Successful debate on Sharia law in Britain at House of Commons

One Law for All and the National Secular Society held a successful debate on sharia law at the House of Commons on Tuesday 28 June 2011 chaired by Jim Fitzpatrick MP. One Law for All Spokesperson Maryam Namazie spoke against sharia law in Britain and called for an end to its practice under the Arbitration Act 1996. Speaking in favour of sharia law were Aina Khan, a Sharia lawyer, and Omer El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain. Keith Porteous-Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society made closing remarks.

The event was over-subscribed and the audience included members of both Houses of Parliament, journalists, and representatives of women’s rights and other groups. Prior to the debate, One Law for All wrote to every MP and Peer with a copy of One Law for All’s report entitled ‘Sharia Law in Britain; A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights.’

You can find audio links to the initial opening statements here (we were not given permission to film the event):

Aina Khan, Sharia lawyer

Omer El-Hamdoon, President of the Muslim Association of Britain

Maryam Namazie, One Law for All and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Spokesperson

Transcript of Maryam Namazie’s speech

Questions and Answers (Questions are not all audible but responses are.)

Keith Porteous Wood, National Secular Society Executive Director, Closing remarks

A follow up meeting will be arranged to accommodate greater audience numbers.

By | 2014-05-20T18:20:37+00:00 July 5th, 2011|Past Events, Press Releases, Video|16 Comments

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16 Comments

  1. Angela Harvey July 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Arbitration Act 1996

    There should be One Law For All – based on secular principles of equality.

    In a rational and civilised Country there should never be laws that are based on any religion. Sharia law or any other religious law in the UK should not be tolerated and we must rise up and challenge such laws, for they are not based on equality and true justice based on evidence. Sharia laws are based on inequality, the oppression of women and children in society. We need to challenge the hypocracy of religious laws for they are based on medieval superstition and practices.

    If we sit back in our armchairs doing nothing further religious laws will come in through the back door to further suppress the rights of all.

    Religion is based on an unquestioning adherence (mainly at the expense and suppression of women)- we must learn to look at the world through the rigours of logic, observation and evidence. We must introduce laws based on fairness, equality, based on reason and a respect for evidence to ensure justice and human progress

  2. Brian Harrison July 6, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    for centuries Britain was hag-ridden by powerful Christian religious interference in the law. After ridding the country of the ridiculousness of persecuting people for their non-conformist views on religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc, we are now faced again with the same challenge to rational thought, fairness and equality in the form of archaic, ignorant, imported and manifestly divisive religions, all of which claim religious precedence over other religions and secularism.
    Our ancestors fought for and developed a fair and secular society, free from the iniquities of past ignorances. We cannot let even one iota of this seep into just one corner of The UK. Anyone who thinks that they can set up parallel, alternative systems is , in effect, setting up an alternative state. This cannot be allowed. There is only one Law for one people and that is secular, as demanded by the vast majority.

    • ClaudeArmstrong July 7, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      Brian, please read the response I shared with Rafiq. There is religion, and then there is dis-informed anti-fact statements to attempt to discredit groups who the target audience knows nothing or at best very little about. A reality check would find that you are practicing personal, religion-based attacks on another religious entity. A biased mindset is always at odds with love and care for dignity of human life.

      In the end, this is what makes Sharia Law so reprehensible; it denies and destroys human love and dignity to the max.

    • i Hussain July 11, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      Brain you make perfect sense. The day you let there be division of law, that will be the day your country slides into anarchy

  3. Rafiq Mahmood July 7, 2011 at 2:59 am

    I must admit that I was a little sceptical when I saw the title, “Successful debate…” and thought to myself, “Oh come, Maryam, this sort of hype ill becomes you.”

    And then I listened to the debate. You blew them clear out of the water. Aina Khan and Omer el-Hamdoon had absolutely nothing to offer. They made themselves into straw people just waiting for the match. It wasn’t just successful, it was a full blown rout of stupidity and injustice. Of course we all wait for the real success when sharia is outlawed once and for all.

    I think there is another argument. As a British and European citizen I am rather proud of the centuries old evolution and secularisation of the law by a process of thought and discourse. My father fought against the dark shadow of discriminatory authoritarianism of fascism and nazism. He suffered greatly for his pains. I am deeply hurt and offended when someone has the temerity to say, “Your laws aren’t good enough for God. We need a bunch of men wearing hats and beards to decide things based on a tribal law fourteen centuries old.” To say that this offends me as a citizen is not a right wing or racist argument. We have anti-discrimination laws on our statute books. We have the Human Rights Act. We have abolished the former offence of blasphemy. The right object and would abolish every advance we have made.

    The just laws we have are not based on Judeo-Christian “values” – we have escaped from them, and, if anything, are a reaction against them. It is Muslims who are suffering because of Islamic laws just as Christians used to suffer from Ecclesiastical laws until a few hundred years ago. There has been a long and bitter struggle to win equality and freedom. Now, arrogating the name of God and minority rights, the Islamists are taking this away.

    We have the right to express the anger at the offence we feel and to fight against the incursion of sharia and other religious laws.

    • ClaudeArmstrong July 7, 2011 at 2:10 pm

      Rafiq Mahmood, and for all who dare stand for Justness, common law is, and always has been a thing of the conscience. In study and practice, you will discover that the “church” has distorted Hebrew Scripture common law, that reality law which established the “Golden Rule” as THE Rule between neighbors, and the specific religious observance laws and creed meant specifically, and uniquely for those who are free and freely-opting to observe those codes of life. Hebrew “religious” observances are 100% the opposite of Islam’s codes of religious order, in that Sharia Law is completely in the hands of the presiding individual, without regard to a common-consensus of a written code of relational behavior governance. Hebrew “religious” code is grounded in historic code, and allows for successful community opposition for, and control over a particular presiding court individual, as is any caring, life-respecting civilization.

      That quality, “Caring, Life-respecting Civilization” is a quality of human relationship respect never once ascribed to the barbaric concepts of rule by those who favor the Islamic religious disease. Please, when your mind rejects religious practices that include unjustness, separate those blanket resentments from the Hebrew Scriptural life-style. Thys simply do not, and never have applied to this venerable, ancient code of respect for human life and dignity.

      Thank you.

  4. rod July 7, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Other than Sharia, are there any other instances of immigrants asking/insisting that the legal system of their country of origin, be made available to them in their host country, and superseding the legal system into which they emigrated ? Off hand, I can’t think of any, other than the imperial period of several hundred years ago, and the comparison is not close.

    • ClaudeArmstrong July 7, 2011 at 2:31 pm

      [R]od, yes, there are such rules now being forced into every government on this planet. They are being jammed down the throats of each civilized nation by the “Bilderberg” bank cartel, via their stupid “Global Warming” initiative, in order to police you for your breathing air, eating and producing wastes, and for housing yourself in a shelter, that now, by their inhuman laws, they have given themselves the “right” to trespass against your person at will, without warrant, and with authority to kill any who dare oppose with impunity, and without governance of due process.

      This invasion makes Sharia Law look very much like what it is meant to be, a charade to detract people’s attention from this heartless incursion into our nations’ human law systems of just laws.

      Laugh as you may, but the bitter tears of ignorance will soon drown out all memories of our chance to stop these inhuman monsters today, merely by exposing them, and uncovering their ploys to have and practice mal-intention over every human on this planet. Ig norance is NOT an excuse.

  5. Neil July 8, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Not in civilised countries in any country!!
    religious law has no place in the legal system or society as a whole. It is a personal belief and should be kept personal. The laws of society must remain secular for us to excel and not exclude anyone. Hence one LAW for ALL.Those who dont agree find another planet with all due respect
    PEACE

  6. Rafiq Mahmood July 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Claude Armstrong, I am not really sure what you are saying. Have you actually read the Hebrew bible? How can you say that its “religious observances” are any better than secular evolved law? How can you say that, just because of its antiquity, it is any better than English or European law?

    Stoning was prescribed in Hebrew law for all sorts of spurious “offences”. Thank goodness that capital punishment of any sort is a thing of the past in modern humane and just states. It is futile to try to compare two obsolete and brutal systems based on superstition and mythology for a system based on rational discourse and the evolution of human thought.

  7. Dakoo July 20, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    You’re kidding right? We’re actually having debates on whether to enact laws which would result in the death of those who leave said religion, amongst various other nasties…

    We already have to deal with crackpot politicians who illegally invade countries without our support, which then in turn breeds more mobot (Islamic fundamentalists), who themselves want to take Europe back into the dark ages, and now, we have to deal with theocratic maniacs too?

    Remember, these are the kinds of people that will not only impose a theocracy, where those who’re born into a family of religion X but leave it are killed, but also in the science class teach creationism, etc. This isn’t just a battle on individual rights, but also science. Greeks had a great intellectual empire- it’s dead, the Arabs had an intellectual empire which they themselves helped destroyed (remember the mentality of creationism), and now we are at risk of slipping away if we’re not vigilant.

    My incoherent rambling is over 0_o
    And btw, Mariam you’re awesome 😉

  8. Patricia Kayden September 24, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Wish I could watch the debate but for some reason it’s not working. Anyways, good for Maryam for holding her own during the debate (as others are saying she did). Keep fighting for what is right.

    I cannot believe that the UK is seriously considering allowing religious laws to play a prominent role in the lives of so many of its citizenry!! Just amazing and scary.

    To be honest, in Brooklyn Orthodox Jews have the same set up.

  9. Patricia Kayden September 24, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    My bad — just realized that only audio is available. Great speech by Maryam.

  10. john c February 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    The practice of sharia under the legal definition of an arbitration service is a disgrace. Arbitration services should be regulated,to ensure they are fair under british law,and respect equality law.The easiest way of prreventing sharia courts opperating under this loophole would be a fasttracked bill requiring such regulation.As such,it would also be outside the scope of objectionon religious grounds.Sharia injustice should be stopped imediately.

  11. Carolyn G. April 14, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    I live in the US where some states are enacting laws which will forbid Sharia Law from being implemented in said states. However, our Federal Government has taken from us many previously held state’s rights and it will not surprise me should Sharia Law be implemented nationwide from Washington since there are many persons in high government positions who are either members of or sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. Our country made it possible during the “Arab Spring” for the Muslim Brotherhood to take over whole countries, i.e. Egypt and Libya. Now it is Syria which will soon be overrun with barbarians and where Sharia Law will be the law of the land.

    Great Britain has a long and honorable history. Please do not allow these idiots to take over your country. The last time I was there there were women openly running around in their shrouds and, as I understand current British law, one is forbidden to even mention it or their backward, inhumane “Religion.”

    • MaryamNamazie April 23, 2013 at 8:37 am

      Islam is a religion just like Christianity or any other. Not sure why you have put it in quotes. And like any religion, when it has access to the law and state, it is inhuman and brutal. Religion as a private belief is no one’s business. Our issue is with religion in the judicial system – whether sharia, Beth Din or Ecclesiastic courts.

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