Are Sharia councils failing vulnerable women?
By Jane Corbin BBC Panorama
Secret filming at Sharia council shows women at risk
BBC Panorama has uncovered fresh evidence of how some Sharia councils in Britain may be putting Muslim women “at risk” by pressuring them to stay in abusive marriages.
In a small terraced house in east London a woman and her husband argue before an Islamic scholar who sits on a dais above them in a room that looks and feels like a court.
This is Leyton Islamic Sharia Council and Dr Suhaib Hasan will decide if the woman can have a divorce. Her husband is refusing to grant her one and the couple have been coming here for a year.
She accuses him of refusing to work, ignoring the children and verbally abusing her. He vehemently denies it. When Dr Hasan orders the husband to leave the room, the woman breaks down in tears.
“I hate him, I can’t even bear to look at him, he has ruined my life,” she sobbed.
Dr Hasan sends the couple away for another month to try and save their marriage, with the help of Allah.
Leyton Islamic Sharia Council is Britain’s oldest and one of the most active Islamic councils, hearing about 50 cases a month, mainly marital disputes. Nine out of 10 are brought by Muslim women from all over the country.
- Panorama: Secrets of Britain’s Sharia Councils will be broadcast on Monday 8 April at 20:30 BST on BBC One
With an Islamic marriage it is far easier for a man to divorce. The only way for women is through these councils.
“We are not here just to issue divorces,” said Dr Hasan.
“We want to mediate first. We try to save marriages so when people come to us we try to reconcile them,” he added.
But Islamic rulings given here are not always in the interests of the women concerned and can run counter to British law.
16 JANUARY 2012, UK
15 DECEMBER 2008, UK
04 JULY 2008, UK
25 OCTOBER 2008, UK
- Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood: Expanding Women’s Rights Would Be A ‘Cultural Invasion of Muslim Countries’. National Council for Women denies allegations that it breaches Islamic Shari’a (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- Islam’s Latest Fatwa Permitting Rape of Non-Muslim Women (pjmedia.com)
- Sharia law already devouring UK – They are trying to take over our countries. Soon there will be blood (upplysningscentralen.wordpress.com)
- Sharia Law Already Devouring UK (angelforisrael.wordpress.com)
- New Fatwa Permits Barbaric Muslims To Brutally Rape Non-Sunni Women In Syria (patdollard.com)
- Gays for Sharia? #p2 (iranaware.com)
- UK: Rape ‘impossible’ in Marriage, says Leading Muslim Cleric (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- Director of CAIR Missouri wants to prosecute Americans who insult Islam…using sharia law (creepingsharia.wordpress.com)