Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Disseminating culture

A couple of weeks ago the Sunday Times revealed that Shari'a courts were operating in Britain under the auspices of the Arbitration Act 1996.

Muslim tribunal courts started passing sharia judgments in August 2007. They have dealt with more than 100 cases that range from Muslim divorce and inheritance to nuisance neighbours.

It has also emerged that tribunal courts have settled six cases of domestic violence between married couples, working in tandem with the police investigations.

[Faiz] Siddiqi said he expected the courts to handle a greater number of “smaller” criminal cases in coming years as more Muslim clients approach them. “All we are doing is regulating community affairs in these cases,” said Siddiqi, chairman of the governing council of the tribunal.
Siddiqi was interviewed in 1997 by the Tehran Times, when he was "visiting Iran to take part in ceremonies commemorating the eighth anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Khomeini." Siddiqi commented that "You cannot be a moderate Muslim. You are either a Muslim or not a Muslim." He then said this:
For every Pharaoh there will be a Moses. And for the Pharaoh of today, which is the United States, there will have to be a Moses. I believe the lame Imam Khomeini's views enlightened the world Muslims as to the way they should react to the arrogant powers. I think the American officials cannot understand the depth of the Islamic culture which the Islamic Republic of Iran aims to disseminate."
Last year, I reproduced a brief summary of the Islamic culture theat Iran is seeking to disseminate:
In the last three years, the rulers of Iran have:
- Stoned to death women and men accused of adultery
- Hanged a 16 year old girl,Atefah Sahaaleh, who had been sexually abused since childhood, for "crimes against chastity"
– Hanged two gay teenage boys, later alleging that they had committed rape
– Engaged in brutal persecution and ethnic cleansing of Iran's Ahwazi Arab minority
– Sponsored a conference in Tehran for anti-Semitic and racist Holocaust deniers from around the world
– Arrested and brutalised bus drivers,students, teachers and other workers trying to engage in trade union activity
– Violently broken up a demonstration by thousands of women in Tehran to mark International Womens' Day
– Arrested women for dressing "immodestly" and young people for holding rock concerts
– Imprisoned and tortured academics, journalists and webloggers and closed down reformist newspapers.
Siddiqi was perhaps unintentionally accurate when he referred to the "depth" of this culture.

At the time of the Sunday Times article, Matthew Sinclair commented:
Equality before the law is dead. We might step in if some troublesome soul won't take no for an answer but otherwise many Britons now live by a different legal code to the rest of us. Such an important principle didn't die because the British public stopped caring about it or were too apathetic to make their voices heard. They reacted with utter fury at the suggestion that Sharia should be admitted as a part of British law. I'm not aware of any party manifesto ever having proposed integrating Sharia into the British legal system or even of any significant politician endorsing the idea in public.

It just sort of happened. Just like the recognition of polygamous marriages or countless other surrenders of our values that the British people never endorsed. It came about thanks to a combination of a lack of proper scrutiny of laws, this clearly isn't what the Arbitration Act was intended for, and a feeble establishment desperate for the false sense of security that can be had by appeasing those demanding Sharia.

We need a democratic revival or Britain's most cherished values are at risk.
Yes, we do.

Who is going to lead it?

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