Sharia courts rule on sex lives in Britain

Unofficial Sharia courts are governing people's sex lives in Britain.


Finsbury Park mosque

London's Finsbury Park mosque. Ten sharia courts

  currently operate in Britain, largely focusing on  

matrimonial issues Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND

Ten currently operate across the country, with around 95 per cent of their cases relating to matrimonial issues.

Although the hearings have no basis in British law, they are attended voluntarily by Muslim couples to settle disputes without referral to the recognised authorities.

In some cases they can order wives to be more attentive to their husbands' needs, or deal with releasing spouses from bad or forced marriages.

The first Muslim court was established in Birmingham in 1982 and others have followed in London and the Yorkshire towns of Rotherham and Dewsbury.

Although most of those who attend are from the Indian sub-continent, Sharia courts are also popular among those from Arab and Somalian backgrounds.

Sharia is based on the religious rulings in the Koran, of later judges and on the acts of the Prophet Mohammed.

It encompasses not just enforceable law but moral law too.

Earlier this year the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, came under fierce attack from the Government and his own church for advocating the adoption of parts of Sharia Law in Britain.

"It seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of Sharia are already recognised in our society," he said

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