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British Law and Sharia Law

British Law and Sharia Law

Date Published: 
Sunday, 19 March, 2017
Summary: 

It’s important to talk about the law and to clarify what we mean. If we say “the law” we tend to mean the law of the land. So if I’m in Britain and I say “the law”, I mean British Law, the law that governs Britain.

Upon questioning about the presence of sharia law in the UK, the government response has essentially been that there is no sharia law in the UK. What this means is that because sharia law does not have the weight of state behind it, i.e. the state does not enforce sharia law, there is no sharia law. But there is.

Sharia is not ‘the law’, but it is a set of laws. Sharia law exists in an objective form, as a set of laws, and is adhered to across the world – often imposed by islamic nation states. Just like membership of an association obliges us to obey the laws of that association, sharia law, for many, is to be obeyed in order to be a devout Muslim. Vast numbers of Muslims take that requirement very seriously.

It’s unfair to claim that sharia law is always a choice, for many it isn’t. Apostasy is widely condemned in even the most ‘moderate’ Muslim communities, and people take great risks if they question Islam. But even if sharia was a choice, even if an individual does choose sharia law, should they be able to in the UK? Should that choice be available? The answer has to be no. Sharia, or other sets of laws, should not be available for use if they run contrary to the law of the land.