In the meantime, here are two links, one to an article in the Harrow Observer and one to a posting on Harry's Place, a left-leaning blog with which I often find myself in agreement. (Shum mishtake shurely.)
The article focuses on the work of a lady I admire greatly, Tehmina Kazi, who is Director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy. (Yes, indeed, I do know her.) She has, as the newspaper points out, been advising Baroness Cox and campaigning to make the Bill better understood in the Muslim community.
Ms Kazi claims the controversial bill, which has been opposed by some parts of the Muslim community, would give Muslim women greater clarification on their rights.
Ms Kazi, a law graduate of the London School of Economics, said: “There is a gap in the system for Muslim women due to the prevalence of Sharia councils.
“They don’t have any legal power and are completely informal so very hard to regulate and they rule on things such as divorce in Muslim communities. We want to educate women so they know what their rights are.”
The campaigner said she is concerned about the number of women who don’t have marriages registered under civil law as some Muslims have the religious ceremony of Nikah, which is not valid as a legal marriage under UK law, therefore don’t have the same legal rights if the couple decides to separate.At the heart of the Bill is the need to make it legally clear that Arbitration Tribunals are not law courts, that there is only one legal system in this country and that an alternative system, which discriminates against women must not be allowed to exist, let alone flourish.
Harry's Place has an interesting and coldly angry discussion of what sort of people run Sharia courts in real life. No point in quoting because the whole of it is important and worth reading. It is not very long. At the end it, too, refers to the Bill and Tehmina Kazi's work. The author of the posting was very quick off the mark after the article in the Harrow Observer.