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Khan, Ayesha

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The Guardian - United Kingdom | 11/02/2008

The sharia law debate rages on in Great Britain

"The blizzard of controversy that has attended the Archbishop of Canterbury's remarks about the 'inevitability' of parts of Islamic law being introduced in Britain has thrown a rare spotlight on this country's existing sharia councils", writes journalist Ayesha Khan. "The erroneous caricature of sharia as synonymous with stoning or flogging is a million miles from the reality in Britain. The councils' judgments have no statutory basis in law, with participants abiding by rulings voluntarily, and the vast majority of cases concern relatively unremarkable divorce applications. ... The process of female divorce (khula) women go through can seem unfair. ... And yet for all that, a great number of women who feel religiously or culturally inclined still prefer a religious divorce to a civil one. Indeed, to outlaw the sharia process would make it nigh on impossible for some women to get a divorce of any kind whatsoever."

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