Skip to main content

Nehru's niece Nayantara Sahgal joins UK women to protest "discriminatory" review of Sharia courts in Britain

By Our Representative
Women's rights campaigners, not just of Britain but also US, Canada, western European countries, Egypt, Turkey, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, have written a strongly-worded open letter to the country’s Home Secretary raising serious concerns about the government's independent review into “discriminatory” Sharia courts in Britain.
The letter accused the independent review of having “limited scope” because of its “inappropriate theological approach”, adding, it would do nothing to address the discriminatory effect and intent of the courts on private and family matters.
Those who have signed the letter from India include Jawaharlal Nehru’s niece Nayantara Sahgal, a well-known writer and campaigner for secularism, who shot into prominence following her decision to return the Sahitya Akademi Award in protest against the NDA government’s failure to safeguard cultural diversity. Others from India are Bader Sayeed, founder-president of Roshni; Hasina Khan, feminist activist of Bebaak Collective; Kuljit Kaur, Women’s Rights Campaigner; Madhu Mehra, Partners for Law in Development; and the organization Partners for Law in Development.
The letter was organized by UK-based activists Pragna Patel of the Southall Black Sisters, Gina Khan and Maryam Namazie or the One Law for All, and Gita Sahgal of the (Centre for Secular Space.
The letter states that, rather than taking a human rights approach, the UK government has constituted a panel and terms of reference more suited to a discussion in theology than one which serves the needs of victims whose human rights are violated.
The letter states that by making these religious appointments, the government has lost a vital opportunity to examine the discriminatory nature of not only Sharia bodies but all forms of religious arbitration fora including the Batei Din.
Giving examples, Nizamie says in an email alert, “The panel chair, Mona Siddiqui is herself a theologian. One of the scholars, Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi, is the joint secretary for Majlis Ulama-e-Shia, which sends delegations to the Islamic Republic of Iran. In his sermons, he has supported the death penalty in Islamic states, advised Muslims to go into government “and change the system” and says women dressed in "tight clothing" are "corrupted".”
Then, she says, there is Qari Muhammad Asim, who speaks of "men retain[ing] their wives in marriage" and sees women in relation to their male guardian: "Each women is someone’s mother, daughter, sister or wife". He also trivialises violence against women by saying "women as well as men can be victims of domestic abuse".
“Both the scholars advising the panel are on Imams Online”, the Nizamie says, adding, “Khola Hasan, a judge at the Islamic Sharia Council, is a contributing editor to Imam Online. Clearly, Imams and Islamic scholars cannot investigate themselves” (click HERE to see video).
Referring to "Women and Sharia Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism in the UK" by Elham Manea published in May 2016, Nizamie says, it documents the “harmful” and “life threatening” consequences for vulnerable minority women in matters pertaining to the family.
“Testimonials gathered by campaigners highlight some of the emotional, mental and physical effects of the courts on women and children”, she adds.
The letter seeks to establish a thorough and impartial judge-led human rights investigation, which will fully examine arbitration in family matters, and whether violations of human rights are condoned or even promoted by Sharia bodies.
The violation of human rights being condoned, Nizamie says, include women's testimony being worth half that of a man's, marital rape, sexual violence and domestic abuse, the age of consent, guardianship, forced marriage, honour based violence, ritual abuse, child custody and child protection, polygamy, divorce, sexuality, inheritance, inter-religious relationships, female dress codes and abortion.
The letter says, “Broader issues such as the treatment of religious minorities including minority sects in Islam and decisions pertaining to apostasy and blasphemy must also be examined to understand the full range of threats faced by people affected by religious laws, and indeed, by the State promoting these laws.”
It adds, “The law and not religion is the key basis for securing justice for all citizens. Campaigners urge the government to do the right thing and ensure that the same principles of human rights, equality before the law, duty of care, due diligence and the rule of law are applicable to all British citizens.”

Comments

TRENDING

RSS wanted Constitution 'replaced' by Manusmriti which abused Dalits, women

By Shamsul Islam* The Constituent Assembly of India finalized the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949 which is celebrated as the Constitution Day This Constitution promised new born Indian Republic a polity based on democracy, justice, egalitarianism and rule of law. However, RSS was greatly annoyed. Four days after the historic event of approval of it, the RSS English “Organiser” in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:

Pending GoI wage payments to rural labour reach Rs 5,100 crore: NREGA Morcha

By Our Representative  MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), which is said to have provided a cushion to millions of rural households amidst great economic distress during the Covid-19 pandemic, continues to be bogged with poor implementation, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has alleged.

Once centres of civilisation, Indian cities turning into 'major cause of concern'

By Soumyadip Chattopadhyay*  Each year, October 31 is celebrated as the World Cities Day. The theme this year was Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience. The Center for Habitat, Urban and Regional Studies, Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi, organized a special lecture on city as environment as part of the discussion under the #WebPolicyTalk series on the State of Cities -- #CityConversations.

Nuclear energy 'can't solve' global warming, will 'strain' financial, natural resource

Counterview Desk  Taking strong exception to Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who has favoured nuclear energy as a solution to global warning, well-known power and policy analyst Shankar Sharma has said that the IAEA chief's “unsubstantiated advocacy” of nuclear power is associated with “diversion of considerable amounts of scarce resources, both financial as well as natural, of many developing countries, such as India.”

Forget 'bheek', by this logic, Gujarat was free of British rule in 1995, 19 yrs before India

The real freedom fighting brigade By Rajiv Shah  Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut may have her own reasons to say that India acquired real freedom in May 2014, when Narendra Modi came to occupy India’s seat of power.  There was little to be amused by what she said, for, as many commentators have variously pointed out, her viewpoint was surely based on her little or no knowledge of the history of the Indian freedom movement.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Learning to bridge 'huge chasm' between highly educated, illiterate, badly literate

By Shrey Ostwal, Sandeep Pandey*  The pivotal point of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s journey to become Mahatma Gandhi began when his “political guru” – Gopal Krishna Gokhale – advised young Mohandas to travel around India. This rigorous journey was essential for Mohandas to understand his country and countrypersons better if he were to fight the inhumane and unempathetic British regime which had been looting India of its glory for about two centuries then.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Farm laws: Modi has been taking decisions without consulting experts, stakeholders

By Ajit Singh* In a surprise move, the Prime Minister of India in a video message that went live on the occasion of Guru Nanak Jayanti announced to scrap three contentious farm laws in the upcoming winter session of Parliament. These laws were notified in September last year but put on hold due to widespread opposition, especially by farmers from Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana.

Modi withdrew farm laws, but has no word on 'pro-corporate, oppressive' policies

Farmers celebrate withdrawal of three laws By Harsh Thakor  Punjab farmers have no doubt won a historic battle in overpowering the farm laws with the support of the working class, students, youth and intellectuals. Noticeably, the non-sectarian approach of the participating organisations, which confronted Hindutva neo-fascism, Sikh separatist politics and Indian and foreign corporate monopoly, helped in enhancing their striking capacity.