Scots grow concerned that Sharia law may be on the way
Thursday 9th October, 2008
Residents of Scotland are concerned Sharia courts, which have been operational in England for more than a year, will soon be set up in Scottish cities.
Secret talks are said to be underway to bring Sharia courts to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The move is being opposed by some sections of Scottish society, who have been vocal in pointing out that attempts to set up Sharia courts in Canada in 2005 had also failed after protests.
Qamar Bhatti, director of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, which runs the courts, admitted secret discussions were taking place with lawyers and Muslim community groups in Scotland.
Sharia law is an Islamic legal system, derived from the Koran.
It covers every aspect of a Muslim’s life and day-to-day conduct.
In September, it emerged that five Sharia courts, ruling on civil cases from divorce to domestic violence and financial disputes, had been operating for more than a year in London, Birmingham, Bradford, Manchester and Warwickshire in England.
The courts have legal powers, and their decisions are enforceable through the English county courts or high courts.
They deal with a range of issues, including marriage, divorce, family and financial disputes.
Decisions are collectively made by three to six scholars and imams.
However, concerns have been raised in England about the establishment of a dual legal system.
Women’s domestic violence opponents have also voiced fears, saying traditional Sharia law arbitration is dangerous and inappropriate in cases of abuse, due to the patriarchal nature of the Muslim culture.
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