28 February 2016

UK’s sharia courts ‘ignore marital rape’ - A new book on the clerics who decide disputes in Islamic communities finds some condone domestic abuse and child marriage

THE Islamic law propagated by some sharia courts in the UK is more antiquated and extreme than in parts of Pakistan, according to a new book that claims they are prepared to condone wife-beating, ignore marital rape and allow a father to annul his daughter’s marriage if he dislikes her choice of groom.

The book is the result of a four-year investigation into the network of about 80 Islamic “councils” that decide disputes within Muslim communities by Elham Manea, an expert in Islamic law and human rights who is herself a Muslim.

Manea, a political scientist and professor at Zurich University in Switzerland, visited sharia courts in London and the Midlands where she interviewed clerics who have passed judgment on thousands of British Muslims, as well as listening to online recordings of their speeches.

She discovered that a number of them believe girls as young as 12 can be married and agreed with the notion that some offenders should have their hands chopped off as “corporal punishment”. [The Sunday Times (£)] Read more