Shari`ah Courts in UK: A Governmental Viewpoint
Lord Chief Justice Lord Nicholas Phillips, Britain’s most senior judge, has suggested on Friday July 4, that Islamic Shari`ah could play a role in the British legal system, echoing a similar stance by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.
In his speech to the London Islamic Council, Phillips, the most senior judge in England and Wales, said parties to a dispute are free to agree to accept Shari`ah principles or other religious precepts if they decide to seek mediation.
IslamOnline.net(IOL)’s Euro-Muslims Page has taken the initiative and invited IOL audience to get engaged in a discussion with concerned parties from different backgrounds.
Over the past week, IOL visitors have addressed some relevant questions to Mr. Barry Marston, the spokesman of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We hereby present the replies and opinions of Mr. Marston in an attempt to make our readers’ voices heard.
Below read the questions, and through the following link, listen to Mr. Marston’s opinions.
Shari`ah Courts in UK: A Governmental Viewpoint (Audio Interview)
IOL Audience’s Questions:
- At the very beginning, we would like to know your thoughts on how a religious community –like the British Muslims community- with its unique social and cultural codes can be smoothly integrated into the British society?
- In the light of the fact that Britain is considered as one of the most multi-cultural European countries which embraces all faiths and backgrounds, what are the British government’s fears of applying Shari`ah law on British Muslims only?
- Do you think that stricter laws preventing or reducing the application of any Islamic law in UK would be issued soon? Also, how do you see the issuing of the Sokouk law, a new financial Islamic law that was approved by the Government, amidst Dr. Rowan William’s debate?
- To which extent do you see the forced marriage as a phenomenon that is widely speared among the Muslim community in UK?
- So far, number of Shari`ah courts in the UK are estimated to be 30 and It is believed that the first court started in Birmingham in 1982, how do you evaluate this experience?
- Finally, we would like to know your dreams and expectations for British Muslims and their cohesion within the British society?