Over the past year, many sharia court decisions in the UK have been backed by the force of law. The legal justification is an Act of Parliament which permits courts to enforce arbitration decisions. On the surface, this justification is nothing extraordinary. Many legal systems, including our own, look favorably upon and even encourage alternative dispute resolution. What’s happening in the UK however is not your typical arbitration system.
The types of cases approved by British courts have included not only your run of the mill contract case, but also divorce, inheritance, and even domestic violence cases. Many Brits were outraged earlier this year when the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed that the imposition of Sharia Law was inevitable. I suspect that those who have noticed and bemoaned Britain’s lax attitude toward Islamic extremism in their midst will have a similar reaction to this latest revelation.
I’d like to think Gordon Brown would have something to say about the unprecedented parallel legal system that emerged on his watch. Then again, that might be expecting too much from a Labour Prime Minister who refuses to identify his nation’s enemy and can’t even hold Glasgow East.