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Issue: 04 July 2008
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Top judge backs
sharia law in UK
“The view of many of Sharia law is coloured by violent extremists who
invoke it, perversely, to justify terrorist atrocities such as suicide bombing,
which I understand to be in conflict with Islamic principles,” Lord Phillips
Leading Muslim jurists welcomed resolution of family disputes, forced without this being in conflict with the rights
comments by chief justice supporting a marriages, and disputes over debts, guaranteed by our law,” Phillips said.
role for Sharia law in resolving disputes. commercial matters and inheritance. He noted that it is already permissible in
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, said In his speech at the East London Muslim England for parties in a dispute to agree
in a speech that there was no question of Centre, Phillips said there is a widespread to resolve under rules other than English
Islamic law replacing English law. misunderstanding of Sharia law in Britain. law.
However, “there is no reason why Sharia “Part of the misconception about Sharia Mr. Muhammad Umar, Chairman of the
principles, or any other religious code, law is the belief that Sharia is only about Ramadhan Foundation a voice for young
should not be the basis for mediation mandating sanctions such as flogging, Muslims in the UK told Passion Islam, “I
or other forms of alternative dispute stoning, the cutting off of hands, or death am grateful that the Lord Chief Justice
resolution.” for those who fail to comply with the law,” has made this important intervention into
Shaykh Faiz Siddiqi, a barrister and Phillips said. tackling some of the misconceptions of
chairman of the governing council of the “The view of many of Sharia law is Sharia law. There is clearly an appetite
Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, said that coloured by violent extremists who in this country for some elements of
critics of any use of Islamic law failed to invoke it, perversely, to justify terrorist Sharia law to be implemented in relation
recognize that both parties had to agree to atrocities such as suicide bombing, which to finance, family matters.
any form of dispute resolution in Britain. I understand to be in conflict with Islamic When the Archbishop of Canterbury
Shamim Qureshi, the presiding judge of principles,” Phillips said. raised this issue there were fascist
the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, said the He said British media, in particular, had headlines in some newspapers and
application of Sharia law could be useful in misunderstood a speech in February unnecessary hatred directed towards
settling disputes about forced marriages, by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Muslims, we should debate these issues
according to a statement released by the Williams, who also supported a role for but they must be in a respectful manner
tribunal. Sharia law, specifically suggesting a role that is tolerant of other views.
Qureshi, a judge in Wolverhampton in resolving disputes. Lord Phillips shows the importance of
is one of the few Muslims to serve as a “A point that the archbishop was tackling ignorance on important issues,
judge in England. making was that it was possible for he stands taller today in the Muslim
The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, individuals voluntarily to conduct their community”
established last year, offers alternative lives in accordance with Sharia principles
‘Detention dangerous Local Muslim’s in Sunni and Shia
and disappointing ’ Queens honours united in prayers
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