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Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights

Sharia Law in Britain – A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights

17 June 2010

New Report by One Law for All

“Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights”

A report by One Law for All has found Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals to be in violation of UK law, public policy and human rights (see report here).

The report is being launched to coincide with a 20 June 2010 rally on the issue of Sharia law.

Based on an 8 March 2010 Seminar on Sharia Law, research, interviews, and One Law for All case files, the report has identified a number of problem areas:

– Sharia law’s civil code is arbitrary and discriminatory against women and children in particular. With the rise in the acceptance of Sharia courts, discrimination is being further institutionalised with some UK law firms additionally offering clients advice on Sharia law and the use of collaborative law.

– Sharia law is practiced in Britain primarily by Sharia Councils and Muslims Arbitration Tribunals. Both operate on religious principles and are harmful to women although Muslim Arbitration Tribunals are wrongly regarded as being of more concern because they operate as tribunals under the Arbitration Act 1996, making their rulings binding in law.

– Sharia Councils, on the other hand, claim to mediate on family issues but in practice often this differs little from arbitration: they frequently ask those appearing before them to sign an agreement to abide by their decisions; they call themselves courts, and the presiding imams, judges. Their decisions are then imposed and regarded as having the weight of legal judgements.

– There is neither control over the appointment of “judges” in Sharia Councils or Tribunals nor an independent mechanism for monitoring them. Clients often do not have access to legal advice and representation. The proceedings are not recorded, nor are there any searchable legal judgements, nor any real right of appeal.

– Sharia law cannot be compared to secular legal systems because it is considered sacred law that cannot be challenged. There is no scope to look at the interests of the individuals involved, as required by UK family law.

– These legal processes ignore both common law and due process, far less Human Rights, and provide little protection and safety for women in violent situations.

– There is a general assumption that those who attend Sharia courts do so voluntarily and that unfair decisions can be challenged in a British court. Many of the principles of Sharia law are contrary to British law and public policy, and would in theory therefore be unlikely to be upheld in a British court. In reality, however, women are often pressured by their families into going to these courts and adhering to unfair decisions, and may lack knowledge of English and their rights under British law. Moreover, refusal to settle a dispute in a Sharia court can give rise to threats and intimidation, or at best being ostracised.

According to Maryam Namazie, spokesperson of the One Law for All Campaign and an author of the report, “The existence of a parallel legal system that is denying a large section of the British population their fundamental human rights is scandalous. Our findings show that it is essential to abolish all religious courts in the UK. Their very existence and legitimisation puts pressure on vulnerable women not to assert their civil rights in a British court. As long as Sharia Councils and Tribunals are allowed to continue to make rulings on issues of family law, women will be pressured into accepting decisions which are prejudicial to them and their children.”

The report recommends that Sharia courts be closed on the grounds that they work against rather than for equality, and are incompatible with human rights. Recommendations include:

  1. initiating a Human Rights challenge to Muslim Arbitration Tribunals and/or Sharia Councils
  2. amending the Arbitration Act under which the Muslim Arbitration Tribunals operate in a similar way to which the Canadian equivalent of the Arbitration Act was amended in 2005 to exclude religious arbitration
  3. launching a major and nationwide helpline and information campaign to inform people of their rights under British law
  4. proposing legislation under the EU Citizens Rights Initiative to address the issue EU-wide, and
  5. strengthening secularism and the separation of religion from the state, the judicial system and education, in order to more fully protect citizenship rights.

The full report can be downloaded here.


1. The report can be downloaded free of charge or a paperback copy purchased from One Law for All for £5.00 plus £2.00 Shipping and Handling. To purchase the book or donate to the work of One Law for All, please either send a cheque to our address below or pay via Paypal by visiting: Donate Page.

2. The One Law for All Campaign was launched on 10 December 2008, International Human Rights Day, to call on the UK Government to recognise that Sharia and religious courts are arbitrary and discriminatory against women and children in particular and that citizenship and human rights are non-negotiable.

3. For further information contact:

Maryam Namazie
One Law for All
BM Box 2387
London WC1N 3XX, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 7719166731

Download report here

new report sharia law


  • Civilus Defendus
    Posted 18th June 2010 1:47 am 0Likes

    Excellent. Send this to every elected representative and candidate for office. Discuss with law enforcement, local government and all national representatives. We can no longer tolerate islamic sharia law. Sharia condemns liberty, forbids equality and rejects national sovereignty.

  • robin
    Posted 18th June 2010 9:35 am 0Likes

    I commend this report and associated campaign. I’d just say that I think this supposed religion of peace should be challenged in its entirety. You only have to question –well, try to question!– a few “expert” Muslims to see how outstandingly intellectually shallow this ideology is. They are bursting with enthusiasm to tell you all about it as long as you are “willing to learn”, i.e. willing not to exercise any critical faculties in the process. If on the other hand you indicate any scepticism or ask any of the wrong questions, well, then they are suddenly far, far too busy to discuss this so, so, pre-eminent thing in their lives!

    • MaryamNamazie
      Posted 18th June 2010 11:44 am 0Likes

      Islam is the banner of Islamism so it is obviously open for criticism but it is a mistake to think this is an ideological battle – it is first and foremost a political one. Read more about this here: The Bible wasn’t banned in order to get rid of the Christian inquisition. People have a right to religion or belief whether you like it or not. If one is able to push back political Islam as was done by the Enlightenment with Christianity – people can then begin to go back to belief as a private matter.

      • Denis MacEoin
        Posted 19th June 2010 11:36 am 0Likes

        Maryam, surely the problem is that Islam has never been a mainly private affair. It differs from all others in this respect. Removing political Islam from the scene won’t change the structure of a shari’a-based system. Islamism isn’t a distortion of Islam, it’s an authentic expression of how things were at the time of Muhammad and after, and a rejection of Western-inspired attempts to secularize the Muslim state. Ataturk and Reza Shah took this a long way, but the pendulum has swung the other way with a vengeance. Jews who observe halakha generally make that a private matter, but the body of hadith and the later rulings of jurists cover a much broader range of topics. I think there is room for Islam to be criticized like any other ideology, but at the moment Western states have given in to cries of ‘offence’ and have made Islam an exception to all the rules. Here again, Muslim have to be subject to the same rules as the rest of us, and be open to criticism of all kinds. That will surely make your task easier. I look forward to reading your report.

      • Capt'n John
        Posted 22nd June 2010 8:31 pm 0Likes

        People may have the right to whatever religious belief that they like, but they do not have the right be tried by a religious court. They do have the right to be judged under a secular court made of their peers, not necessarily those of the same religious beliefs as either the complainant or the defender. The laws of a country are made, with the permission of the people governed, by the elected representatives of the people of that country. There is no direction from any religious authority that has any secular value.

  • Stuart
    Posted 18th June 2010 9:44 am 0Likes

    I hope this report gets tons of coverage.

  • Diana
    Posted 18th June 2010 9:45 pm 0Likes

    It would be an excellent beginning for the new government to abolish sharia unconditionally. Here are only some of the reasons.

    1. There should only ever be one law for one people. Anything else militates against social cohesion and causes confusion.

    2. Sharia is intrinsically unjust. A system where one man equals two women and one Muslim equals fifteen Hindus is completely unacceptable in Britain. The sharia punishments of death, mutilation and flogging violate human rights. The acceptance of slavery and polygamy and the punishment of apostasy and homosexuality are un-British.

    3. Sharia courts were permitted on the condition that they would try only civil cases, but they have already tried recognisably criminal offences such as knife crime. They have therefore outlawed themselves on the grounds that they have broken the original condition for their establishment.

    4. There is no evidence that attendance at sharia courts is voluntary. Women are usually forced into them. Children cannot be represented at all.

    There are other reasons to abolish sharia courts, but are not the above sufficient in themselves?

    BTW, I advertised One Law For All from my Facebook page. The first person who accepted my challenge to sign the anti-sharia petition was a male Muslim. It is worth asking: how many British Muslims REALLY want sharia?

  • Stuart Parsons
    Posted 18th June 2010 9:58 pm 0Likes

    No woman will receive justice under Shari’ah Law in spite of the latest taqiyya and kitman campaign ‘Inspired by Muhammad.’ Just imagine it, if a woman was raped and she was able to provide three witnesses who actually saw the rape take place…… she would still be stoned to death….. because she is unable to provide sufficient witnesses. And presumably this would apply even if there was DNA evidence…… or have I missed something and by one of the so-called miracles of the Qur’an it has been revealed that Muhammad knew all about DNA.

    • Irfan
      Posted 20th June 2010 4:23 am 0Likes

      The system commonly understood to be the authentic system of governance under Islam is a HUGE misunderstanding by both Muslims and non-Muslims. There is no such word as “Shari’ah” in the Qur’an except in a sense that is totally unrelated to what we are told about this word (). Same is the case with the Hadith which is totally unQur’anic. The Qur’anic word closest to the word “Shari’ah” is “Shari’ah” (5:48) but then that—and many people would find it strange here—relates to “everyone’s ways of devotion” are actually “ordained” by God. This is just a tip of the iceberg in a whole ocean of misunderstood concepts of the authentic “God’s system of governing and human conduct” as perfectly preserved in the Holy Book for mankind, the Glorious Qur’an. Muslims don’t read it—they only RECITE it in Arabic to earn some presumed “heavenly rewards”.
      So, in sum, yes, the Shari’ah as touted day in and day out in the word MUST be condemned unquestionably, but to say that the Islam is evil and unjust to women or children or anyone else is indicative of the same ignorance and bigotry that most of the people of the world are in today—including the so-called “Muslims”.
      Show me ONE instance of injustice to any human—to women or children or ANYONE—in the Qur’an. Show me the punishment by death to stoning in the Qur’an; show me the death punishment for apostasy in the Qur’an; show me “one man equal to two women”, or “One Muslim equal to 15 Hindus” in the Qur’an —yes I am asking you to show me all that in the God-authored QUR’AN—not in some man-made “Shari’ah” and I will get back to you with the response!!!
      The Qur’an is YET to be discovered, folks. This is a book of Light and Guidance. The so-called “Muslims” don’t understand it, how can others?

      • Bo Diddley
        Posted 22nd June 2010 1:42 pm 0Likes

        The Qur’an was man-made.

      • Diana
        Posted 22nd June 2010 11:32 pm 0Likes

        Irfan, we are not compaigning here for the banning of the Qur’an. I have read it, and I didn’t like it, but I don’t believe it should be banned. On the contrary, I believe EVERYONE should read it, so that everyone knows what Islam is about.

        Your personal belief that Shariah courts are not “real” Islam reflects well on you, and you are welcome to be a “Muslim without Shariah” in modern Britain. However, this is irrelevant to the problem with which we are dealing here. The reality of Britain today is that Shariah courts exist. The purpose of this campaign is to stop them.

        In practical terms, 90% of the British Shariah dealings concern women who are seeking a divorce. Therefore it is worth noting that Qur’an 4:34 advises beating a disobedient wife. In Britain we do not recognise that a wife has a duty of obedience to her husband and we do not accept the beating of any household member. Qur’an 2:226ff gives extensive instructions for how a man is to divorce his wife, but nothing for how a woman may divorce her husband. Did I miss something? Or is the Shariah ruling that makes divorce easy for a man and difficult for a woman rooted right there in the Qur’an? Qur’an 60:10 indicates that a Muslima is automatically considered divorced from a non-Muslim husband, even if she doesn’t want to be. That sounds unjust to BOTH spouses. British law gives equal status to all religions, and if a couple wishes to continue with a mixed-faith marriage, that is a private matter with which British law does not interfere. The fourth sura specifically permits polygyny but not polyandry, which is definitely unequal.

        I believe that Shariah injustice is inspired by injustice in the Qur’an itself. But, of course, the Shariah is far worse than the Qur’an alone, and the Shariah, not the Qur’an, is the target of this campaign.

  • jimbo1lee
    Posted 19th June 2010 8:40 pm 0Likes

    THIS COUNTRY IS ENGLANDwhen you come to MY country leave your rules & laws at home, as I have to do when I go to ANY other country in the world.—ie, WTF did Emily pankhurst campaign for?. NO WAY should we allow sharia, law,– IT IS TOTALLY BARBARIC.

  • Randy Barish
    Posted 19th June 2010 9:45 pm 0Likes

    Down with Sharia Law! It’s an unfair, cruel system created to oppress and control people. Thus, it has no place in any modern democratic society. I pray it will banned in England as soon as possible and let those deranged fanatics who believe there is a need for this, leave the country if they don’t like it. Goodbye, Sharia Law!!!!!

    • MaryamNamazie
      Posted 23rd June 2010 3:45 pm 0Likes

      Many of the Islamists are British born – and the British government has had a hand in imposing Sharia law. recently a Kenyan court banned Sharia courts there and said it was a remnant from colonial days when Britain established different courts for different people – the old concept of divide and rule. Right now the British army is helping to set up informal Sharia courts in Afghanistan and Iraq is more Islamic after the US led militarism. Islamism is a global phenomenon. Plus there is a racism behind the idea that that which is ‘foreign’ can be deported even if most of the Islamists are British born thanks to multiculturalism and the appeasment of Islamism. How come there is never a call to deport Dr Shipman for murdering his patients or for Stephen Griffiths who recently murdered three women to be sent off somewhere?

  • Peter Forsythe
    Posted 20th June 2010 4:02 am 0Likes

    The video “Divorce Iranian style” referred to in the Report at footnote 37 no longer works. This seems to be a growing pattern: videos critical of Islam suddenly disappear. Note the disappearance of “They Con us All” video…
    Should we not make sure they are kept by downloading them, eg OneLawforAll download that video to its site?
    The video is supposed to be here; it’s blank on my computer:

  • Russ Walsh
    Posted 20th June 2010 4:28 am 0Likes

    No country can operate on the basis of two radically different legal systems. To think it can is madness. To insitute two separate legal systems in England was madness. For the voters of England to elect a government that would insitute impose two separate legal systems was madness. I left England decades ago and it seems the place has gone to the dogs since my departure. Were I still there I would: 1) Deterine which political party or parties sold the notion of Sharia law. 2) Identify and name the leaders of those parties, together with their members. 3) Insitute legal proceedings against them for having acted in a manner destructive to the public good. 4) Demand a national referendum entitled One Country One Legal System. 5) If the government of the day refused to hold a national referendum, a) hold one anyway, run by the public b) demand the implementation of the Initiative, Referenda, and Recall System, making as much fuss as would be required to get British politicians to understand the simple concept that Britain belongs to the British, and NOT to its politicians! To cut to the heart of the matter, though, MP Enoch Powell was villified for warning England about the perils of allowing in immigrants with radically different belief systems. He was vilified for his efforts, of course, but as with all things, the truth eventually comes out. So here we are, decades later. England has two legal systems, one of which, Sharia, contradicts everything embedded in English Common Law over the past thousand years. Serious civil strife, and worse, are caused by this sort of nonsense by out of control governments.

    • MaryamNamazie
      Posted 23rd June 2010 3:40 pm 0Likes

      Again someone who blames immigrants – I am an immigrant – not sure what you would do against Sharia without me and the many who are at the forefront of the struggle against Islamism and Sharia law, for women’s rights, against honour killings and in defence of secularism. Stop blaming immigrants – stop scapegoating immigrants – and focus on Islamism. our campaign is for those who want to oppose sharia law from a human rights perspective.

  • Art4artsache
    Posted 20th June 2010 7:55 pm 0Likes

    It is obvious; the expansion of Islamic conformity is part of a global irrationalality: Human Rights are denied from Beijing to Guantanamo, from Chechnia to East Timor & all points between. Was there not once, after 1945, a world-wide aspiration toward a higher state of social convention? The UN, UNESCO, UNICEF & the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this last, now quibbled over, even by our democratic, British government. After WWII we hoped for Justice to replace the atrocities of Nazi & Soviet oppression? Humane dealing, even with enemies, to wipe away Japanese cruelties? Democracy with Decency to oust the corrupt practices of many regimes? Increasing Economic interdependence with cooperation to modernise ancient inefficiencies?
    Globally, ‘Progress’ has turned back from gradual integration of nations (at political & economic levels)& from mutual appreciation of cultural enrichment, back into self-centred nationalism and wide-spread appeasement toward aggressive bully-boys’ promoting their intolerant, narrow agendas via every aspect of exclusivity. “Let us establish in this land … Sharia Law or White Supremacy or Exploitative Trading Practices” etc. The Powerful consolidate their self-interest, casting aside principles that are recognisably more civilised, in favour of coercing or bribing people into fearful or apathetic surrender of their rightful expectation for a sustainable, healthy, happier lifestyle.
    It is not in the nature of most human beings to confront these subtle attackers, yet it is in the nature of the few, ambitious for influence, to manipulate the psyche of the masses & that is happening all the time. A comparatively benign level of this practice is Advertising. Not acceptable is this messing with Humanity’s trek towards the ultimate goal of ‘Maximum Possible Freedom, albeit with Responsibility’ & the elimination (as far as possible) of unfair imposition by any upon others. “2 Steps Forward: 1 Step back” is a process that Human Nature seems to prefer. Unfortunately, it is sometimes 1 forward & 2 back & Sharia Law appears to be an instance of this unwanted reversal. Will the British Government throw off the chains of financial subservience to these usurpers & reassert the fairer and protective nationhood that first attracted other nationals to our country & by so doing, rebuff the ambitious opportunists seeking social and/or political domination.

  • An Dean
    Posted 22nd June 2010 8:24 am 0Likes

    NO SHARIA LAW!!! Understand Islam and Sharia Law, Islam is a fascist ideology, that wants to have world domination and control every facet of your life. Islam does not get on with no other religion and does not recognize any other law, but Shaira. Well stay in your country then!!! Fit in or ship out! Only solution~
    What the West needs to know:

    • MaryamNamazie
      Posted 23rd June 2010 3:36 pm 0Likes

      Not even five minutes before I have to repeat myself – anyway let’s start again. Islam is a religion – much like many other religions. Its adverse effects are more widely felt because of Islamism. It is the difference between living in Britain today and during the inquisition and crusades. Finally many of the Islamists are British born – deal with them – stop shipping them out to some other country which has its own Islamists to deal with. Also shipping people out is not a solution – do you ship out your serial killers and far Righters?

  • Keith Hampson
    Posted 22nd June 2010 11:01 am 0Likes

    Excellent news and reports and not before time. Who on earth do these Muslims really think they are, attempting to enforce Sharia Law in a Christian country ! We all know that this law is for the extremists within this grotesque, every swarming group, which is against their own children and woman !! They are just filth, pure and simple, who under no circumstance should be allowed to reside in the UK.
    Don’t call me racist, just Black British, and proud of it…..even though we have a crap football team.

    • MaryamNamazie
      Posted 23rd June 2010 3:33 pm 0Likes

      Let me repeat for the umpteenth time – Sharia law is the demand of Islamists not Muslims. Muslims or those who are labelled as such are the first victims of Islamism and Sharia law. Also this is not a Christian country – if it was we would be still be living under the inquisition. The fact that religion is a somewhat – though not wholly – private matter is thanks to the Enlightenment. Finally if something is wrong it should be wrong anywhere – which is why our campaign links the issue of Sharia law here in Britain with it in other countries. Now let me do something for five minutes before I have to repeat this again. And I will – until people begin to understand who the real enemy is – Islamism – not Muslims. Get it?

      • Ruth Orpen
        Posted 23rd June 2010 7:14 pm 0Likes

        No you get one thing an aethiest there are no gods, no Islamic rules, Moslem rules but just common sense. Where in all your rights and justices are the rights of the barbarically, mutilated Moslems who just because they are born female have to go through and endure for the rest of their lives female circumcistion

  • Jean Clark
    Posted 24th June 2010 7:57 am 0Likes


    Sharia is Islamic law based on the Qu’ran and Sunna. It is applicable to all Muslims, not just “Islamists”.

    Islam is not just a religion, it is a political ideology, which is encompassed by and directed by Sharia law. Just like you can not disentangle english common law from Judeo-christian principles, you can’t erase sharia law without forcing muslims to abandon much of their religion.

    This is an ideological problem you face – how is it possible to prevent Sharia law without implicitly debasing the religion?

    I note you are prominent in the Council of Ex-Muslims in Britain. It appears you are coming from this from your personal angle without necessarily noticing the implications of what you are trying to do

  • Arthur
    Posted 24th June 2010 8:58 pm 0Likes

    Maryam, The culture of this country is based on 2000 years of Christianity and the church is connected to the state via the Queen and some Bishops in the House of Lords and I think you will find that the majority of people in the country are content with this and so am I, altho I’m an atheist I see the church of England as benign and certainly no threat to anyone.

  • Rafiq Mahmood
    Posted 25th June 2010 5:02 am 0Likes

    Jean Clark, first I think you are wrong to say you cannot disentangle English common law from Judeo-Christian principles, whatever they might be. The past three hundred years at least has seen an incredible disentangling of the most barbarous laws based on Trinitarian Christian principles. We have stopped burning people at the stake for heresy and hanging them for blasphemy. The United States’ system is based on the same English common law but they have managed to separate church and state constitutionally – although since the McCarthy era it has admittedly been creeping back.

    We are people. People do not work within strict rules. As long as no one is preventing Muslims from saying their prayers and fulfilling their other main religious obligations most people will be happy. We fudge. We get along. We perform mental gymnastics where we have to. And Muslims can get along without the sharia quasi courts and having to put up with only one judicial system.

    I do agree with Maryam. It is the Islamists who want to exploit people’s religious sentiments for political power who are the real and immediate danger together with the actual practical implementation of these tribunals which is unjust and creates second-class citizens.

    There are issues about the influence of religion, and Islam in particular, on people’s minds, on education and freedom in the arts. There is another battle going on for a global enlightenment: but the battle against sharia implementation in the UK is not predicated on winning that longer term battle.

    Sahria is a danger primarily for Muslims: those who are under family, religious and social pressure to conform to their unjust deliberations and decisions. Muslims are part of our society. It is arrogant and unjust for us to expect them to give up all they still hold dear and alienate themselves from their families just because, rightly or wrongly, we maintain that Islam and sharia are inextricably intertwined.

  • Jonn Mero
    Posted 26th June 2010 5:57 pm 0Likes

    The sad part about this is that no lawmaker has the guts to suggest practising sharia law as UNLAWFUL, with hefty penalties for these self-appointed judges.
    That sharia law is cruel, unjust, and medieval should also qualify it to be banned totally. Tell those who want to practise sharia that their citizenship will be terminated with immediate effect, and they will be deported to a country where there is sharia law.
    That might stop many of the troglodytes in their tracks!

  • Charles USA
    Posted 26th June 2010 11:07 pm 0Likes

    The document “Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights” is not able to be accessed, currently, from the website Does anyone know where else it might be found so I can download to print? Thanks.

  • busy do Niemiec
    Posted 29th June 2010 10:01 am 0Likes

    I stumbled across your site and think it’s fantastic, keep us posting

  • Kim Patel
    Posted 3rd July 2010 7:35 pm 0Likes

    The law of this country is currently not being upheld. We don’t need a different law, we just need the judges to actually rule by the law instead of ignoring it.

    Please support this very important petition.

    Judges are making too many wrong decisions which are seriously affecting innocent people. They are ignoring the law and not basing their decisions on point of law, often preferring to base their decisions on race, colour or bias, or simply because they are corrupt. Judges should be forced to make their decisions on point of law.

    Please join the petition at:

    This is a very important petition to bring back everyones rights to justice in court, please therefore sign it as soon as you can and ask as many of your friends, family, associates and members as you can to sign this.

    We are aiming to get as many signatures as possible as quickly as possible to force the government into urgent action because the state of our judicial system is a disgrace, too many innocent people are suffering and will continue to suffer until we can force the government to sit up and take notice.

  • Jean Clark
    Posted 9th July 2010 4:40 pm 0Likes


    You have jumped on one statement and made strange judgments but omitted to address the actual problem of how to extricate Islam (the “peaceful”
    religion element) and Sharia (the political and legal ideology that forces the religion to be unpeaceful). These are the complexities of Islam versus Islamism, but I am still confused as to how they can be separated.

    On your initial statement about Judeo-Christian principles and UK common law, we have undergone an “enlightenment” and removed many excesses of religious law, which were generated by humans as a form of power, rather than based on the biblical texts. Most of our common law and values have a basis in religious morals (marriage, monogamy, human rights, peace not war, family values, stealing, burglary, love thine enemy etc) and they have been amended and changed to more peaceful and acceptance values for the diversity of the population when seen that they are working against a particular group. But they are still based on those original Judeo-Christian principles. By the way, I am non-religious and secular, but I open my eyes to the reality of my country’s history and where it has come from. This is no diferent to the US Constitution and law – it again is based on those same principles, albeit stating that there is no State religion.

    On the real question of Islam and Sharia. The Qur’an, seen by Muslims as the book of Allah/God, written by him directly and thus cannot be improved or changed one iota, contains much of the “law” that is Sharia. Such as women having to have 4 witnesses to a rape (was Allah unaware of DNA in the 7th Century?), such as women only having the right to one half of divorce payments, such as women being unable to ask for divorce except under specific conditions while men can just divorce willy-nilly, such as the taking and rape of women slaves after you have killed their men in battle, such as killing Jews and infidels wherever ye may find them?

    These things are in the Qur’an, and are part and parcel of the religion.
    If you cannot change one letter or grammatical point in the Qur’an, how can you define that certain elements of it are Ismalist while other elements are peaceful Islam? They are all part of the one same as far as I can tell.

    Removing those elements, thus eliminating Sharia, means that Muslims are no longer Muslims.

    I am not trying to have an argument, I am trying to understand how one side of that argument can be defended and the other attacked without causing great harm to the general population of Muslims, who see it as a right-wing extremist attack against their religion whichever way you try to paint it.

    My view is that One Law for All is asking for an Enlightenment of Islam, a rewriting of the Qur’an, effectively stating that it must have been written by humans and can therefore be changed to fit in with our times and our man-made laws, and our sensibilities. I don’t believe that is possible from the outset.

    As such, I actually can see no difference between One Law for All, the SIOE or SIOA or the EDL in their ideological leanings. Each want to stop the Islamization of their countries and Sharia Law. The sole difference is that the other organisations have clearly been infiltrated by some extreme right wing hotheads, fanatics and racists, (amongst a much wider cross-section of society and beliefs) while extreme left-wing hotheads, fanatics and racists occupy One Law for All (and the right-wing side just keep their mouths shut and hide among them).

  • Cat
    Posted 15th July 2010 12:13 pm 0Likes

    Hi Jean

    I agree that, in its present form, Islam the private religion cannot be extricated from Sharia ideology because anything but a literalist reading of the Quran is seen as apostasy. In the days when Christendom took a literalist reading of the Bible, it was the same in the West. Once upon a time Christianity also was not just a private religion but was enforced by law, and anyone who questioned it was also labelled apostate, and was oppressed, shunned, imprisoned, tortured and/or executed. Christianity also was once a religion of conquest and imperialism, seeking either the conversion or subjugation of other cultures, as Islam is now. The arguments justifying religious conquest also show similarity, i.e. saving the infidel from his unbelief, and converting the planet for the glory of god because our holy book tells us it is our Christian/Muslim obligation to do so. In its original form, Christianity the private religion was inextricably entwined with a ubiquitous Christian culture and system of justice. But it isn’t now.

    I am perplexed by your assertion that the Christian “excesses of religious law . . . were generated by humans . . . rather than based on the biblical texts”. This is demonstrably untrue. The demonization of homosexuals (Lev 18:22), the keeping of slaves (Gen 9:25; Lev 25:44), the justification for the Inquisition (Deut 13:12-16), the oppression of women (1Cor 14:34-35) and Jews (Matt 27:26), they are all there in the “good” book. And anyone wanting to argue that most of the barbarous ideas posited in the Old Testament have since been superseded in the New, should go away and read Matthew 5:18 and John 15:6 before they try it. Of course, there are also very laudable ideals to be found in both holy books, but that’s the “wonderful” thing about scripture isn’t it; you can cherry-pick it to spout “peace and love” or “kill the infidel”, depending on your mood and/or political aspirations. The Bible is no different from the Quran in this respect. If your argument is that Islam will not be able to modernise because ideas that violate human rights and freedoms are codified in the Quran, then the West should not have been able to modernise either.

    You are correct to say that the Quran “is seen by Muslims as . . . . written by [Allah] directly and thus cannot be improved or changed one iota”. But I must point out that historically the same is true of Christians’ view of the Bible. (Indeed, Christians who take a literalist reading of the Bible are still around. That is why there is an issue regarding keeping “intelligent design” out of science classrooms, and why we need to worry about the increasing religiosity in the political system of the most powerful country on earth, an ongoing development that scares me far more than any jidahist movement.) If all the above examples are “part and parcel” of the Christian religion, how is it then that we no longer think it is okay to stone adulterers, burn old women at the stake, and keep slaves? I think that most modern Christians would take exception to your inference that because they have rejected such barbarisms they can no longer be considered Christian. And again, if Christianity is able to so radically sanitise itself (albeit slowly) in order to remain relevant in a modern secular culture, then why is it a forgone conclusion that Islam cannot?

    Regardless of your statement that you are non-religious and secular, you seem to have been bamboozled by the “moral source” argument, just as I was for many years. You assert that Western secular laws are based on Judeo-Christian principles, but if you are a secular person, you must believe that these principles were not handed down by god, but selected and codified by people. There are some fascinating studies being done on the origin of human ethics, and they seem to be showing that principles of right and wrong are universal (i.e. do not redound on any race, culture or creed), are an effect of natural selection and innate to all humans, except perhaps where their effects have been sabotaged by religious indoctrination (for example, so-called “honour killings”.). (Have a look at M Hauser and P Singer’s “Morality without Religion” in Free Inquiry.) Is it not more logical to think that these innate ethical principles were merely hijacked and seeded amongst now outdated cultural rules and superstitions to create the holy books, then backed up with stories of hellfire and damnation to ensure compliance? This would explain why religion is so seductive, but also how, by extending the life of Bronze Age (and earlier) cultural beliefs way past their time, it is responsible for so much human misery. In order to create a secularist culture that values individual rights and freedoms, the West needed to embrace the principles which aimed for the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people (family values, charity, thou shalt not kill etc) and reject the superstitious voodoo. In my view, (and surely anyone would want and expect this to be true) we have made ethical and cultural progress since 27CE. And if the West can move on, why not the Middle East?

    Jean, believe me, I understand your incredulity. I don’t think anyone would claim that extricating Islam, the private religion, from Islamism, the political ideology, was ever going to be simple or easy. But if we value our freedom and the freedom of others we need to come up with some strategies. When it comes to Islam-dominated countries I don’t have any answers, but I strongly believe that we can and should offer alternatives and choices to Muslims in the West. In my view, all religions are based on group rights (that is, are inimical to individual rights), and are thus coercive and oppressive, and I have recently come to see that many Muslim’s understand this.

    In the West, we need to insist on individual rights for all as far as we can, not to victimise or stigmatise the Muslim community, but to clearly say “We in this country will not tolerate abuse or oppression or physical mutilation or honour killings. And as a citizen you will be legally required to respect the culture of your new homeland.” When someone violates the human rights of another in the name of religion, and the West excuses the person’s actions because of “multiculturalism”, we are validating that person’s actions. We are also abandoning those Muslims who would value being given the opportunity to take advantage of all the modern ideas and freedoms that we take for granted, but who currently do not have sufficient legal protection (because of Western ideas regarding multiculturalism and cultural relativism) to do so. I think it is our duty to make sure that all citizens in the West have access to the same opportunities. And if we can bring this about, I think the world will be surprised at how many Muslims would be overjoyed to take advantage of them. And none of this would infringe upon a Muslim’s right to practice Islam as a private religion.

    We cannot coerce change, but we can be willing to criticise Islam even though we will be called racist/Islamophobe. We can be willing to champion the human rights of Muslim women who have never been free to choose, even though we will be seen to have committed a crime against cultural relativism (although upholding human rights). We can make legislative changes to ensure that Muslim girls are allowed to grow to adulthood with their genitals intact, and that ensure they are given access to an adequate education, and that identify and prosecute honour killings for what they are. And we can absolutely insisting in keeping religion out of the science class and out of our legal system.

  • Jean Clark
    Posted 16th July 2010 11:36 pm 0Likes

    Cat – you are the first person I have met (sic!) who has been able to put the arguments so eloquently and without malice to someone so confused as I. Thank you.

    There are a few elements of your argument that I disagree with – the New Testament, a beautiful work of fiction in my view, has only ever been seen as the direct word of humans about the supposed Son of God, but it took us hundreds of years to overcome the oppression by people who loved power more than they loved peace and the virtues in it. The Old Testament is something I am not familiar with. But I hold no banner for any religion, solely our values and ethics and morals (some of which I still maintain are based on Judeo-Christian principles, however misinformed I may be).

    But I am (pitifully and only slightly) familiar with our history that shows that, because of religions, millions of people have been killed for little reason. And millions more will be, because of the rise of Islamism, pushed by the never-ending oil money from Saudi Arabia and their expansion of Wahhabi mosques that preach hate from the Qur’an and brainwash people to hate rather than to love.

    I do believe that Western society, post enlightenment (whatever that means), is able to hold its values aloft as virtues. I worry where those values will go in the future though.

    It is not a foregone conclusion that Islam can do the same, and the hundreds of years it took Christianity to get its head out of its….pits, may seem like a blink of an eye in the history books in a thousand years unless somebody does something about it soon. The Sufi sect is a beautiful example, but even their children are being infiltrated by Taliban and extremism. I worry for my children and grandchildren’s future.

    On the issue of honour killings, I compare it to the rather romantic notion of “crimes of passion” here in the West. It is a culture of jealousy that anyone can succumb to, and I certainly do not cast any eyes to Islam for this. It is abhorrent and must be stopped, but it is not an Islamic custom, solely a human one.

    Thank you again for your beautiful words and eloquent argument. You have raised my consciousness and given me some (albeit slight) hope. Maybe if the world was run by (the right) women it would be a much better place, rather than all the egotistical men (and I count myself as one of those).

  • replica jerseys
    Posted 12th August 2010 3:19 am 0Likes

    I am perplexed by your assertion that the Christian “excesses of religious law . . . were generated by humans . . . rather than based on the biblical texts”. This is demonstrably untrue. The demonization of homosexuals (Lev 18:22), the keeping of slaves (Gen 9:25; Lev 25:44), the justification for the Inquisition (Deut 13:12-16), the oppression of women (1Cor 14:34-35) and Jews (Matt 27:26), they are all there in the “good” book. And anyone wanting to argue that most of the barbarous ideas posited in the Old Testament have since been superseded in the New, should go away and read Matthew 5:18 and John 15:6 before they try it. Of course, there are also very laudable ideals to be found in both holy books, but that’s the “wonderful” thing about scripture isn’t it; you can cherry-pick it to spout “peace and love” or “kill the infidel”, depending on your mood and/or political aspirations. The Bible is no different from the Quran in this respect. If your argument is that Islam will not be able to modernise because ideas that violate human rights and freedoms are codified in the Quran, then the West should not have been able to modernise either.

  • GB Randolph
    Posted 23rd August 2010 1:48 am 0Likes

    I am writing from the USA. My neighbor is a God-fearing Christian and today she told me that [President] Obama is a Muslim who wants to enforce sharia in America. I told her I was not going to believe anything she said unless she was able to show me EXACT proof – time, form, place, event – NOT media sensationalism. In any event, I said, even if it was so preposterously true, it would never happen because US law is sanctioned by its constitution. The 2nd amendment to that document states that there will be no state-sanctioned Church, and as sharia is Muslim law any attempts to establish sharia in the American judicial system would be quickly ruled unconstitutional. That seemed to have gone over her head. Her reply was “they’ve got that in England and look what it’s done to them.” That brought me to this web-site.

    As a student of philosophy and religious studies in the university and a practicing Scientologist for many years (I’m Jewish too) it struck me as almost humorous that secular civil and criminal courts have allowed sharia to enter into English legal jurisdiction. What’s next? Talmudic law? Have you ever studied Buddhist and Hindu law? Scientology has its own judicial codes. Why not throw all of it into a big potpourri? Or do what medieval Tatars did and pick the best of each law?

    Maybe the American authors of their constitution were smart to separate church and state. Not the point though. People get hung up on “the law” and more concerned with the significance of its “legality” than what it represents.

    Law is the attempt and result of any group to enforce agreed upon codes of conduct. Whether its based on religious moral percepts like the Ten Commandments, secular evolved codes such as Anglo-American “common law”, or juridical codes created by committees of philosophers and lawyers, from the days of Hammurabi to the Code de Napoleon, law is the LEGAL agreements of what people consider is morally right and wrong. The difference is that morals are something privately enforced. Law pertains to all in the group.

    The eternal question that one has to ask then, what makes a law good or bad? The fundamental percept is this: if the law supports the long-term survival of the individual and the group, then it’s a good law. The basis of all ethics is the determination whether one’s actions INCREASE the individuals and others survival or not. If NO, then you and your action would be unethical; if yes then you and your action would be deemed ETHICAL. Ethics is a personal thing. However since we all live in groups if an individuals unethical actions are hurting the survival of the group, the group has to get the individual to be ethical. Thus we get JUSTICE. When the group formulates codes of justice and enforces them, we get LAW. But it all boils down to the individual coming to their own self-determined understanding about the rightness or wrongness of their actions.

    You can take that fundamental percept and pick apart sharia or any body of laws. I don’t know whether having sharia be part of English judicial law is good or bad. I tend to agree with the American system of keeping any religious doctrines out of secular law. That is NOT to say that religions haven’t contributed to good law. The danger has been that religions also wanted to enforce their religious and spiritual agenda. When this has interceded in the fundamental percept, as evidenced in history, people suffer.

    When law, ANY LAW violates the fundamental percept, it’s a bad law, and there have been enough bad laws in mankind’s sordid history to make anybody mistrustful of any law. But that is the challenge, if we are going to live in a decent society.

    GB Randolph

  • Ann Bramley
    Posted 2nd October 2010 3:04 pm 0Likes

    Without one law for all the human race, there will never be peace and equality for all. Whatever religion one may be no-one can deny that justice, honesty and fair play have to be paramount in every human life.
    Faith is personal but humanity needs equality more.

  • Kent R.
    Posted 20th October 2010 8:02 pm 0Likes

    International Islamic terrorism is sponsored by Fuad Kamal of Anaara Media through his recruitment network. Fuad Kamal runs a sham operation Anaara Media which is really a recruitment tool. Fuad Kamal has produced online videos showing Jihadists how to slit throats. He is a close friend of Major Hassan and a member of the same mosque in Maryland. Major Hassan is now paralyzed after having been shot after murdering thirteen fellow marines in Ft. Hood, Texas. He is now on trial for his crimes. The network of undercover Islamic terrorism in the United States is extensive and cannot be documented because it is constantly changing. Homegrown terrorism in the greatest threat to both U.S. and international security.

  • Calum
    Posted 15th January 2011 10:41 pm 0Likes

    Regarding Cat’s comments,

    “And anyone wanting to argue that most of the barbarous ideas posited in the Old Testament have since been superseded in the New, should go away and read Matthew 5:18 and John 15:6 before they try it.”

    “If your argument is that Islam will not be able to modernise because ideas that violate human rights and freedoms are codified in the Quran, then the West should not have been able to modernise either.”

    Picking and choosing which rules or laws to follow is of course widespread in society which is why the phrase “you can’t just pick and choose” is said with reference to so many different legislative contexts in society, not only religious law. With some Christian teachings, it is a case of picking and choosing between apparently contradictory texts, one notable example being women being silent in the churches (I Cor 14) versus women praying and prophesying (1 Cor 11). However, many Christian teachings do not entail having to pick and choose scripture and the same is true for Islam.

    The John 15:6 reference is part of a spiritual metaphor where Jesus is a vine. A literal interpretation is not intended by the textual context and that is why no church could justifiably teach people to burn apostates, either today or in the past. For that reason, there is no record in the New Testament of any Christian burning an apostate. Even the Inquisition could not actually validate from scripture the torturing or burning of apostates; the responsibility for punishment was transposed to the secular authorities so that the church authorities could wash their hands of their complicity. Therefore, it appears that burning apostates would be not merely be “picking and choosing” between contrasting passages but an abuse of the passage concerned.

    Matthew 5:18 must be taken in tandem with Matthew 5:17. While not one jot or tittle of the law might pass away, the idea that Jesus was the “fulfilment” of the law actually involved what would be seen in Jewish eyes as producing abrogations of Mosaic law, the most well-known of these “fulfillments” perhaps being “turn the other cheek” which, for Christians, supersedes “an eye for an eye”.

    Gentile Christianity in fact originally only had four Mosaic obligations laid on it by the original Jerusalem church – to abstain from pollutions of idols and from unchastity and from what is strangled and from blood (referring to food offered to idols) (Acts 15:19-20). However, even the latter two obligations were removed by a dream St Peter had (Acts 11). Gentile Christianity was therefore given an ancient right to make its own decisions on what of Mosaic law was considered worth applying to non-Jews and what not. This led to the immediate development of a form of religion which was in many respects different from ancient forms of Judaism. A lot of teaching in the Old Testament has indeed “been superseded in the New” and any Orthodox Jew can enlighten you to numerous Mosaic laws that Christians, following traditional teaching, do not obey.

  • Calum
    Posted 15th January 2011 10:44 pm 0Likes

    While Christianity has traditionally decided that the teachings of the New Testament are binding, Christianity was born from a relatively powerless people taught to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Matt 22:21), implying that worldly authority is to be obeyed where it does not morally disoblige the individual. As a result, most New Testament teaching about society is fairly morally exemplary. The evidence that many of the differences between ancient and modern Christian morality are not down to “picking and choosing” is clear from the issues Christianity has with the concept of scripture being “without error” in matters of morality.

  • Calum
    Posted 15th January 2011 10:58 pm 0Likes

    How can we see that the issue of being morally “without error” is directly related to modern Christian teaching? Because no New Testament scripture argues that slavery is a good (for obvious reasons – who wants to be a slave) or that God hates Jews (for obvious reasons – the early Christians were Jews) or that polygamy is a necessity (for obvious reasons – marriage is not a necessity either). However, there is New Testament scripture condemning homosexual sex. Resultantly, modern Christian teaching does not tolerate anti-Semitism, slavery or polygamy but condemns homosexual sex.

  • Calum
    Posted 15th January 2011 10:58 pm 0Likes

    Resultantly, modern Christian teaching does not tolerate anti-Semitism, slavery or polygamy but condemns homosexual sex. Traditional Christian teaching could only legitimise homosexual sex by believing, for the first time ever, that scripture (and tradition) could both be morally in error in some matter. In short, there is “sanitising” in modern Christianity but it is only “radical” to a degree. Slavery has been both supported and condemned by Christian writers since early times , showing that the texts concerned “generated” opinions for and against, presumably because the text is not provably for or against and therefore one made one’s own decision according to one’s own agenda. New Testament morality therefore would not violate many of 21st century secular society’s human rights and freedoms. Very importantly, the modern freedoms and rights of non-Christians would be entirely unaffected by New Testament morality.

  • Calum
    Posted 15th January 2011 10:59 pm 0Likes

    The morality of the Qur’an is notably different from the morality of the New Testament with regard to modern freedoms and human rights and some modern non-Muslims are concerned by such a difference. The first Muslims were not Christians relatively powerless against the might of the Roman empire. Islam grew up in a situation of conflict and the Qur’an advocates war and subjugation so that the Qur’an can actually say, “You may fight in the cause of God against those who attack you” (2:190) and “You shall fight in the causes of God” (2:244), something contrary to Christian scripture and traditional teaching. With reference to fighting, the Qur’an says, “You may dislike something which is good for you” (2:216). No Christian scripture or traditional teaching refers to fighting betweeen people as “good for them”.

    This is only the tip of the iceberg of mindsets in the Qur’an (and the Hadiths and so forth) which may interfere with the modern rights and freedoms of both secular and religious. The Qur’an approves of slavery “So enjoy what you took as booty: the spoils are lawful and good” (8:69) and religious intolerance “O you who believe, take not into your intimacy those outside your religion. They will not fail to corrupt you. They only desire your ruin. Rank hatred has already appeared from their mouths. What their hearts conceal is far worse. When they are alone, they bit off the very tips of their fingers at you in their rage. Say unto them, ‘Perish in your rage.’ ” (3:118). It approves of the killing of someone who ceases to be a Muslim “if they turn back from Islam, becoming renegades, seize them and kill them wherever you find them” (4:90) and holds that women are inferior to men (2:228), should only receive half the inheritance of men (4:11), are only half as valuable as a male witness in court (2:282) and are unclean to the touch (5:6).

    It would be a mistake to equate in degree the impact on a secular state of Christian teaching on non-Christians with the potential impact on a secular state of carrying out the teachings of the Qur’an. Only a relatively small sphere of non-pick-and-choose traditional Christian teaching would need to be “radically sanitised” to make it more akin to modern secular law (most notably in relation to abortion and homosexuality). In the Qur’an, many more additional radical changes in non-pick-and-choose moral law would be required (most notably in relation to war, torture, sex slavery, slavery in general, women’s nature and rights, religious liberty, the democratic rights of the dhimmi, treatment of criminals).

  • Christian
    Posted 9th June 2011 4:02 pm 0Likes

    If you want to read more about the Anaara Media – Al Qaeda connection, click the following links:;; and Fuad Kamal and Anaara Media are of critical importance to Al Qaeda because Anaara Media is the lynchpin in the entire Al Qaeda network. Without Fuad Kamal’s linking expertise, the Islamic terrorist network could not function nearly as effectively and as efficiently. Fuad Kamal is a cousin of Osama bin Laden and has vowed revenge for the death of Osama.

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    Law is the attempt and result of any group to enforce agreed upon codes of conduct. Whether its based on religious moral percepts like the Ten Commandments, secular evolved codes such as Anglo-American “common law”, or juridical codes created by committees of philosophers and lawyers, from the days of Hammurabi to the Code de Napoleon, law is the LEGAL agreements of what people consider is morally right and wrong. The difference is that morals are something privately enforced. Law pertains to all in the group.

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