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ECHR Judgement Relating to Sharia Law (2003)
ECHR Judgement Summary: "sharia law is incompatible with democracy and human rights"
Source: “Annual Report 2003 of the European Court of Human Rights, Council of Europe”
Noting that the Welfare Party had pledged to set up a regime based on sharia law, the Court found that sharia was incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that “sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it”. According to the Court, it was difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverged from Convention values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervened in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.
Copy of the report from the ECHR website: http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Annual_report_2003_ENG.pdf
Similar Judgement from UK:
This judgement from the House of Lords (acting in a judicial capacity) produced a similar ruling in the UK. This was of more limited scope due to the nature of the case heard.
The fact is however that Shari'a law as it is applied in Lebanon was created by and for men in a male dominated society. The place of the mother in the life of a child under that system is quite different under that law from that which is guaranteed in the Contracting States by article 8 of the Convention read in conjunction with article 14. There is no place in it for equal rights between men and women.
"Sharia law incompatible with human rights legislation, Lords say" https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/oct/23/religion-islam
Reports on Sharia:
This report complements the ruling above from the European Court of Human Rights and provides a small selection of examples about why Sharia Law should not be allowed in Britain.
Another report by One Law For All also highlights the discriminatory nature of Sharia Law and the manner in which it operates within the UK.
Examples of Sharia Law being practiced by various Islamic states.
Abu Dhabi: Woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery (2014)
Sudan: 2nd woman sentenced to death by stoning
Sudan: Amputations carried out by Govt
Pregnant woman sentenced to hang for apostasy
Iran hanging a schoolgirl for 'immoral behaviour'
Iran regime amputates hands of two prisoners
Iran: Unveil machine to amputate fingers of thieves
Iran to gouge out man's eye under literal interpretation of Sharia law http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iran-to-gouge-out-mans-eye-under-literal-interpretation-of-sharia-law-a6957181.html
Nigeria: Sharia Court Sentences Nine to Death for Blasphemy
Another death sentence for blasphemy
Indonesia: Screaming in agony, a woman collapses as she and a man are caned under Sharia law in Indonesia merely for being 'seen in close proximity' to each other without being married
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3377187/Screaming-agony-woman-caned-crowd-close-proxresearch indicates that most Muslims want Sharia lawimity-man-not-married-Indonesian-region-s-sharia-law.html
9 months of sharia racism to black Africans: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/02/mali-jihadis-sharia-black-africans In this case it was a jihai group imposing sharia rather than a state recognised by the UN but there is little difference in outcome for those affected by sharia.
Muslims and Their Relationship to Sharia Law
Despite the above research indicates that a majority of Muslims desire Sharia law ( http://www.pewforum.org/2013/04/30/the-worlds-muslims-religion-politics-society-exec/) and at least 40% of Muslims in the UK want Sharia Law.
One claim that is often made is that many Muslims do not support some or all of the harsher aspects of Sharia law and there are certainly a few voices raised against aspects of Sharia. However, in common with all legal systems, Sharia law isn't a 'pick and mix' system so until there is a mass movement by all the major Islamic sects to change Sharia such claims need to be treated with extreme caution. Whilst there are claims that hudud punishments (stoning, amputation etc) "are an embarrassment to the many Muslims who consider them barbaric" there is little in the way of mass protest against them from the Islamic community. This may well be because as Tariq Ramandan says, most Islamic scholars "are of the opinion that these penalties are on the whole Islamic [because of textual references]...".
So when Ramadan called for a moratorium on corporal punishment, stoning and the death penalty in the Islamic world in 2005, some non-Muslims criticised him for not going further. Why didn't he say the hudud laws should just be discarded or repealed?
He explained this by pointing out that most of the authorities "are of the opinion that these penalties are on the whole Islamic [because of textual references] but that the conditions under which they should be implemented are nearly impossible to re-establish.
To my mind, relying on 'conditions not being right' is an extremely flimsy line of defence against the barbarities of Sharia law as conditions can change. Also as the examples above and below indicate the 'conditions aren't right' line seems a little hollow gven that two more Islamic states are moving towards implementing Sharia law to join those already implementing it. The examples above also didn't include Saudi Arabia and given that they implement a very strict version of Sharia and are major financiers of mosques and madrassa around the world, the prognosis seems a great deal less rosy than Ramadan implies. Either the governments implementing Sharia law are foisting it on unwilling Muslim populations or the PEW Foundation research is broadly correct and a majority of Muslims do desire to live under Sharia law. Given the lack of protests against Sharia from Muslim communities around the world, it would seem those communities at best accept Sharia law and Ramadan's claim that many Muslims find them an embarrassment is based on shaky foundations. In my opinion, any embarrassment is more related to the damage being done to the reputation of Islam than the punishments themselves.
As this article says we ignore the small battles at our peril.
The real problem, I think, is the way moderates both here and in Pakistan tolerate the "smaller" stuff. You know, the way that we turn a blind eye to young girls being "pushed" into marriages they don't really want; the way that "cultural differences" are invoked to legitimise the burka. These little retreats may seem tolerant and enlightened, a way of embracing people who hold different views; a classic liberal fudge. But they are nothing of the sort. They embolden and shore up fundamentalism.
You want to know the true meaning of fundamentalism? The 2008 Iranian Penal Code mandated that the stones used to kill adulterers should "not be large enough to kill the person by one or two strikes — nor should they be so small that they could not be defined as stones". You see the point, here? Too big and the victim might die too quickly. Too small, and you might waste an entire day completing a capital punishment. Iran has recently claimed to have dropped its fetish for stoning, but it still goes on in enclaves around the world committed to Sharia.
Islam in Europe:
These are a few examples of the attitudes that exist amongst Muslims in Europe:
TV 2 reveals Danish imam: Teaches Muslims stoning and flogging: Note the change between what is said for public consumption by non-Muslims and the private teachings.
For rolling cameras says the chairman of the mosque Grimhøjvej in Aarhus that the mosque meets all Danish rules and encourages its Muslim guests to take an active part in society.
But now TV 2 using hidden camera to document how the Danish imam from the mosque on Grimhøjvej in Aarhus, teach Muslims about the Islamic rules of stoning and flogging.
http://nyheder.tv2.dk/samfund/2016-02-28-tv-2-afsloerer-dansk-imam-underviser-muslimer-om-stening-og-pisk (You will need to use Google translate or similar unless you speak Danish)
So far as is known, no criminal prosections for hate speech have followed in the UK for any of the above. Only OFCOM has acted for the breach of broadcasting rules but it is believed the channels are all still broadcasting. This contrasts sharply with the prosecution and jailing of people leaving bacon near mosques.
Overall, the desire in the Islamic world for changes to Sharia law seems to be sadly lacking and if anything, the momentum is in the opposite direction with both Brunei and the Malaysian state of Kelantan moving to implement Sharia law in the face of international outrage. There seem to be no reports of Muslims protesting against Sharia law being pushed through in these places.
- Malaysia Shariah Law: Islamist Party Passes Bill To Implement Harsh Islamic Criminal Punishments: http://www.ibtimes.com/malaysia-shariah-law-islamist-party-passes-bill-implement-harsh-islamic-criminal-1852948
- Brunei adopts sharia – international outcry: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/01/world/asia/brunei-sharia-law/
The 57 states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation also signed up to the Cairo Declaration basing their version of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR) on Sharia law. The way that the Cairo Declaration subverts the intentions of the UNDHR ha been exposed by an organisation of ex-Muslims in this document:
How Sharia Law is Applied in the UK
Dutch researcher finds Sharia 'courts' in the UK treat women as 2nd class citizens: http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/islam/women-treated-as-second-class-citizens-by-sharia-courts
This is the conclusion of a four year study into Sharia courts in the UK by an expert in Islam who is also a Muslim.
THE Islamic law propagated by some sharia courts in the UK is more antiquated and extreme than in parts of Pakistan, according to a new book that claims they are prepared to condone wife-beating, ignore marital rape and allow a father to annul his daughter’s marriage if he dislikes her choice of groom.
High Profile British Imam Praises Muslim Who Murdered Pro-Christian Politician: http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/03/03/popular-british-imam-praises-the-murderer-of-a-christian/
Further aspects relating to sharia can be found at: http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/CLIN_2003_02_50_ENG_815402.pdf and Islamic Bulletin site.
This judgement upheld a ban by Turkey in the 1990s on a political party that wanted to make Sharia law official Turkish law.
ECHR judgement summary in other languages (via Google translate):
Relevant qu’en l’espèce le Parti de la Prospérité s’était notamment donné pour but d’instaurer un régime basé sur la charia, la Cour a estimé que celle-ci était incompatible avec les principes fondamentaux de la démocratie, tels qu’ils résultent de la Convention. En effet, « la charia, reflétant fidèlement les dogmes et les règles divines édictés par la religion, présente un caractère stable et invariable. Lui sont étrangers des principes tels que le pluralisme dans la participation politique ou l’évolution incessante des libertés publiques ». D’après la Cour, « il est difficile à la fois de se déclarer respectueux de la démocratie et des droits de l’homme et de soutenir un régime fondé sur la charia, qui se démarque nettement des valeurs de la Convention, notamment eu égard à ses règles de droit pénal et de procédure pénale, à la place qu’il réserve aux femmes dans l’ordre juridique et à son intervention dans tous les domaines de la vie privée et publique conformément aux normes religieuses.
Erop wijzend dat de Welfare partij had beloofd om het opzetten van een regeling op basis van de sharia, de Rekenkamer vast dat de sharia onverenigbaar is met de fundamentele beginselen van de democratie, zoals uiteengezet in het verdrag. Geoordeeld dat "sharia, die getrouw weerspiegelt de door religie vastgelegd dogma's en goddelijke regels, is stabiel en onveranderlijk. Beginselen, zoals het pluralisme in de politieke sfeer en de constante evolutie van de openbare vrijheden hebben geen plaats in it ". Volgens het Hof, was het moeilijk om zijn respect voor de democratie en de mensenrechten te verklaren, terwijl op hetzelfde moment ter ondersteuning van een regeling op basis van de sharia, die duidelijk afweken van Convention waarden, met name wat betreft zijn strafrecht en strafprocesrecht, zijn regels inzake de rechtspositie van vrouwen en de manier waarop het ingegrepen op alle gebieden van private en publieke leven in overeenstemming met de religieuze voorschriften.
Angesichts der Tatsache, dass die Wohlfahrtspartei sich verpflichtet hatte, ein auf dem Scharia-Recht basierendes Regime zu schaffen, stellte der Gerichtshof fest, dass die Scharia mit den in der Konvention festgelegten Grundprinzipien der Demokratie unvereinbar war. Es betrachtete, dass "die Scharia, die die Dogmen und göttlichen Regeln, die durch die Religion festgelegt sind, treu widerspiegelt, stabil und unveränderlich ist. Grundsätze wie der Pluralismus im politischen Bereich oder die ständige Entwicklung der öffentlichen Freiheiten haben keinen Platz in ihm. " Nach Ansicht des Gerichtshofs war es schwierig, die Achtung der Demokratie und der Menschenrechte zu erklären und gleichzeitig eine auf Scharia basierende Regelung zu unterstützen, die eindeutig von den Konventionswerten abwich, insbesondere im Hinblick auf ihr Strafrecht und ihr Strafverfahren Die Rechtsstellung der Frauen und die Art und Weise, wie sie nach religiösen Vorschriften in allen Bereichen des privaten und öffentlichen Lebens eingriff.