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Islamic law tramples women’s rights

Islamic law tramples women’s rights

A report by a human rights group has exposed the vulnerability of Muslim women living in Islamic ‘marriages’ in the UK.

According to the National Secular Society the report finds that the widespread practice of polygamy has left Muslim women without legal rights upon “divorce”, and left entirely dependent on their “husbands”  for financial support.

They are often unable to leave sham “marriages” for fear of social ostracism or bringing “shame” to their family.

Written by AURAT, a charity which supports victims of “honour”-based violence, the report claims that many Muslim women are unsure of their legal rights and some women were even left believing that their “marriage”  ceremonies were valid simply because they had taken place in the UK.

The report was welcomed by the NSS, which has expressed concern that the rise of sharia is creating a “parallel legal system” within Britain’s Muslim community. Stephen Evans, NSS campaigns manager, said:

Islamic ‘marriages’ and sharia courts are quasi-legal systems operating within Muslim communities, and, as the report shows, both discriminate against women, who sometimes have little knowledge of their legal rights and are unable to access support services and are therefore all-too-often becoming trapped in insular religious communities.

The report cites examples from women who told their stories to AURAT, including many women who were married, by their parents, to men who later turned out to have as many as three “wives” living in different households. One woman told how she was left claiming benefits simply to pay the mortgage on her “husband’s”  house when he refused to support her. He had three other wives living in different houses.

In her foreword to the report, Baroness Cox writes that the shocking situation described in the research is “just the tip of the iceberg”. Cox says that:

There are, literally, countless more women in similar predicaments.

Cox draws attention to the role of “sharia law principles” in exacerbating the situation, worsening the “plight of women in Islamic communities.”

Although women from many backgrounds may suffer abuse or “other problems associated with dysfunctional families”, Cox writes, sharia law makes these situations much worse for women. She says that discrimination against women and girls is “inherent” in sharia law.

The report notes that:

In mainstream Islam, a husband does not have to undertake the same process as the wife when seeking a Talaq (an Islamic “divorce”). He merely has to say “I divorce you” three times, whereas a wife must meet various conditions and pay a fee.

One of the major underlying problems the research found was that the broader Muslim community would not support women who “divorced” their “husbands”. There were also significant financial costs for women who wished to have an Islamic “divorce”. The research found that almost half of the married women said “the Muslim community would not support them if they sought a Talaq.”

The report noted that:

There is a growing concern that many Muslim women in Britain today are suffering severe gender discrimination but lack knowledge of their rights under British law. Moreover, seeking help from non-Muslim professional and legal sources may be strongly discouraged as it may be deemed to incur ‘shame’ on Muslim families and communities.

The research concluded that:

Vulnerable women are often inhibited from getting the help they really need.

AURAT is now calling for mosques and Muslim community leaders to inform families about the diminished rights women have under religious marriages that remain unrecognised by the state. It also urged professional and public bodies to be made more visible to Muslim women who may not be aware of the support services available.

In June 2014 Justice Minister Simon Hughes told the House of Commons that:

The Government is committed to the protection and promotion of the rights of women, families and children. This includes raising awareness of the legal consequences of ‘religious only’ marriages and encouraging mosques to register in order to be able to carry out legally recognised marriages in their various facilities.

Meanwhile it is reported here that the Research and Fatwa Department of the Islamic State (ISIS) recently released a pamphlet on the topic of female captives and slaves.

The pamphlet, which is dated October/November 2014 and  printed by ISIS’s publishing house, Al-Himma Library, is titled Su’al wa-Jawab fi al-Sabi wa-Riqab (“Questions and Answers on Taking Captives and Slaves”).

It was presumably released in response to the uproar caused by the many reports this summer that ISIS had taken Yazidi girls and women as sex slaves.

Written in the form of questions and answers, it clarifies the position of Islamic law (as ISIS interprets it) on various relevant issues, and states, among other things, that it is permissible to have sexual intercourse with non-Muslim slaves, including young girls, and that it is also permitted to beat them and trade in them.

• The top picture showing Muslim women demonstrating in favour of sharia appeared in a Telegraph report in July 2014 headed “Why banning Sharia courts would harm British Muslim women”.

Hat tip: Adam Tjaavk (NSS report) and Antony Niall (ISIS)

11 responses to “Islamic law tramples women’s rights”

  1. barriejohn says:

    I was reading the following earlier today. Interesting.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30397272

    “You don’t like her? Why not? She got two legs, she got two arms, she’s a professional. How can you not like her?”

  2. Barry Duke says:

    Interesting, BarrieJohn, but this is funnier:

    “We are living in a Muslim country and we can’t bear such people like she is,” wrote a user named Ahmad.

    He was talking about a creature of the female persuasion with two EXPOSED legs.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-trending-30399682

    (Thanks Trevor Blake)

  3. barriejohn says:

    Perhaps they don’t realize that women normally have legs, and think, as the Victorians were reputed to, that they glide along upon some mechanism secreted beneath their skirts!

    Maybe that’s what Banksy was thinking about as well:

    http://i.ebayimg.com/16/!BdhfGgg!2k~$(KGrHqEOKjUEq3-GyigbBK5QKmv8P!~~_3.JPG

  4. AgentCormac says:

    Two arms. Two legs. But no rights.

  5. Cesar says:

    I propose we change honor-killing to shame-murder, it describes that barbaric practice better.

  6. Paul Cook says:

    It is all callous, cowardly but very effective control, exerted by feeble minded, insecure bullying men. Religion. It is good for nothing. And islam does show itself as the worst because the atrocities committed are always stated by the perpetrators to stem from, or are made in the name of, that religion.

  7. barriejohn says:

    AgentCormac: The religious don’t have rights. It’s not just the women, and it’s not just Islam. I know that I am never going to be able to explain satisfactorily to those who have lived their lives free of religious belief what it is like when you think that you “belong to God” and have to do what “pleases Him”, however difficult or abhorrent you may find it. It’s like living in a monastery, and millions of Christians around the world – from extreme Protestants to devout Catholics – think that they have “sacrificed their fleshly desires” to please their deity. They continue in unsuitable employment, and endure failed relationships, because “God led them” into their present situation, so it is “where He wants them”. Unlike you, they are not the captains of their own souls nor masters of their fate, and are subjugating their own wishes to those of some fictional, oppressive, unfeeling demagogue. This is why so many of the religious suffer mental illness – many, like myself, experiencing “mental breakdown” when the dichotomies become to difficult to deal with ( I was also in denial over my homosexuality, as are millions of others). I was also reading the following on the BBC site yesterday, and didn’t think it of any great significance at the time. It does, however, tie in with this thread rather well.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-30391593

    What it shows is that even amongst the most fanatically religious communities there are many who are completely out of step, and yearn for the personal liberty that is denied them. As an ex-religiot myself, I think I may look differently at the baying, burqa-clad mobs, waving their obscene placards and screaming for the death of “the infidels”, because I know that to many of them it is just a charade (look at all those people weeping so profusely over the death of their leaders in North Korea, but wouldn’t YOU do the same under the circumstances?). And how far away are Christians in the West from witch-burning and inquisitions, I wonder? Not far, in my experience, yet they believe that they are acting out of love for their fellow man and in the best interests of society. Nothing is more dangerous nor more depressing than a person who believes that he is “doing God’s work”, but they are only kidding themselves if they think that they are happy and living fulfilling lives, as it’s all a fantasy.

  8. Newspaniard says:

    This bloke has got it right. It’s a pity that his colleagues won’t listen:
    https://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/video-the-netherlands-without-islam/

  9. barriejohn says:

    There was a report on the following programme on BBC News this morning:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n3csw9bx

    No doubt available on iPlayer later.

  10. L.Long says:

    IsLame….a system of BS and brainwashing that allows mean psychotic males to dominate and oppress women. And a system that allows Ahole women who found a way to work the system and they can also dominate and oppress other women.
    christianity…a beat down version of IsLame with feelings of envy for their lost power to be like IsLame.

    Government…a collection of religious people giving themselves special privileges to be Aholes to others.

    In England and Europe there are 3 reasons that allow IsLame to oppress women, the women are kept in ignorance as much as possible and the deep fear the men install in the woman but even worse is the DEEP brainwashing that goes into training the women to think IsLame is the right way, so they can’t leave the situation.