suggested Islamic law could govern marital law, financial transactions and arbitration in disputes.

The Lord Chief Justice said yesterday of the Archbishop's views: 'It was not very radical to advocate embracing sharia law in the context of family disputes'.

He added there is 'widespread misunderstanding as to the nature of sharia law'.

Lord Phillips said: 'Those who are in dispute are free to subject it to mediation or to agree that it shall be resolved by a chosen arbitrator. There is no reason why principles of sharia law or any other religious code should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of dispute resolution.'

Lord Phillips said that any sanctions must be 'drawn from the laws of England and Wales'. Severe physical punishment - he mentioned stoning, flogging or amputating hands - is 'out of the question' in Britain, he added.

Lord Phillips' speech brought protests from lawyers who fear women could be disadvantaged in supposedly voluntary sharia deals.

Barrister and human rights specialist John Cooper said: 'There should be one law by which everyone is held to account.

'Well-crafted laws in this country, drawn up to protect both parties including the weak and vulnerable party in matrimonial break-ups, could be compromised.'

Resolution, the organisation of family law solicitors, said people should govern their lives in accordance with religious principles 'provided that those beliefs and traditions do not contradict the fundamental principle of equality on which Britain's laws are based.'

Spokesman Teresa Richardson said religious law 'must be used to find solutions which are consistent with the basic principles of family law in this country and people must always have redress to the civil courts where they so choose.'

Robert Whelan, of the Civitas think tank, said: 'Everybody is governed by English law and it is not possible to sign away your legal rights. That is why guarantees on consumer products always have to tell customers their statutory rights are not affected.

'There is not much doubt that in traditional Islamic communities women do not enjoy the freedoms that they have had for 100 years or more in Britain.

'We Muslims are the new Jews' says MP who has been victim of a hit-and-run and a firebomb attack

Is Britain anti-Muslim?

'It is very easy to put pressure on young women in a male-dominated household. The English law stands to protect people from intimidation in such circumstances.'

Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: 'Mediation verdicts which are incompatible with our own legal principles should never be enforceable. One of the key aspects of our free society is equality. This should be understood and respected by all.'

The Ministry of Justice said: 'English law takes precedence over any other legal system. The Government has no intention of changing this position. Alongside this, it is possible to resolve civil law dispute by other systems.'

When appointed Lord Chief Justice, Nicholas Phillips gave the impression he would steer an uncontroversial course.

He was best known as a Master of the Rolls - the most senior civil law judge - who had condemned the compensation culture.

His first act in office was to declare: 'I intend to keep out of politics'.

However 70-year-old Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers has followed his predecessor Lord Woolf in pushing for fewer prison sentences for criminals and has repeatedly clashed with ministers over criminal and constitutional law.

This week, members of the Government criticised the punishments he has devised for youths caught carrying knives.

In October 2006, newspapers pictured the Law Lord carrying out a community punishment in jeans and high visibility jacket, leaning on a shovel, and declaring government penal policy to be 'madness'.

In September, Lord Phillips is to leave the post to become the chief Law Lord and President of the new Supreme Court when it opens next year.

He has two children with his French wife, Christylle, and two stepchildren.
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 10:37 am
Just to add another dimension to the above questions...:


Quote:
A beth din is a rabbinical court of Judaism. In ancient times, it was the building block of the legal system in the Land of Israel. Today, it is invested with legal powers in a number of religious matters (din Torah, "matter of litigation," plural dinei Torah) both in Israel and in Jewish communities in the Diaspora, where its judgments hold varying degrees of authority (depending upon the jurisdiction and subject matter) in matters specifically germane to Jewish religious life.

(wikipedia)


The London Beth Din of the United Synagogue has legal and/or regulatory powers in matters of divorces, conversions, adoptions, Jewish status, overseas marriages and litigations.

The London Beth Din on litigation:

Quote:
Litigation

In Jewish Law, Jewish parties are forbidden to take their civil disputes to a secular court and are required to have those disputes adjudicated by a Beth Din. The London Beth Din sits as an arbitral tribunal in respect of civil disputes and the parties to any such dispute are required to sign an Arbitration Agreement prior to a hearing taking place. The effect of this is that the award given by the Beth Din has the full force of an Arbitration Award and may be enforced (with prior permission of the Beth Din) by the civil courts. At a hearing before the Dayanim, the parties do not require legal representation although they are allowed to have legal or other representation.

To commence a Din Torah, write to our Beth Din providing us with your name, address and daytime telephone contact numbers together with similar details for the proposed defendant(s). You should set out the facts of the case and the relief that you are seeking from the Beth Din. The application should be accompanied by a deposit cheque for the sum of £80 payable to USKB. On receipt of your application, provided that the facts as stated by you give rise to a prima facie case, the defendant(s) will be summoned to a hearing before the London Beth Din.



So, as Foxy said: what about those dual cultures within a nation? How long can the uniquely British culture and virtues of law be sustained with this kind of competition from rabbinical and other courts? Red flags? No big deal?
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 11:11 am
The irony is that Foxy is in favor of most parts of Sharia law...

She just wants to impose it on the whole country, not just on the adherents of the religion.
0 Replies
 
revel
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Jul, 2008 11:16 am
Not to mention Catholics laws which have been used in various countries (including Britian) for years to settle disputes among their followers.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 01:17 am
If the UK wishes to travel down this path so be it.

I think it's foolish, but I also don't believe that suicide should be outlawed.

Let's not for one second though believe that this is something compatible with American jurisprudence. Not, because we are any wiser or more enlightened than our UK cousins, but because our lawyers are that much more competitive.

Few American lawyers who might lose in a Sharia or Beth Din procedure would not attempt to appeal to US law as overriding either.

I don't have a problem with the notion of two parties engaging in a contract mutually agreeing upon the law that will govern their contract. As long as coercion is not involved the matter should be left to the parties.

Similarly, if the parties in a dispute wish to submit themselves to the decision of a Sharia or Beth Din court it is not that much different than agreeing to submit to the decision of an Arbitration Panel.

The key issue is coercion, and the legal system of a country should bend over backwards to guard against coercion. Is there a field more ripe for coercion that settling marital disputes via Sharia law?

I'll never say it can't happen here, but it will take an enormous sea change for it to happen here.

Europe has for some time, consciously or unconsciously, accepted that it is in its twilight years. Next stop Eurarbia.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 01:25 am
Re: AND SO IT BEGINS? SHARIA LAW IN BRITAIN?
Foxfyre wrote:

So here......red flags? Or no big deal?


No big deal. Any punishment would have to be lawful under English law so it's not really different than a private contract to arbitrary rules for an arbitrary committee to rule on.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 09:47 am
Interesting observations and comments everybody (except for ebrown with his typical non sequitor and unsupportable ad hominem idiocy)

The reason this topic especially interested me was because of some provocative (on line) discussions I have participated in with Brits who are concerned that the British are losing their distinctly and uniquely British culture, language, and way of life and that Europe itself is becoming less and less European year by year. Even as they understand that the world turns and nothing stands still, there is concern for what sort of world is replacing the one that they have known.

I am reminded of conversations (and friendly disagreements) with a respected member on the Israel/Iran etc. thread in which he expressed his opinion that Israel could not sustain itself as a Jewish state because of the low birthrate among the Jews when compared to that of its Arab citizens and neighbors.

Some (not all) of the Brits in those other discussions were beginning to have the same concerns for Britain and Europe. Is an official accommodation to Sharia Law brought about by the large number of Muslims in Britain a substantial chink the cultural armor? Should Muslims eventually outnumber and out-vote the non-Muslim Brits/Europeans, what would then happen?

Would moderate Muslims prevail and human rights and freedoms be protected? Or would the militants and Sharia law prevail as it does in virtually every predominantly Muslim country?

Here is an excerpt of an essay written by a Brit expressing such concerns:
Quote:
I'm one of those old-fashioned immigrants to this country who feels passionately grateful, is proudly British (as well as Irish - having been born in Dublin), and believes that immigrants have more duties than rights.

And, further, that one of those is to adjust to British society rather than expecting it to adjust to them.

However, one aspect of contemporary British society which I refuse to adjust to is its weakness in the face of the enemy within.

In my many conversations with like-minded people about the threat that radical Islam poses to the British way of lifen - and, indeed, to European civilisation - we frequently end by despairingly agreeing that the West seems intent on committing political and cultural suicide.

When we look starkly at the demographic statistics, the wimpishness of our Establishment in the face of the threat, the perversions perpetrated by political correctness and our own passivity, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that within a couple of generations, Islam will be in control in Europe.

And before anyone says that there would be nothing wrong if this happened, since the vast majority of Muslims are tolerant people who would not dream of interfering with our way of life, it's necessary to point out that in Muslim countries, it's usually the radicals and extremist mullahs - who regard tolerance as a vice - who make the running.

This occurs too in microcosm in Muslim ghettoes around Europe: we saw the frightening fundamentalist fringe of Islam marching, threatening and perpetrating violence over the publication of cartoons depicting Mohammed in Denmark while the majority of Muslims - who, yes, of course, are tolerant and decent - kept their mouths shut and stayed at home.

Yes, Islam may be a great religion. But in its fundamentalist version, some of its values are antipathetic to ours, and if they triumph in Europe, they will threaten our values such as freedom of thought and speech and the spirit of intellectual inquiry that made European civilisation great and prosperous.

The danger of ending up like those poor, despotic and medieval Islamic states in which millions live miserably is a prospect that Christians, Hindus, moderate Muslims and non-believers should be uniting to prevent. But the truth is that we are doing little to stop it.

Consider first at a few chilling statistics. Europeans are failing to reproduce. Just to keep the population steady, you need 2.1 live births per woman.

However, in 2005, the European average was 1.38. In Ireland it was 1.9, France 1.89, Germany 1.35 and Italy 1.23. Britain scored in the middle of this range with 1.6, but that was because - like France - we have a large Muslim population with a high birth rate. Indeed, Muslims are outbreeding non-Muslims throughout Europe.

"Just look at the development within Europe," said a triumphant Norwegian imam a few months ago, "where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children. Our way of thinking will prove more powerful than yours."

WHOLE ESSAY HERE
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 09:58 am
Foxfyre this point of view is completely ridiculous coming from conservatives.. who while they say they are opposing "sharia law" are trying to implement religious based laws here that are remarkably similar.

Sharia Law (that is a law based on strict interpretation of the religion) would...

- Censorship in public life-- making sure that everything in public (i.e. TV) is free from sin (i.e. sex and drugs).
- Religious definition Marriage in strict terms with no room for personal choice..
- Opposition to homosexuality and refusal to allow any public acknowledgment that it may be normal or a legitimate form of relationship.
- Public displays showing the religious backing of government.

When Foxfyre can explain how her desire to impose her religion on society is any different than what these articles are complaining about, I will stop ridiculing it.

This is hypocrisy without bounds.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 10:02 am
And ebrown continues with non sequitor and unsupportable ad hominem idiocy.

Hopefully others will continue to contribute the interesting and provocative impressions that we are seeing from them.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 10:05 am
I am asking a simple question Foxfyre.

How is this any different to what Christian fundamentalists have been doing here for years?

((A possible answer is that this would only apply to some citizens, where as the fundamentalist Christians want to impose it on everyone.))
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 10:28 am
The issue here is religious fundamentalism.

The fundamentalist Christians want to make it into a battle between "us" (the "good" guys) and "them" (those scary foreigners).

What is funny is the goals of these two sides are the same. They want more strict laws based on religion, more conformity in society and less diversity. The plan to use the legal system to impose religion is not new (especially true as we contemplate the passing of Jesse Helms).

If fundamentalist Muslims really were about to force passage of laws to stop gay marriage, end abortion, justify violence without due process, or control what people could see on TV, I would be as alarmed as Foxfyre seems to be.

I am sorry if I don't see Islam as the real threat to our freedom.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 10:32 am
ebrown, Christian fundamentalists have been around for two thousand years now and have been participatory and even at times instrumental in the creation and development of democracies and the freedoms and human rights enjoyed by hundreds of millions of people around the world. And while in the past such fundamentalists have established or transformed new nations, states, and communities where they could practice and/or, for good and bad, enforce their religious beliefs, these days I am unaware of any significant number of Christian fundamentalists anywhere who are lobbying to be allowed to bypass civil law in favor of using their interpretation of the Bible or their catechisms to govern themselves. Certainly the numbers of any who might possibly be thinking along those lines are extremely small and are not increasing.

Your characterization of me as one of those however, is immature, childish, assinine, stupid, meanspirited, and uncategorically incorrect. I am not nor have I ever been a fundamentalist of any religion nor do I support Sharia Law nor have I EVER in any post or elsewhere even remotely tried to force my religious views on anybody. Further the topic is not fundamentalism but rather the encroachment of one culture upon another and the ramifications inherent in that.

And therefore your posts remain non sequitur, ad hominem, and idiotic. I'll add trollish to that list.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jul, 2008 03:11 pm
It is not fair for you to lump all Christians together. The great majority of Christians are peace-loving and compassionate. The fact that there are some Christians that are violent and hateful doesn't mean we should defame everyone who is called Christian.

Christian fundamentalists (of the type I am talking about) are an American invention that started in the mid 1800s and are unlike any Christian group before them (although there are other extreme Christian groups in history, but these are not relevant to modern American Christianity).

These are the groups that fueled by a violent hatred of gays, blacks and immigrants... funded hate speech, subverted laws, infiltrated government institutions, stacked juries, acted as unjust judges, opposed civil rights and started lynch mobs.

I suppose there are a couple of lines here-- we need to completely reject and prosecute any use of violence, and as a society we should denounce as completely unacceptable any group, Christian or otherwise, that spouts hatred or incites violence.

But in a free society, I have to accept the rights of any flavor of Christian since they are citizens with equal rights to myself. This means that they have the same right as I do to be politically active and to engage in public debate.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2008 06:24 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
It is not fair for you to lump all Christians together. The great majority of Christians are peace-loving and compassionate. The fact that there are some Christians that are violent and hateful doesn't mean we should defame everyone who is called Christian.

Christian fundamentalists (of the type I am talking about) are an American invention that started in the mid 1800s and are unlike any Christian group before them (although there are other extreme Christian groups in history, but these are not relevant to modern American Christianity).

These are the groups that fueled by a violent hatred of gays, blacks and immigrants... funded hate speech, subverted laws, infiltrated government institutions, stacked juries, acted as unjust judges, opposed civil rights and started lynch mobs.

I suppose there are a couple of lines here-- we need to completely reject and prosecute any use of violence, and as a society we should denounce as completely unacceptable any group, Christian or otherwise, that spouts hatred or incites violence.

But in a free society, I have to accept the rights of any flavor of Christian since they are citizens with equal rights to myself. This means that they have the same right as I do to be politically active and to engage in public debate.


Have you forgotten the Know Nothing Party of the 1800's? Anti-Catholicism was quite in vogue then, I thought? Christianity is just a name for those whose religion has a Christ centered focus. But, how that is played out by adherents can be very different. In fact, the concept of Jesus (and how one gets his attention in prayer) is different for different denominations of Christianity. I believe it is therefore a misnomer to refer to Christians in the U.S. as though they are one religious group. The same is true for Jews, with their branches of Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, and secular.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Tue 8 Jul, 2008 09:52 pm
Foofie, Of course I haven't forgotten about the Know-Nothings. They are a perfect example of the the people I am talking about.

They were Christian extremists who, in addition to mandating Bible readings in schools, preached hatred of immigrants and Catholics, subverted the justice system and advocated violence.

I agree with you (and have been saying) that not all Christians in the US are the same.

I am just pointing out that there is a history of conservative Christian groups in the US who have not only been hateful and extreme; but have used violence and subverted the political and justice system to gain power.
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 09:35 am
ebrown_p wrote:
Foofie, Of course I haven't forgotten about the Know-Nothings. They are a perfect example of the the people I am talking about.

They were Christian extremists who, in addition to mandating Bible readings in schools, preached hatred of immigrants and Catholics, subverted the justice system and advocated violence.



Hey, in public school in the 1950's we heard the 23rd Psalm over the loud speaker many days, and then in Assembly. I believe, it didn't have much meaning to many of the kids, most of whom were secular Jews. I believe many just thought of it as part of the shtick of becoming assimilated Americans. It made us no less Jewish. Many of the teachers were spinster WASP's or spinster Irish-Americans. I believe many were happy to have students that tended to feel positive about learning what they had to teach.

Now I am starting to miss the Ed Sullivan Show.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 09:41 am
What's your point Foofie, are you saying that maybe the Know-Nothings weren't so wrong after all?
0 Replies
 
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 09:58 am
ebrown_p wrote:
What's your point Foofie, are you saying that maybe the Know-Nothings weren't so wrong after all?


No. I am saying that bible teaching should not hurt non-Christians. The Christian (New Testament) bible psalms were not deleterious to Jewish secular students, in my opinion. And, if Jews are very religious, they would be sending their children to Yeshivah anyway. I would think that this can be extrapolated to other religions.
0 Replies
 
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 10:25 am
... and Quran teachings don't hurt non-Muslims.

What's the point?
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 12:13 pm
ebrown_p wrote:
... and Quran teachings don't hurt non-Muslims.

What's the point?


Depends on who you ask I guess.

Daniel Pearl would probably think it does.
0 Replies
 
 

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