söndag 10 februari 2008

Sharia Law for Britain?

Halal butcher in London

I know very little about Sharia Law apart from the fact that some of its provisions sound pretty bloodcurdling. Nor have I studied the Archbishop of Canterbury's statement. I suspect both statements apply to most of those who have rushed to comment on the subject.

A comparison was made with the Jewish religious courts which decide certain matters of family law such as divorce, and can also act as arbitrators in civil disputes.

A civil divorce is not recognised in Jewish law and nor is a Jewish religious divorce recognised in English law. So an orthodox Jewish couple wishing to divorce will first have to obtain a civil divorce and then apply to the Court of the Beth Din for what is known as a Get. The latter is fairly easy to obtain, and the main restriction is that a divorcee must not marry a member of the Cohen (priestly) dynasty. Any children of such an illicit (in Jewish law) marriage are regarded as outcasts from Judaism (Mamzerim).

Civil disputes may be heard before the Jewish rabbinical court but such a proceeding is in the nature of an arbitration held before someone whom both parties agree to abide by their decision.

In no case can the religious court impose a punishment, nor can the religious law over ride English law or do anything contary to it.

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