The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, has been placed in the cross-hairs of humanitarian and legal groups after case after case of domestic violence involving the man as the aggressor and the woman as the victim seemed to have been decided along the lines of Sharia law – the part that gives Muslim husbands the right to beat their wives.
The Express has the news:
“The Nuneaton Mat is one of the most influential Sharia courts in Britain, ruling on disputes between members of Muslim communities. On the tribunal’s website it states that it can make submissions to ask the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to reconsider criminal charges brought against men accused of domestic violence.
“The Mat says it aims to provide reconciliation between parties where charges for criminal assaults relating to domestic violence have been brought forward.”
The terms of the agreed-upon reconciliation measures are supposed to flow from MAT to the Crown Prosecution Service via the local Police Domestic Violence Liaison Office, the last of which maintains the legal authority to bring back the case for criminal charge, if perceived as necessary.
But legal watchers say the Sharia court hasn’t exactly been following protocol with domestic violence cases and has simply been encouraging women to “reconcile with abusive partners,” the Express reported.
More from the newspaper:
“Earlier this year the Government launched an inquiry into Sharia Courts in Britain over their treatment of women.
“A statement by women’s rights group Southall Black Sisters submitted as part of written evidence said: ‘The Mat, for example, actively involves itself in criminal proceedings on domestic violence, despite stating that it is unable to deal with criminal offences.
“‘It uses its position of power to persuade the CPS to drop charges and to encourage women to reconcile with abusive partners without reference to court orders they may already have or to risk assessments and safety planning.’
“The group said Sharia councils are ‘highly arbitrary decision making forums that use dominant, patriarchal and authoritarian interpretations of Muslim codes.’
“Sharia, the Islamic legal system based on the Koran, is equivalent to state laws in some Middle Eastern countries. In Britain Sharia law does no supersede UK law.”
In fact, Sharia councils operating in the United Kingdom are only allowed to exist on a voluntary basis, not as a sponsored entity of the government.
But these panels and tribunals have been growing in influence of late. Several have been accused of bias against women, as based on Sharia.
Critics outright charge the panels actually endorse marriages that have been forced, and in divorce proceedings, always issue decisions that fall on the favorable side of the man.
At least Britain’s taking a second look at these panels.
As the Express noted:
“The parliamentary inquiry was launched by previous Home Secretary -now Prime Minister- Theresa May.
“She said: ‘There is only one rule of law in our country, which provides rights and security for every citizen.
“‘This review will help us better understand whether, and the extent to which, sharia is being misused or exploited, and make recommendations to the Government on how to address this.’”
The inquiry is scheduled to hear from witnesses over the next several days.
One more bit from the Express:
“Former director of prosecutions Lord Macdonald has expressed concern over the dangers of allowing Sharia councils to deal with cases of domestic violence. …
“‘Women have been struggling for justice in domestic violence cases for decades. We need to support them rather than trapping them in blind alleys designed to contain them.’”