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One Law for All

Campaign against Sharia law in Britain

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Declaration

We, the undersigned individuals and organisations, call on the UK government to
bring an end to the use and institutionalisation of Sharia and all religious
laws and to guarantee equal citizenship rights for all.

Sharia law is discriminatory

Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals are discriminatory,
particularly against women and children, and in violation of universal human
rights.

Sharia law is unfair and unjust in civil matters

Proponents argue that the implementation of Sharia is justified when limited to
civil matters, such as child custody, divorce and inheritance. In fact, it is
civil matters that are one of the main cornerstones of the subjugation of and
discrimination against women and children. Under Sharia law a woman’s
testimony is worth half that of a man’s; a woman’s marriage contract is
between her male guardian and her husband. A man can have four wives and divorce
his wife by simple repudiation, whereas a woman must give reasons, some of which
are extremely difficult to prove. Child custody reverts to the father at a
preset age, even if the father is abusive; women who remarry lose custody of
their children; and sons are entitled to inherit twice the share of daughters.

The voluntary nature of Sharia courts is a sham

Proponents argue that those who choose to make use of Sharia courts and
tribunals do so voluntarily and that according to the Arbitration Act parties
are free to agree upon how their disputes are resolved. In reality, many of
those dealt with by Sharia courts are from the most marginalised segments of
society with little or no knowledge of their rights under British law. Many,
particularly women, are pressured into going to these courts and abiding by
their decisions. More importantly, those who fail to make use of Sharia law or
seek to opt out will be made to feel guilty and can be treated as apostates and
outcasts.

Even if completely voluntary, which is untrue, the discriminatory nature of the
courts would be sufficient reason to bring an end to their use and
implementation.

Sharia law is a quick and cheap way to injustice

Proponents argue that Sharia courts are an alternative method of dispute
resolution and curb legal aid costs. When it comes to people’s rights,
however, cuts in costs and speed can only bring about serious miscarriages of
justice. Many of the laws that Sharia courts and religious tribunals aim to
avoid have been fought for over centuries in order to improve the rights of
those most in need of protection in society.

Sharia law doesn’t promote minority rights and social cohesion

Proponents argue that the right to be governed by Sharia law is necessary to
defend minority rights. Having the right to religion or atheism, however, is not
the same as having the ‘right’ to be governed by religious laws. This is
merely a prescription for discrimination, inequality and culturally relative
rights. Rather than defending rights, it discriminates and sets up different and
separate systems, standards and norms for ‘different’ people. It reinforces
the fragmentation of society, and leaves large numbers of people, particularly
women and children, at the mercy of elders and imams. It increases
marginalisation and the further segregation of immigrant communities. It ensures
that immigrants and new arrivals remain forever minorities and never equal
citizens.

One law for all

Rights, justice, inclusion, equality and respect are for people, not beliefs. In
a civil society, people must have full citizenship rights and equality under the
law. Clearly, Sharia law contravenes fundamental human rights. In order to
safeguard the rights and freedoms of all those living in Britain, there must be
one secular law for all and no Sharia.

Petition

One Law for All

* We call on the UK government to recognise that Sharia and all religious
laws are arbitrary and discriminatory against women and children in particular.
Citizenship and human rights are non-negotiable.

* We demand an end to all Sharia courts and religious tribunals on the basis
that they work against and not for equality and human rights.

* We demand that the law be amended so that all religious tribunals are
banned from operating within and outside of the legal system.

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