Islamic Sharia Law Court Opens in Belgium – A really bad move

There is a report, here in the Hudson New York site, about an Islamic Sharia law court that has just been established in Antwerp, the second-largest city in Belgium. They report …

The Sharia court is the initiative of a radical Muslim group called Sharia4Belgium. Leaders of the group say the purpose of the court is to create a parallel Islamic legal system in Belgium in order to challenge the state’s authority as enforcer of the civil law protections guaranteed by the Belgian constitution.

This is a truly insane idea for a lot of reasons.

The Scope of where this is going is unacceptable

They want to impose by force their delusional religious system on other non-believers. That breaches a very basic human right, “Freedom of Thought”.

  • Sharia4Belgium says the court in Antwerp will eventually expand its remit and handle criminal cases as well.
  • The Sharia4Belgium group consists of Islamists who are committed to bring everyone living in Belgium (including all non-Muslims) under the submission of Islamic Sharia law.
  • Sharia4Belgium’s website recently was shut down by the Belgian authorities, a partial archive of the site can be found at the WayBack Machine. There Sharia4Belgium issues an invitation-cum-threat calling for all Belgians to convert to Islam and to submit to Sharia law or face the consequences
  • The group had posted videos with titles like, “Jihad Is Obligatory,” “Encouraging Jihad,” “Duelling & Guerrilla Warfare,” and “The Virtues of Martyrdom.”

Dual Legal systems completely undermine the state

  • Unlike Belgian civil law, Islamic Sharia law does not guarantee equal rights for men and women
  • It will undermine the rights of Muslim women in marriage and education.
  • In Belgium, those convicted of forcing someone into marriage by violence or coercion face a prison sentence of up to two years and a fine of up to €2,500 ($3,500). This law is likely to be undermined as Muslim marriage disputes come under the jurisdiction of the Sharia court.

Who gets to determine what Sharia actually is?

  • Who vets and appoints Sharia judges? – Apparently they are self-appointed.
  • What exactly is Sharia? – All Muslims agree it is God’s law, but there is no consensus as to what that actually is, so who gets to decide? Modernists, traditionalists and fundamentalists all hold different views of Sharia, as do adherents to different schools of Islamic thought and scholarship. Different countries and cultures have varying interpretations of Sharia as well.
  • You do not get to vote for representatives to create and reform law, sharia is deemed to be beyond criticism and is what the clerics say it is.

What is wrong with Sharia?

Is this just Belgium? Nope …

Sharia4Belgium is linked to Anjem Choudary, a Sharia court judge based in London. Choudary, who was the leader of a group called Islam4UK before it was banned by British anti-terrorism authorities, believes in the primacy of Islam over all other faiths and has long campaigned for Islamic law to be implemented in all of Britain.

Choudary is also a leader of the British Islamic Emirates Project, a campaign to turn twelve British cities – including what he calls “Londonistan” – into independent Islamic states. The so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence.

The guardians of European multiculturalism say Choudary is harmless and, in any event, does not represent the majority of Muslims living in Europe. But he has a considerable following in Britain and elsewhere, and his views on the role of Sharia in Britain are far more popular than many will admit.

For example, at least 85 Islamic Sharia courts are now operating in Britain, almost 20 times as many as previously believed, according to a study by Civitas, a London-based think tank. The report shows that scores of unofficial tribunals and councils regularly apply Islamic law to resolve domestic, marital and business disputes, and that many Sharia courts are operating in mosques. It warns of a “creeping” acceptance of Sharia principles in British law.

So seriously now, does any truly rational person think that a separate legal system with serious moral flaws based upon a 7th Century religious text is a really good idea?

In reality, the vision of total Sharia is not going to happen … ever. There will of course be an ongoing degree of freedom granted to Islamic believers to do whatever they wish, but I’m arguing that even that is not acceptable because it becomes a tool deployed by fanatics to control and manipulate all the moderate decent honourable Muslims who simply wish to live in peace and operate within the legal framework of the countries they reside in. They are the true victims here and so national governments must step in, protect its citizens,  and not permit religious fanaticism to operate outside the law and exploit the innocent.

In the words of the CEMB, we must demand and insist upon the following …

  1. Universal rights and equal citizenship for all. We must oppose cultural relativism and the tolerance of inhuman beliefs, discrimination and abuse in the name of respecting religion or culture.
  2. Freedom to criticise religion. Prohibition of restrictions on unconditional freedom of criticism and expression using so-called religious ‘sanctities’.
  3. Freedom of religion and atheism.
  4. Separation of religion from the state and legal and educational system.
  5. Prohibition of religious customs, rules, ceremonies or activities that are incompatible with or infringe people’s rights and freedoms.
  6. Abolition of all restrictive and repressive cultural and religious customs which hinder and contradict woman’s independence, free will and equality. Prohibition of segregation of sexes.
  7. Prohibition of interference by any authority, family members or relatives, or official authorities in the private lives of women and men and their personal, emotional and sexual relationships and sexuality.
  8. Protection of children from manipulation and abuse by religion and religious institutions.
  9. Prohibition of any kind of financial, material or moral support by the state or state institutions to religion and religious activities and institutions.
  10. Prohibition of all forms of religious intimidation and threats.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)


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