Yes, it’s yet another report on the dangers of “Sharia courts” – this one (“Sharia: a law unto itself?”) in the Sunday Telegraph by Jonathan Wynne-Jones, the paper’s religious affairs correspondent.
Wynne-Jones was given the opportunity to observe the workings of a Sharia council at Birmingham Central Mosque and he interviewed a woman member of the council, Amra Bone. In addition, Sheikh Faiz Siddiqi spoke to Wynne-Jones on the role of Islamic arbitration tribunals in settling commercial disputes. Which you might think would provide the basis for an objective report that would counter the usual anti-Sharia scaremongering. You would of course be wrong. The informed views of two individuals who can provide an insight into the actual operation of “Sharia courts” are predictably outweighed by those of a bunch of ignorant Islamophobes.
So, along with the obligatory reference to the “Sharia controlled zones” publicity stunt by Anjem Choudary’s idiot micro-sect, we are treated to a succession of quotes on the Sharia threat from Michael “no go areas” Nazir-Ali (who opines that the existence of Sharia councils “threatens the fundamental values that underpin our society”); from Geert Wilders fan Baroness Cox (who declares that her objective is to “stop parallel legal, or quasi-legal, systems taking root in our nation”); from right-wing Christian fundamentalist Alan Craig (who complains that “I can no longer walk to my local shops and find anywhere to buy conventional, non-halal meat … The pavements are crowded with women wearing not just the face-veil, but black gloves to hide their hands”); and from that well-known expert on Sharia law, Jim Fitzpatrick MP (who is concerned that Sharia councils “are creating a cultural stranglehold over their communities and leading to the Islamification of our society”).