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28 April 2014, Symbolic Protest, Law Society, London


DATE: Monday 28 April 2014
TIME: 17:00-18:00 hours
PLACE: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL
Just show up. Also join the Facebook Page,

Speakers include:  Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson, One Law For All; Pragna Patel, Founder, Southall Black Sisters; Peter Tatchell, Founder, Peter Tatchell Foundation; Yasmin Rehman, Fellow of Muslim Institute and Centre for Secular Space; Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and activist; James Bloodworth, Editor, Left Foot Forward; Abhishek Phadnis, President, LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society; Diana Nammi, Executive Director, Iranian Kurdish Women’s Refugee Organisation and others.

The protest is organised by One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, Centre for Secular Space and LSE SUASH.

 Here’s an open letter signed by a number of well known personalities explaining why the guidance is discriminatory and must be withdrawn.

The Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales, has issued Sharia-related guidance on wills, succession and inheritance.

“Certain principles of Sharia are different to English succession laws. For example, it is not possible to inherit under Sharia rules via a deceased relative. No distinction is made between children of different marriages, but illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs.

“The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death”.

Whilst not binding, the guidance legitimises rules which are highly contested by many Muslims themselves and which discriminates against Muslim women, non-Muslims, and ‘illegitimate’ and adopted children. The guidance seriously undermines the Equality Act, citizenship rights and one law for all.

Since individuals are already free to dispense of their estate as they see fit (as long as they provide for their dependants) such guidance unwittingly aids and abets Islamist attempts at subverting democratic laws and principles with a de facto parallel legal system where minority women and children have increasingly fewer rights than other citizens.

This scandalous guidance is similar to that which Universities UK published endorsing gender segregation at universities in Britain. UUK was promptly forced to withdraw its guidance after widespread condemnation.

This protest will call for a withdrawal of the guidelines and make clear to the Law Society and the wider public that guidance that legitimises discrimination and bigotry is unacceptable.

You can find the list of signatories, including Maryam Namazie, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Gita Sahgal, Peter Tatchell, Pragna Patel, Kate Smurthwaite, Sue Cox, Taslima Nasrin, and Richard Dawkins, here.

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