Tuesday, February 12, 2008

All in the family

What has British experience with Sharia in family law been so far? Is it ok to allow marriages by telephone? What about polygamy? Can there be kissing cousins? And looking further afield, are you safe from Sharia in the grave? I look at the question at Pajamas Media. Here's an excerpt:

Sharia law may intrude upon family matters even beyond the grave. The China Post reports how an ethnic Chinese man is “battling Malaysian authorities who snatched the body of his father after saying he had embraced Islam before he died”. His father was “buried as Muslim after an Islamic Sharia court in Negeri Sembilan ruled that the man converted to Islam” in 2007. But his family says this is impossible since the deceased had been paralyzed from a stroke and unable to speak since 2006. Authorities nevertheless claimed he had made a deathbed declaration in Arabic and referenced conversion papers which the relatives say are unsigned. A civil court rejected the family bid to declare Gan a Buddhist, saying it had no jurisdiction over Islamic cases. The son protested, “we are not Muslims, why should we go to Sharia court?”

Nothing so nearly touches on the real fabric of society as family law. In his desire for circumspection, Rowan Williams may have accidentally focused on the most sensitive issues of all. By highlighting the changes to the family life British society would have to accept to "get along" he has accidentally put the spotlight where differences stand out in greatest contrast.


Blogger Ash said...

"Because, it so happens, that's what I've been saying all along. Until now, mainstream types have been screaming that these suicide bombers prove that every Muslim is insane. Total crap, of course, unless you're also willing to say that the Alamo proved every Texan was insane or the kamikazes prove that every Japanese is wacko. Don't get me wrong, it so happens that MOST Texans and Japs ARE crazy; but it's not being willing to sacrifice your life for the cause that makes them crazy.

I've said lots of times that it's not that hard to get kids to die for the tribe or God or Marx or for that matter, 134th Street if that's their local gang turf. We're the crazy ones, so out of touch with all our own glorious military dead that we think there's something crazy about wanting to go out in a blaze of glory.

It actually scares me when people at coffee break in my office say they "juuuuust caaaaan't understaaaaaaaaaand" the "mentality" of a suicide bomber. I mean, didn't they cheer at that scene in Independence Day when Randy Quaid aims his plane up the ass of the alien ship just as it's about to fire the city-killing beam? Wasn't that supposed to be heroic?

Take a less ridiculous case: since the USAF was totally unprepared to defend the continental US against attack on 9/11, the fighters they scrambled to deal with possible further attacks were sent up with no air-to-air munitions at all. That's a fact. And you can see where it leads. The brass was going to order those pilots to crash their fighters into any commercial jet they concluded might be piloted by a guy with a Koran and a Stanley knife. That would have been a pure suicide mission. And I would have expected the pilots to do it without hesitation. Pilots are ego-crazy, but they're tough. They understand that the job involves dying sometimes."


2/12/2008 08:10:00 AM  
Blogger Peter said...

The Sharia controversy could be used to fracture the influence, or the perception of influence, as the case may be, of the amorphous Muslim leadership in Britain.

Allow individual Muslims to confidentially file a Declaration with British authorities that permits them to opt-out of Sharia. The Declaration would state that that individual did not consent to the authority or jurisdiction of any non-governmental court or judicial authority on any matter covered by British law.

If the opportunity to file the Declaration was widely publicized, and the Declaration itself was simple and could be filed online or very quickly at a large number of different places then I would hope that a large number of Muslims, particularly women, would participate.

The "scholars" would take the bait and start screaming about apostasy and Islamaphobia. And for sure the more visible these cretins become the more Britons will get their backs up about Islam.

2/12/2008 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Here is an article from the Independent, the most left wing British newspaper about "honour" crimes:

"A question of honour: Police say 17,000 women are victims every year" by Brian Brady in the Independent on Sunday, 10 February 2008

Up to 17,000 women in Britain are being subjected to "honour" related violence, including murder, every year, according to police chiefs. And official figures on forced marriages are the tip of the iceberg, says the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). It warns that the number of girls falling victim to forced marriages, kidnappings, sexual assaults, beatings and even murder by relatives intent on upholding the "honour" of their family is up to 35 times higher than official figures suggest.


Women aged 16 to 24 from Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi backgrounds are three times more likely to kill themselves than the national average for women of their age.

The human cost of honour crime was vividly captured in a haunting video message from murdered Banaz Mahmood, who revealed how her own father had tried to kill her after she abandoned her arranged marriage and fell in love with another man. In the grainy message she told how he plied her with brandy – the first time she had ever drunk alcohol – pulled the curtains and asked her to turn around. The 19-year-old fled, but less than a month after making the grainy video on a mobile phone, Banaz was dead. Her naked body was found buried in a yard in Birmingham in 2006, more than 100 miles from her London home. She had been raped and tortured by men hired by her uncle to kill her. Mahmood's father, uncle and one of her killers were sentenced to a total of 60 years in jail for the murder.

And the fatal potential of honour disputes was laid bare last month when a coroner said he was convinced that a Muslim teenager who feared she was being forced into an arranged marriage by her parents had suffered a "vile murder." Ian Smith said the concept of an arranged marriage was "central" to the circumstances leading up to the death of 17-year-old Shafilea Ahmed, whose decomposed body was discovered on the banks of the River Kent at Sedgwick, Cumbria, four years ago. After running away from home in February 2003, Shafilea told housing officers: "My parents are going to send me to Pakistan and I'll be married to someone and left there." The tragic story of the bright teenager who wanted to go to university and study law is far from the only example of the anguish suffered by British teenagers in recent years.

2/12/2008 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

And the fatal potential of honour disputes was laid bare last month when a coroner said he was convinced that a Muslim teenager who feared she was being forced into an arranged marriage by her parents had suffered a "vile murder."

The British spirit is not dead. Anyone who can still use the phrase "a vile murder" still retains a trace of ineradicable Britishness. Which reminds me of a BBC radio broadcast I once heard which described a dismembered body found in a garbage bag along the beach. The announcer said, "the police are ruling out suicide".

2/12/2008 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I've been thinking about this for a couple of days now, and I just can't find a reason for marriage by telephone. Who stands to gain from such a transaction, and why would it be popular?

If a mentally retarded man in Britain marries a woman in Bangladesh, then is her family paying him a dowry? Is it a plot to make it easier for her to immigrate to England if she's already married?

Are these marriages ever consummated, or do backwards man in England and undescribed woman in Bangladesh just stay where they are, as-is, but they can tell all their relatives now that they're married?

If they can marry via phone, then why can't they equally easily marry via e-mail or on an internet chat room? How is it verified that the person at the other end is actually who it's advertised to be, and is there any such thing as a blood test requirement?

I just don't understand, and would greatly appreciate if someone who knows these details would elucidate.

2/12/2008 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

You either have equal protection under the law, or you don't. If you don't you have the law of the strongest. Whoever can be the most violent and intimidating.

2/12/2008 07:26:00 PM  

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