07 February 2016

Why the Commons should support this Bill to liberate Muslim women

.... What does Baroness Cox’s bill seek to do, and what is the connection with Wilberforce? In essence, the bill seeks to end the slavery of thousands of women in Britain today.

As Baroness Cox said in the Lords last October, there are two interrelated issues to address: “the suffering of women oppressed by religiously sanctioned gender discrimination in this country; and a rapidly developing alternative quasi-legal system which undermines the fundamental principle of one law for all.”

The Arbitration Act 1996 permits a variety of ways of settling certain civil disputes, including arbitration according to sharia principles. The bill will not directly prevent this, but it will introduce better protections for women involved in such disputes, to tackle discrimination and intimidation by religious courts, as well as requiring public authorities to inform women of their legal rights and how to access them, and criminalising anyone attempting to establish a parallel legal system. [ConservativeHome] Read more