On 23rd March 2015 the Home Secretary set out plans to tackle Islamic extremism “head on” including the impact of Sharia which promotes gender discrimination. Included in today’s announcement was a commitment to launch an independent review of Sharia courts in England and Wales
To coincide with this speech, the Bow Group has published an authoritative report that casts new light on the suffering of Muslim women in the UK and addresses the emergence of a rapidly developing alternative quasi-legal system, which not only promotes systematic gender discrimination, but also undermines the fundamental principle of one law for all.
Authored by Baroness Caroline Cox, one of the leading defenders of women’s rights in the UK, the report criticises the Home Secretary’s pledge for an independent review of Sharia Courts, calling for a more “coherent” approach that includes any review to be judge-led. Citing a previous 2011 inquiry conducted by the Ministry of Justice into Sharia court which fell at the first hurdle due to limited response and engagement from Sharia courts, Cox has stated that “without powers to subpoena witnesses, any independent review – no matter how well intentioned – will be another lost opportunity. It is with this in mind that I am calling on the Government to launch a judge-led inquiry into the matter.”
The announcement comes on the same day that the Government confirmed the publication of its long-awaited review in to the Muslim Brotherhood, known as the Jenkins Review, will now not be published until after the general election.