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Britain launches review of Shariah law

An independent review on Shariah law reportedly being applied in parts of Britain - as part of the  government's counter-terrorism strategy - began  on Monday with the chair urging people with experience of the law to share their experiences.

world Updated: Jul 04, 2016 21:43 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
File photo of home secretary Theresa May, who commissioned the review of Shariah law in Britain.
File photo of home secretary Theresa May, who commissioned the review of Shariah law in Britain.(AFP)

An independent review on Shariah law reportedly being applied in parts of Britain - as part of the David Cameron government's counter-terrorism strategy - began  on Monday with the chair urging people with experience of the law to share their experiences.

The review, commissioned by home secretary Theresa May, is chaired by Mona Siddiqui, an expert in Islamic and inter-religious studies. It is  expected to complete the  review in 2017.

Siddiqui said there was some proof that Shariah councils could be acting in an “discriminatory manner”

“This review will explore whether, and to what extent, the application of Shariah law may be incompatible with the law in England and Wales. It will examine the ways in which Shariah may be being misused, or exploited, in a way that may discriminate against certain groups, undermine shared values or cause social harms,” she said. 

“Many British people of different faiths follow religious codes and practices, and benefit from the guidance they offer. Some religious communities also operate arbitration councils and boards which seek to resolve disputes. There is, however, some evidence that Shariah councils may be working in a discriminatory manner.”

Official sources said the panel was particularly keen to speak to those who had worked as part of a Shariah council in the past five years; and those who had used a council in any capacity in the last five years.

The review panel includes family law barrister Sam Momtaz, retired high court judge Mark Hedley and specialist family law lawyer Anne Marie Hutchinson. The panel will be advised by two religious and theological experts: Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi and Imam Qari Asim.