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Sharia is the word for the moral and religious code, as well as the legal code, for those who follow the Islamic faith.
Sharia deals with several topics which are addressed by secular law; these include crime, politics, and economics. Sharia also governs personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, everyday etiquette and fasting.
Though interpretations of sharia vary between cultures, in its strictest and most historically coherent definition it is considered the infallible law of God as opposed to the human interpretation of the laws.
Sharia is derived from a variety of sources including the Koran (the Islamic holy book), the ahadith (the sayings and actions of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed), consensus among scholars, and Islamic jurisprudence. There are several different 'schools' of Islamic law and some variety of interpretation; however on many major issues such as those addressed here there are points of uniformity.
Sharia legal procedures differ dramatically from western processes in that the use of lawyers is not common, and decisions are made by a judge only there is no jury system. The law of evidence is also vastly different from what we are used to in the west. Oral testimony is prioritised in terms of evidence and the testimony of witnesses is afforded different legal weight for example a man's testimony is worth more than a woman's, and a Muslim's testimony is worth more than that of a non-Muslim.
Sharia Watch UK is not concerned with the personal and private elements of sharia, which all people have a right to practice provided they do not break the law. We are concerned only with the criminal and political elements of sharia law, and we aim to inform the reader of what these are and how they are currently manifested in Britain.
Sharia Watch UK is an organisation concerned with the elements of sharia law which are discriminatory and violent, particularly towards women and girls, and which endanger and threaten the democratic principle of freedom of speech. We are also deeply concerned about the attitude towards non-Muslims, Jews and others that is enshrined in sharia law and expressed through notions of Islamic supremacism. The Council of Europe have stated: "non-Muslims do not have the same rights as Muslims in civil and criminal [sharia] law, which is discrimination on the ground of religion within the meaning of Article 14 of the Convention."
We aim to demonstrate that sharia law is being utilised in Britain in ways that are deeply damaging to women's rights and the rights of children. We further aim to demonstrate that sharia-adherent restrictions on free speech have been mainstreamed in the UK and the threat that this poses.
Finally, Sharia Watch UK will highlight and examine organisations in the UK which are promoting and extending the power of sharia law in Britain.
The areas of greatest concern with regard to sharia law are:
Other areas of concern:
Sharia Watch UK will seek to document the advancement of sharia law in Britain, the methods by which this advancement occurs, and the groups and organisations which promote it.