Sharia ‘Courts’: Why regulation is not the answer

‘Sharia’ and other religious systems of arbitration are back in the news once again. There appears to be growing recognition of the profoundly discriminatory nature of religious arbitration systems which relegate Muslim and other minority women to second rate systems of justice. But is regulation the answer?

A close examination of the workings of ‘Sharia’ Councils and the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal reveal serious failings that flout principles of the rule of law and undermine the rights of women in fundamental ways. These forums use fundamentalist and ultra-conservative definitions of ‘Sharia laws’ in highly selective and authoritarian ways; they seek to impose a social culture of ‘Zina’ which compel women to resolve marital and family disputes using ‘Sharia laws’ or risk becoming social outcastes and worse.

53% rise in “honour” based violence cases reported to the police since the criminalisation of forced marriage

The number of cases of “honour” based violence, forced marriage and FGM reported to the police in the UK has increased by 53% since 2014, IKWRO’s new research shows. The research involved sending Freedom of Information requests to every police force in the country.

The number of cases of “honour” based violence recorded by the police increased from 3335 in 2014 to 5595 in 2015, meaning a spike of 68% in cases in the first year following the introduction of the law criminalising forced marriage. The number of cases dropped slightly to 5105 in 2016.

However, despite significant the rise in reporting since 2014, the volume of cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for a charging decision is the lowest it has been for five years. The latest figures published by the CPS indicate that only 256 cases of “honour” based violence were referred to them by the police in 2016/17, just 5% of the cases reported over a similar time period. The 256 referrals resulted in 215 prosecutions and a subsequent 122 convictions.

Turkey: New Bill has drawn outrage from women’s rights campaigners

A new Bill allowing muftis to authorise civil marriages threatens to
increase child marriage and has drawn outrage from women’s rights
campaigners.

Nominations open for True Honour awards 2018

We are delighted to announce that nominations are now open for our True Honour Awards 2018!

IKWRO will present a True Honour Award to a person or organisation that has taken a stand against “honour” based violence, whether in their personal lives or in their work. By recognising and publicising their outstanding courage and commitment, we hope that we can inspire others to act.

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