LONDON, June 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Britain’s new government must abolish Islamic sharia courts, campaigners said on Monday, describing them as “kangaroo courts” that deliver second-rate justice and trample over the rights of women and children.
They called for the government to stick to pre-election promises to hold an inquiry into sharia courts which first appeared in Britain in the mid-1980s.
“Over the years, we have witnessed with increasing alarm the influence of ‘Sharia courts’ over the lives of citizens of Muslim heritage,” nearly 200 women’s rights and secular campaigners said in a statement.
“Though the ‘Sharia courts’ have been touted as people’s right to religion, they are in fact, effective tools of the far-right Islamist movement whose main aim is to restrict and deny rights, particularly those of women and children.”
It has been reported that there are 85 such courts in Britain, but the number is unknown. The courts — called sharia councils — deal mostly with family matters, in particular divorce.