More stuff and nonsense about Creeping Sharia

BF ShariaBritain First are at it again. Upstanding citizens like Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen, apparently tired of their High Court appearances and the seemingly endless injunctions and Section 12 notices served against them have decided to become all law-abiding instead. That’ll make a nice change.

In keeping with their new-found respect for existing British law they’ve rekindled one of their old hatreds. They learned to rant about this particular emotive cash cow during their EDL days when fears about ‘creeping Sharia’ were as rife amongst the legislatively illiterate as they evidently are today. We’re sure it’s still good for a few quid and Golding and Fransen will certainly be happy to fleece their supporters for a bit more cash by pretending to defend this nation’s law against the invading Moose Limbs. There’s just one problem – it’s all bollocks.

What we’ve come to know as Sharia ‘courts’ are in reality nothing more than religious arbitration councils. This country operates a range of arbitration services which, with the consent of all involved can acquire a legally binding status in exactly the same way that other forms of contract have binding status.

EBF BF Sharia factcheck 1

They’re no different from organisations like ACAS or industrial tribunals in that respect. They don’t deal with matters of criminal law (because criminal cases are about affronts to the state). They only deal with civil matters and they do so with consent. Not that Britain First’s followers are interested in such trivial details…

BF Sharia comments criminal

We read in the same fact-checking article…

“Law versus reality

The last government has said that it doesn’t think that changes are needed to mediation or arbitration, or to regulate Sharia councils. From a purely legal perspective, the courts have the powers they need to protect people from coercion and unequal treatment.”

https://fullfact.org/law/uk_sharia_courts-39429

The Biffers have their own ideas though…

BF Sharia comments felony

We agree. Operating an illegal court would be a felony. However…

Religious arbitration is perfectly legal here in UK, just like any other form of arbitration. Not that the Biffers have noticed…

BF Sharia comments illegal

There are concerns that religious courts, including Sharia courts may be coercive.

“But campaigners like Baroness Cox reply that whatever about the strict legal position, “the power of Sharia councils lies in how they are perceived by their communities”

https://fullfact.org/law/uk_sharia_courts-39429

That seems a legitimate enough issue to us. But it doesn’t mean that Sharia should be singled out for special hatred whilst their Jewish and Christian counterparts are ignored – unless of course there’s some sort of anti-Islamic bias motivating Golding and Fransen. Surely not!

Some of the Biffers still seem to think that the British legal system is based upon Christianity.

BF Sharia comments Christian based law

The law is very clear but for the hard of understanding one of the country’s senior Law Lords, Lord Justice Mumby laid it out as follows…

“However, it is important to realise that reliance upon religious belief, however conscientious the belief and however ancient and respectable the religion, can never of itself immunise the believer from the reach of the secular law. And invocation of religious belief does not necessarily provide a defence to what is otherwise a valid claim.”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2011/feb/28/christianity-gay-rights-english-law

Christian Barrister, Paul Diamond agreed, possibly (but not necessarily) through gritted teeth…

“Some cultural beliefs and practices are simply treated by the law as being beyond the pale. Some manifestations of religious practice will be regulated if contrary to a child’s welfare. One example is the belief that the infliction of corporal punishment is an integral part of the teaching and education of children and is efficacious … And some aspects of mainstream religious belief may even fall foul of public policy. A recent striking example is Westminster City Council v C and others [2008] EWCA Civ 198, [2009] Fam 11, where the Court of Appeal held on grounds of public policy that a ‘marriage’ valid under both Sharia law and the lex loci celebrationis despite the manifest incapacity of one of the parties was not entitled to recognition in English law”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2011/feb/28/christianity-gay-rights-english-law

Even the Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton has weighed in on the side of common sense …

“The individual conscience is free to accept such dictated law, but the State, if its people are to be free, has the burdensome duty of thinking for itself.”

“So it is that the law must firmly safeguard the right to hold and express religious beliefs. Equally firmly, it must eschew any protection of such a belief’s content in the name only of its religious credentials. Both principles are necessary conditions of a free and rational regime.”

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2011/feb/28/christianity-gay-rights-english-law

The foam fest continues unabated over at Biffer towers.

BF Sharia comments illegal in UK

One Biffer has identified a solution though…

BF Sharia comments problem solved

Phew! We’re glad that’s sorted out!

Sharia courts are not only legal in the UK, they are also subject to the law and have no place in the administration of criminal matters. Criminal matters like inciting violence or stirring up religious hatred for example.

BF Sharia comments maggotts filth

To put it another way – they cannot mete out the kinds of punishments regularly claimed by the likes of Golding and Fransen. They only have a role at all in civil cases where both parties actively choose and agree to pursue the Sharia route. If even a single participant refuses to abide by the Sharia ‘court’ the case automatically moves on to the civil courts or some other form of arbitration. We might almost forgive Golding for his lack of legal understanding but Fransen, who claims to have a law degree really should understand this basic (and obvious) fact. Perhaps she’d be kind enough to put some of her followers straight.

BF Sharia comments no other religion does this

Erm…

The legal basis of British Sharia courts is no different from that of their British Christian and British Jewish counterparts.

EBF Beth Din law Jewish court

Much the same can be said for Christian ‘courts’ which also operate within UK and have done for centuries alongside both their Jewish and Islamic equivalents. In each case, criminal matters are referred to the secular courts because, as we reported above, no British religious tribunal has any jurisdiction in criminal matters.

The Assemblies of God (AOG) operates its own Christian arbitration ‘courts’ too – and it does so along very similair lines. Perhaps someone should tell the vociferous (and extremely silly) biffer who left this next comment.

BF Sharia comments Christian law

Perhaps we’re being a little too hard on poor old Kipmutai though. The real blame lies with Fransen and Golding who continue to mislead their followers, presumably as a result of the Dynamic Duo’s remarkably inadequate legal awareness.

The following describes how the AOG ‘courts’ operate (albeit taken from an American branch of the AOG ‘family’)…

http://www.gate-way-fellowship.com/about-us/bylaws/article-xiv-arbitration-of-disputes.html

“Inasmuch as the Scriptures require Christians to take their disputes to the saints and not to the civil courts (1 Corinthians 6:1-8), all disputes which may arise (1) between any member of this church and the church itself, or (2) between any member of this church and any pastor, officer, director, employee, volunteer, or other worker of this church, shall be resolved by binding arbitration if efforts to mediate or conciliate the dispute have failed…

All arbitrators must be born-again, Spirit-filled believers who are members of an Assemblies of God church…

The arbitrators may hear and determine the controversy upon the evidence produced notwithstanding the failure of a party duly notified to appear. The parties are entitled to be heard, to present evidence material to the controversy, and to cross-examine witnesses appearing at the hearing. The hearing shall be conducted by all the arbitrators, but a majority of them may determine any question and render a final award…

The arbitrators may in their absolute discretion admit as evidence any affidavit or declaration concerning the matters in dispute, a copy thereof having been given at least 5 days previously to the party against whom the same is offered, but the person whose evidence is so taken shall be subject to cross-examination by such party. The arbitrators shall have the power to order and direct what they shall deem necessary to be done by either of the parties relating to the matters in dispute. Cost of the arbitration shall be determined and assessed by the arbitrators…

The decision of the arbitrators shall be binding on both parties, and both parties submit themselves to the personal jurisdiction of the civil courts in this state (including federal courts), as well as the courts of any other state which may have jurisdiction over any dispute contemplated by this Article, for the entry of a judgment confirming the arbitrators’ award. The arbitration process is not a substitute for any disciplinary process set forth in the constitution or bylaws of the church, and shall in no way affect the authority of the church to investigate reports of misconduct, conduct hearings, or administer discipline.”

You can find your nearest UK AOG church here…

http://www.aog.org.uk/

We think that Golding and Fransen would have more credibility (despite their obvious naivety about how the law actually works) if they were a little more even-handed. They can object to religious arbitration systems if they wish. They can even describe them as ‘courts’ if that makes them happy. But it’s clearly unfair, inappropriate and partisan to single out only Muslim organisations as the objects of their displeasure.

We wonder how long it’ll be before they object to Christian and Beth Din ‘courts’.

Don’t hold your breath!

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