Sky News Debate – 2nd November 2016
Gita Saghal, Secularist and Feminist campaigner, honorary associate of the National Secular Society, and Director of Centre for Secular Space
Abdullah al Andalusi, international speaker and debater, and co-founder of the Muslim Debate Initiative
The video of my appearance on Sky News to debate the topic of the recent UK government ‘Sharia Courts’ reviews, with Secular campaigner Gita Saghal (Director of Centre for a Secular Space).
Predictably, Gita argued that Sharia ‘courts’ were a parallel legal system that disadvantages women. I argued that they were not ‘courts’, nor did they disadvantage any women (any more than any applied legal system has). Furthermore, Sharia Councils are just places where women can seek advice and help with their divorces – but these councils and tribunals have no legal powers. English courts are under no obligation to enforce a ruling by these tribunals if they believe them to be unfair (1996 Arbitration Act, Section 33). I re-iterated the contentions by many organisations and individuals, that this selective spotlight on Sharia councils is demonising the Muslim community and Islam. Furthermore, it is ironic that the supposedly ‘neutral’ secular UK government is attempting to regulate and control the private religious life of a faith based community.
The highlighting of Sharia Councils by the UK government, and no other religious bodies has been a cause for concern that Islam is, once again, being singled out for discrimination due to fear and hysteria by the media and politicians.
See video in link below: