Monday, July 05, 2010

Maryam Namazie: What isn't wrong with Sharia law?

From Namazie's editorial in today's The Guardian.
The demand for the abolition of sharia courts in Britain, as elsewhere, is not an attack on people's right to religion; it is a defence of human rights, especially since the imposition of sharia courts is a demand of Islamism to restrict citizens' rights.

Rights, justice, inclusion, equality and respect are for people, not for beliefs and parallel legal systems. To safeguard the rights and freedoms of all those living in Britain, there must be one secular law for all and no religious courts.
Our USAmerican traditions are to be a little more deferential to Religious Customs although we UU's came down hard on polygamy and the Mormons in the 1800s.

Reconciling any Faith's Sharia with a Life of Faith in a modern world seems once a Unitarian, Univeralists, and Liberal Christians goal. Seems we've forsaken that though for fear of coming-down-hard perhaps.


Amy said...

I'm afraid I don't know very much about the scope of sharia courts. If they are like religious courts in the US, then anyone is free to abide by them or refuse to do so, and I can't see a basis for the government's abolishing them. E.g., one can be tried for blasphemy by the Presbyterian Church of the USA, but one can also say "screw this, I'm not going to be a Presbyterian anymore," and leave. Hence, there's no infringement of one's secular freedoms. This is beyond US "tradition"; it comes of our First Amendment, the like of which the UK doesn't have.

But if people are being compelled by force to be judged by a sharia court and then compelled to suffer its penalties, and can't escape it by leaving the religion, then even in the US the courts would not be permissible.

Bill Baar said...

Would a minor be free to abide by Sharia courts in the US?

Amy said...

Minors have a pretty limited freedom of religion in the US: their parents can force them to belong to a particular religion and abide by its practices. However, the courts have stepped in when those practices endanger their health (Christian Science), so the answer to your question is clearly "It depends."

What's terrifying about the UK law (and what I'd have focused on, if I were Namazie, instead of irrelevancies like isolation from one's community) is that it's allowing sharia law to trump secular family courts. That wouldn't fly in US law, for which let us give thanks to the authors of the First Amendment. Though we have our share of Iran-style would-be theocrats . . .