MUSLIM women in Britain are being forced to “live in fear” because of the spread of unofficial and unregulated sharia courts enforcing Islamic rules, the House of Lords was told.
By John Bingham, Religious Affairs Editor
7:00AM BST 20 Oct 2012
Rulings by informal religious “councils” and tribunals are sometimes no more “consensual” than rape, peers were told.
The warnings came in the first ever full Parliamentary debate on the subject in the UK.
Baroness Cox, the independent peer and Third World campaigner, last year tabled a private member’s bill in the Lords setting out plans to rein in a network of unofficial self-styled “courts” which apply Islamic principles.
One study estimated that there are around 85 Sharia bodies operating in Britain, although there is no official estimate.
They include legally recognised arbitration tribunals, set up primarily to resolve financial disputes using Islamic legal principles but which have taken on a wider range of cases.