Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Application of Sharia In Britain-rings a Death Bell for a secular British Society.-Article published in Mukto Mona-The Bangla Desh Humanist society.

Do not put Hands of Clock Back : Installation of the Sharia in UK.

Bipin Shroff

Published on October 13, 2008


Britain is known as the cradle of Democracy. The world owes for it to Britain. Now the same country does something which is totally against the very spirit of democracy. Who will save whom? Britain has decided to give Sharia-the Muslim Religion Legal system to have equal status & empowers this system to solve the secular problems of the Muslim society in the nation. The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Williams is the man who has provided the ground for its smooth sailing. The logic & objective behind his arguments are that though Britain has its vibrant legal system, but society is governed by its religious customs & conventions. He has gone to the extent of arguing that it is necessary to create the social cohesion in the nation. There are different social immigrants religious groups like Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians etc who are wedded to their different religions. Their daily non- economic & non- educational lives are governed by their religious customs & conventions. So why not their social & marital disputes be decided by their religious legal codes? They had been evolved throughout the ages. How by giving Sharia the legal powers the British Muslims will be the part of main western culture? He failed to explain that. On the contrary this action will pave the way for creating the Muslim residents areas as 'no go areas'. Their localities (areas) will be ghettoized.

Our discussion is in relation to Muslim Personal Law-particularly the applications of SHARIA- in the life of British Muslim Citizens. Our simple question is; Is there any difference between the Muslim Personal Law Sharia & British Law? What is the difference between the Natural Law or Just Law & Revealed religious law like Sharia? The Natural Law is evolved on the basis of Human needs. Its basic assumption is to create such legal conditions in the society under which the human being can live happily & develop his human potentialities. It provides the congenital climate, atmosphere & the frame of legal structure under which each citizen feels secure, protected & live without any personal whims of the man or the religious dogmas and fatwas. According to Thomas Hobbes the Natural Law is the creation of the people among themselves for their mutual happiness and prosperity. He further argued that the origin and evolution of the natural law by the human beings have brought the human life from the brink of solitary, poor, brutish, short lives to the present human lives. Another important feature of the Natural Law is that it evolves according to the needs of the society. It is dynamic. There are possibilities of changes in the application of Natural Laws. It is impartial and publicly knowable. As for example laws regarding slavery, hours of working for the laborers, voting rights, marriageable age of man and woman, regarding the laws of inheritance, and reformative theory of criminal punishments .we find lot of changes from generations to generations in these laws. Here the law is known as the rule of law not the rule of man. All religious laws are supported by their religious books, customs & conventions. They are considered as sacrosanct and have revealed sanctions. They are the creation of Supernatural authority and or by the prophet himself. So laws like Sharia are not amenable to modifications or amendments. We cannot make any necessary changes according to the needs of the present social order. Sharia had been created by more than one thousand years before according to that age needs. Now if the country like Britain, tries to create conditions favorable for the application of Sharia to its Muslim citizens what will be the future of coming Muslim Generations? Let us see how Sharia punishes its followers for the criminal offences. These crimes are punished by specific penalties, such as death by stoning, lashes, the severing of a hand and head etc. For the crime as adultery the punishment is death by stoning, for the crime as the theft, cutting of the hand, eye for eye, ear for ear, and limb for limb etc. We do not know what compels the liberal country like Britain to go for the Sharia Laws for its Muslim Populations. When the demand or voice comes from the Christian Clergy like the archbishop of Canterbury we smell something serious. There is a world wide demand for the revival of religious faith. Logic of the situation compels us to think that all religious zealots want to reestablish their hegemony over the secular life of their believers. Adoption of the Sharia in Britain will pave the ways for Christians, Hindus and others to demand the same in their democratic nations. Then where they we will lead to the mankind? The legal sanctions to the Sharia Laws will give free way to the Political Islam to do whatever it thinks right. Just like the lesson of our childhood story when the man allows his camel to put its one leg inside the tent because of the shivering outside atmosphere, ultimately the camel throws the man outside the camel takes the possession of the tent. Those who fail to learn the lessons of the history they will commit the same mistake. Let sane voice prevails among the people of the Britain including its Muslim population.

Bipin Shroff, rationalist and humanist writes from GA, USA. He can be reached at bipin_shroff@yahoo.com


Bipin Shroff