Sunday, February 10, 2008

More Relating To The Mad Archbishop of Canterbury

More things related to the mad Archbishop of Canterbury who has called for the official recognition of aspects of Sharia law in Britain.


I have previously blogged on the Archbishop's madness here and here. And I have posted on a report about the prevelance of forced marraige, female genital mutilation, and honor violence in the UK's Muslim population - all of which have a direct or indirect relation to Islam and Sharia law - here. The report also dicusses the problems Britain faces in trying to end these scourges.

There is a case today before Senior Law Judges in the UK where the plaintiff is asking the Court to hold a "forced" marriage - which are recognized as valid under Sharia law - be held null for lack of consent under the public policy of Britain:

Three senior judges are to rule on the legality of an arranged marriage conducted in the UK under sharia law, a judgment that could have profound consequences for British Muslims.

Last week, as Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, declared it was 'inevitable' that certain parts of Islamic law would be introduced into Britain, the Court of Appeal was told how a 26-year-old British Muslim with learning difficulties was married over the telephone to a woman in Bangladesh. It was arranged by the man's father and deemed lawful under sharia law.

Lord Justice Thorpe, Lord Justice Hall and Lady Justice Hallett were asked by the man's family to reject an earlier decision that, because the groom was unable to give his consent, the marriage was unlawful. Mr Justice Wood said that the true test into the validity of the marriage was 'whether the marriage is so offensive to the conscience of the English court that it should refuse to recognise and give effect to the proper foreign law'.

The judge added that the long-standing British policy to recognise sharia marriages conducted abroad should be offset by the understanding that 'there are occasions when such a marriage cannot be recognised in England, for example where to do so would be repugnant to public policy'.

The case was brought by Westminster city council community services department after the local authority raised concerns about a marriage in which the groom could not possibly have given consent because of his learning disabilities.

The marriage took place in September 2006. Although the bridegroom stayed in London and listened to the ceremony by speakerphone, the ceremony took place in Bangladesh and was declared valid under sharia law.

Yogi Amin of the law firm Irwin Mitchell, representing Westminster council, said: 'This case highlights that the law in this country may clash with sharia law and the cultural wishes of the family.' He added: 'The High Court held that the marriage in this case ... is not valid under English law, and that any marriage entered into by this vulnerable adult whether inside or outside England will not be recognised under English law.'

Legal experts said the case would have ramifications for plans to make forced marriages - often arranged marriages involving youngsters - prohibited in the UK under case law. . . .

Read the article. It should be noted that the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has "block[ed] attempts to criminalise forced marriage."

The reaction to the Archbishop across the pond has been heartening. For example, from the Times today, Minnette Marrin writes: "Archbishop, You Have Committed Treason." Then there is this exceptional article in the Times which does an excellent job of catalouging not only the "backlash" to the Archbishop's remarks, but also gives possibly the most thorough and balanced discussion of Sharia law and its application in other countries that I have seen so far..

The Head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, has weighed in on the contreversy, saying "I don't believe in a multicultural society. When people come into this country they have to obey the laws of the land."

And Ali Eteraz writes why he is oposed to Sharia courts in the UK.

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