Other sovereign nations are also struggling to roll back the influence of Shariah Law in their court systems. Many Americans may not be aware that at least 85 Islamic Shariah courts operate as a separate and wholly unequal legal system in the United Kingdom. Their decrees carry full legal status if approved in U.K. national courts. This month a woman who had been repeatedly beaten and threatened with death by a husband who spends most of his time with his second wife (in 2011 British Muslims are allowed to have up to four wives), was denied her right to divorce by a Shariah court in Birmingham. The judge explained, “For the sake of the children you must keep up the façade of cordial relations.” Conversely, a Muslim man may legally divorce his wife by simply uttering the word “talaq” three times.
Luckily, Muslim women and children in the U.K. have a strong guardian looking out for their interests in the person of Baroness Caroline Cox:
In an attempt to counter the proliferation of these courts, a Bill has been tabled in the House of Lords by Baroness Cox calling for Sharia courts to be outlawed where they conflict with the British legal system.
Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lord Phillips, the former Lord Chief Justice, argued in 2008 that Sharia courts should be used to resolve disputes among Muslims. But since then, according to Baroness Cox, the problem has become more entrenched.
“My Bill seeks to stop parallel legal, or quasi-legal, systems taking root in our nation,” she says. “There is widespread concern that some tribunals applying Sharia are going well beyond their legal remit, and some rulings are being misrepresented as having the force of UK law. Cases of criminal law and family law are matters reserved for the English courts alone.
“I hope the Bill gets through, as I believe it is vital for securing the rights of women in this country.”
“Muslim women who have a poor grasp of English or are unaware of their legal rights are likely to believe whatever their Sharia court tells them,” says Baroness Cox.
This model from the U.K. may have useful features to provide due process and equal protection to U.S. citizens and legal residents who use Islamic arbitration panels in the United States to resolve their disputes. Cox’s Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill (PDF) would require arbitration providers, including Shariah courts, to inform individuals of the “need to obtain an officially recognized marriage in order to have legal protection” and inform individuals that “a polygamous household may be unlawful.”
Further, it provides that “a court may issue a declaration setting aside any order based on a meditation settlement agreement or other negotiated agreement if it considers on evidence that one party’s consent was not genuine.” A strict assessment for what constitutes “genuineness” is clearly laid out in the bill’s language, calling on the court to pay particular attention as to whether or not:
(a) all parties were informed of their legal rights, including alternatives to mediation or any other negotiation process used;
(b) any party was manipulated or put under duress, including through psychological coercion, to induce participation in the mediation or negotiation process.
The perseverance of Baroness Cox is an inspiration to the English-speaking world and the United States in particular. If we pay attention to the lessons learned from the British predicament, we may be able to prevent official Shariah courts from ever appearing in the United States.
However, Shariah arbitration panels are already in use – and legal. As one example, see this divorce case in which the parties agreed to bring their disagreement to the Texas Islamic Court in Richardson before it ever showed up in an American court. The Muslims who use them may not be aware that the American courts system will protect their rights and due process better than Shariah law or other systems used in private arbitration.
Cox’s bill has full disclosure requirements for arbitration panels that could help protect all Americans.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s growth in America has expanded greatly since the 1990s, with their stated goal “that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands.” The Muslim Brotherhood’s plan to impose Shariah and censorship in America reaches into our media, our government, our military and law enforcement, our textbooks and our colleges. Anyone who openly opposes the Muslim Brotherhood – that would be well over 200 million Americans, according to polls – has been labeled an “islamophobe” by the leftwing media.
Enough is enough. Americans across the nation have started pushing back against the Muslim Brotherhood’s trademark intimidation and threats. The Center for Security Policy is tracking these efforts to expose and to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence over how we talk and think, how we govern ourselves and enforce our laws, and how we make our own plans for our children’s future of freedom under the Constitution, not enslavement under Shariah law.
We call it The Rollback.