British Sharia tribunals gain new powers

LONDON, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The British government has quietly allowed the decisions of a network of advisory Muslim courts to be legally enforced, The Sunday Times of London reported.

Until recently, the courts, which rule according to Sharia law, depended on voluntary compliance among British Muslims. But now the government is allowing their decisions to be enforced through county courts or High Courts, the newspaper said without naming sources.


It reported Sharia courts with the new powers have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester, with two more courts planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Muslim courts had been classified as arbitration tribunals with decisions binding in law only if both parties in a dispute agree to give it the power to rule.

Conservative Member of Parliament Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, told The Sunday Times: "If it is true that these tribunals are passing binding decisions in the areas of family and criminal law, I would like to know which courts are enforcing them because I would consider such action unlawful. British law is absolute and must remain so."

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