Face of the day

 Baroness Cox of Queensbury: I’m passionate about Muslim women and yet I am called Islamophobic’  Photo: ANDREW CROWLEY

Baroness Cox of Queensbury: I’m passionate about Muslim women and yet I am called Islamophobic’ Photo: ANDREW CROWLEY

At least 84 Sharia law courts are now operating in the UK. Under Sharia law it is acceptable to beat your wife. These courts will hear domestic violence complaints. These courts handle wills. Under Sharia law women can only inherit half as much as men. Non Muslims cannot inherit at all. Today’s face of the day is passionate about Muslim women’s rights yet she is called an Islamophobe.

A nurse, educationalist and human rights campaigner, she caught Margaret Thatcher’s eye in 1982 and was named as a Tory working peer. “The first baroness I ever met,” recalls this feisty 73-year-old, “was when I looked in the mirror that morning”. Ever since, she has used the red benches to raise neglected, inconvenient and unfashionable causes.

“I prefer to think of myself,” she muses over Earl Grey and scones in the House of Lords tea room, as the “voice of the voiceless”. Her latest crusade is to rally to the defence of British Muslim women, spurred on by the recent decision of the Law Society to publish “good practice” notes for solicitors on making wills compliant with sharia. This can deny women equal shares of inheritance, and exclude children born out of wedlock.

“The suffragettes will be turning in their graves,” says Lady Cox. “It undermines the most fundamental principles of equality enshrined in British law”.

In Britain’s 85 sharia courts and councils, she says, sharia “seeps” into enforcing divorce settlements, ignoring domestic violence and deciding access to children, all properly the preserve of British law. And that is why Lady Cox is determined to get her Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill on to the statute book.


I admire Baroness Cox, the voice of reason almost alone in the wilderness. Western cultures have a proud history of feminism and giving women the vote and equality. New Zealand in fact was the very first in the entire world to give women the vote yet where is the outrage? Where are the strong women standing up and being counted as women’s rights are under attack in the most blatant and pervasive way? We need women like Baroness Cox every where stating the obvious. This is not acceptable. This is contrary to everything that we value and hold dear. It must stop. Anyone who thinks that what has happened in the UK won’t happen here is deluded. It will happen unless we all stand up like today’s face of the day and scream it from the mountain tops. Our rights are not negotiable. Women’s  worth is not half that of a man. It is not culture to deny women equal rights, it is oppression and we will not tolerate oppression.

Baroness Cox, who campaigns against religious discrimination against women, said the guidance was a worrying development.

She told the Sunday Telegraph:

This violates everything we stand for. It would make the Suffragettes turn in their graves.’

In the past she has spoken out about the growth of ‘Islamic courts’ resolving disputes.

She said: ‘No longer do we have a single legal code in our society.

‘Instead, alongside our own law, there is now effectively a parallel quasi-legal system operating within some Muslim communities.

‘Sharia law, imported from theocracies like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, first began to be used here in a strictly limited form, dealing mainly with narrow issues like Islamic financial contracts.

‘But as the Muslim population has grown and the pervasive creed of multiculturalism has become ever more powerful, so Sharia law has rapidly grown in influence within some communities.

‘There are now estimated to be no fewer than 85 Sharia courts across the country — from London and Manchester to Bradford and Nuneaton. They operate mainly from mosques, settling financial and family disputes according to religious principles.’

Summary of Key points in the article:

Article written 23rd March 2014
Sharia law to be enshrined in British legal system as lawyers get guidelines on drawing up documents according to Islamic rules

  • The guidelines on wills could mean women are denied an equal inheritance
  • Adopted children could also face losing out under Law Society document
  • The move has been criticised as a backwards step by equality campaigners

Top lawyers have written guidelines for British solicitors on drafting ‘sharia-compliant’ wills which can deny women an equal share of their inheritance and entirely exclude non-believers, it was revealed today.

The Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, has written a guide on Sharia succession rules that will be used in British courts. It will mean that children born outside of marriage and adopted children could also be denied their fair share.

The guide states: ‘No distinction is made between children of different marriages, but illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs.

New guidance for lawyers on drawing up wills based on Sharia principles have been released by British legal experts. Pictured, the Sharia Council of Britain preside over marital cases at their east London headquarters

‘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.’

-Mail Online

To read the article in full go here.

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