You are here

ECHR

Author(s):

Summary: 

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.

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”

Summary: 

It is one of the enduring myths of the great liberal delusion that all people aspire to the same values as the values of the Enlightenment. Our ideals, flowing from the Enlightenment, include universal Human Rights and equality for all. So firmly is this ideal built into our psyche that we measure our societal worth by our insistence on pursuing this ideal without exception (barring exceptions, of course). It should not be necessary to point out that these are my ideals, too. I may further add that I hold these ideals to be superior to anything else humanity has hitherto devised.

It is, however, inescapable that Human Rights and equality for all are not ideals that all people share. What is more, significant sections of humanity are actively opposed to them. Indeed, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the ideal of equality for all human beings are so strongly opposed by so many, that no fewer than 45 states signed the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam (CDHRI), adopted in 1990, expressly to challenge the universality of the UDHR, and specifically its applicability to Muslims, and to instead safeguard the pre-mediaeval and inhuman Shari’a as the framework for human relations and interactions. It is neither a slight nor an insult to say that Muslims do not hold to the UDHR as an ideal, on the contrary, it is an affirmation.

Country: 
Belgium
News Date: 
04/12/2017
Summary: 

Volunteers have criticised the Red Cross charity after receiving a communication telling them to remove crucifixes from the walls of their branches as the organisation looks to become more secular. The Belgian branches of the international aid organisation received an email from the Provincial Committee of the Red Cross in Liège to remove all crucifixes. André Rouffart, president of the Red Cross in Verviers, said: “We were asked to respect the principles of the Red Cross”, and not to distinguish between race or religious belief 7sur7 

This letter is intended as a template for people to use to make their views known to HardCash Productions at hardcash@HardCashProductions.com re: their upcoming programme(9th Nov on ITV) which, from the content of this letter,  appears intent on labelling AMW and those who support her as 'far-right' for having concerns about Islam-sharia. I hope people will use this opportunity to make their views known to HardCash Productions and later Ofcom if the programme fails to present the reasons behind our concerns. Note this initiative hasn't been inspired by AMW in any way.

Country: 
European Union
News Date: 
14/10/2017
Summary: 

Legal group Christian Concern has intervened in a case concerning the application of sharia law in Europe. The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights is set to rule on an inheritance case concerning the application of sharia law to a dispute between Greek citizens who are Muslims. The ruling will determine whether sharia law can have supremacy over a member state's domestic law.

Summary: 

Theresa May thinks that Islam is compatible with Human Rights – stated in her speech following the terrorist attack at London Bridge and Borough Market.  Read the transcript.

She criticises those who know they are incompatible, rejecting the clear evidence.  An important purpose of UKIP, beyond Brexit, is to force politicians to stop deceiving us regarding Islam.  Thus we must put in the effort to read the source material and collate the evidence.  Everyone in UKIP should read at least chapter 9 of the Koran, understand the terms “abrogation” and “taqiyya”, and watch the videos and read the writings of scholars such as Robert SpencerAyaan Hirsi Ali, and Douglas Murray.

Source documents are the Koran, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).  The Declaration and the Convention have a similar core set of Articles, however the ECHR addresses an apparent anomaly in the UDHR.  The ECHR has numerous Articles relating to the functioning of the European Court of Human Rights, which are irrelevant for us when we have our own Bill of Rights.

The thirty clauses of the UDHR do embody what we should aspire to, for the whole world.  Below are examples where the Koran is incompatible with it.  This is not a complete list, however it does show the severity of the problem and that Theresa May is utterly mistaken.

UDHR Article 1 states that we should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.  Islam, when it can, subjugates non-believers as second class citizens, who exist in a state of Dhimmitude and pay the Jizya tax as a sign of inferiority.   Koran 9:29.

Article 2 states that everyone is entitled to these rights irrespective of who they are.  Under Islam women are regarded as the property of men, either her father or husband.  The husband determines what she does, and how many children she has.  Koran 2:223.

Article 3.  “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.”  Not in Islam.  Koran 9:5.

Article 4 opposes slavery.  Koran 4:24 allows a Muslim man to keep female captives as sex slaves.  ISIS does so.  Grooming gangs own girls by hooking them on drink and drugs.

Article 5 disallows cruel and inhuman punishment.  Koran 5:33 mandates cutting off hands and feet on opposite sides.

Article 6:  “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.”  Under Sharia Law the testimony of women is half that of a man, with grave miscarriages of justice – a rapist can accuse his victim of seducing him, and he is let off while she may be stoned to death for adultery.

Article 7 states that all are equal before the law.  Sharia Law: the inheritance of a woman is half that of a man.  Koran 4:11  Sharia Councils in the UK have de facto jurisdiction regarding family matters and inheritance, in contravention of Human Rights. They must be abolished.

Article 16: marriage cannot be coercive.  In Muslim community there can be huge pressure to marry.  Marriage between first cousins is explicitly allowed, Koran 33:50, producing thirteen times the cases of recessive genetic disorders compared to the non-Muslim population.  Islam seriously harms Muslims themselves.  UKIP must campaign against this – Marriage between first cousins must be outlawed.

Article 18 states that there must be freedom of religion, and freedom to change religion.  Islam is incompatible, there is the death penalty for apostasy, Koran 4:89Koran 9:11-12, etc..  A Saudi citizen has been sentenced to death for ripping up the Koran.

Article 19 states that we must have freedom of opinion, and freedom to express it.  Islam abjures freedom, witness the fatwa against Salman Rushdie.  Attacks on cartoonists have de facto created the death penalty for blasphemy.  The UK has prevented the scholar Robert Spencer from entering, breaching this Article.

Summary: 

The European Court of Human Rights, in its judgment on Refah Partisi v. Turkey, found it “difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverges 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 intervenes in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.” 

Whilst no Member State of the Council of Europe has formally enacted Sharia rules, informal Islamic tribunals reportedly apply such rules, in particular in the field of private law (e.g. family, inheritance, contracts and torts law) to willing members of Muslim communities in several Member States.

The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam of the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) affirms the validity of the Sharia as guidance for OIC member states in the field of human rights. The Declaration does not recognise equal rights of men and women and of persons with different sexual orientations, limits freedom of expression and of religion only in such a manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Sharia and stipulates that there are no other crimes or punishments than those mentioned in the Sharia. Three States Parties to the European Convention on Human Rights have adhered to the Cairo Declaration.

In view of the above, the Assembly resolves to investigate the compatibility of Sharia law, including its informal application, with the ECHR and the implications for State Parties of adherence to the Cairo Declaration.

Summary: 

2.1. Sharia law

5. For the purposes of this study, it is essential to define Sharia law, its sources, its legal force and its problematic aspects in terms of the European Convention on Human Rights.

6. Sharia law is understood as being ‘the path to be followed’, that is, the ‘law’ to be obeyed by every Muslim. 4 It divides all human action into five categories – what is obligatory, recommended, neutral, disapproved of and prohibited – and takes two forms: a legal ruling (hukm), designed to organise society and deal with everyday situations, and the fatwa, a legal opinion intended to cover a special situation. Sharia law is therefore meant in essence to be positive law enforceable on Muslims. Accordingly, it can be defined as ‘the sacred Law of Islam’, that is, ‘an all-embracing body of religious duties, the totality of Allah’s commands that regulate the life of every Muslim in all its aspects’.

2.1.1. Sources

7. The prescriptions of Sharia law originate in the Qur’an, held to be a work that is ‘perfect and unchangeable’. 6 The Qur’an constitutes the primary source of law and consists of 114 surahs or chapters, themselves divided into 6,219 verses, which are sentences or groups of sentences expressing one or more revealed thoughts. 7 However, an Islamic exegesis (tafsir) of the Qur’an is necessary for abstruse passages, and this has given rise to a number of schools.

8. The Sunna, the traditions and practices of the Prophet, is another original source, relating the religious deeds and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad as narrated by his disciples (Sunni branch) or by the imams (Shia branch).

9. In addition to these two basic texts of Islamic law there are secondary sources such as consensus (ijma‘), analogical deduction (qiyas) and individual reasoning based on the general principles of Islam (ijtihad), which have produced a plethora of interpretations. Added to these are spontaneous sources such as local custom (‘urf) and judicial practice (‘amal).

10. Fiqh, the temporal interpretation of the rules of Sharia law, brings together all the rules that had been systematised by the end of the fifth century after the Hijra. There are various schools of Islamic jurisprudence. They include the four Sunni schools: the Hanafi school of Abu Hanifa, the Maliki school of Malik ibn Anas, the Shafi‘i school of Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafi‘i and the Hanbali school of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. There are at least two main Shia schools: the Ja‘fari and the Zaydi.

2.1.2. Legal nature

11. While most States with Muslim majorities have inserted a provision referring to Islam or Islamic law in their constitutions, the effect of these provisions is symbolic or confined to family law. Admittedly, these religious provisions may have a legal effect if raised in the courts and a political effect if they intrude into institutional attitudes and practices. 9 However, the authority of Sharia law is derived directly from the Qur’an, and traditional Islamic law contains no effective provisions concerning its position in the pyramid of norms. 10

2.1.3. Sharia law: problematic rules in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights

12. In this study I shall be looking at the general principles of Sharia law in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights and particularly Article 14, which prohibits discrimination on grounds such as sex or religion and Article 5 of Protocol No. 7 to the Convention, which establishes equality between spouses in law. In this context, reference should also be made to other provisions of the Convention and its additional protocols – such as Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment), Article 6 (right to a fair trial), Article 8 (Right to respect for private and family life), Article 9 (freedom of religion), Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) and Protocols Nos. 6 and 13 prohibiting the death penalty. Here we shall find some problematic features that warrant further analysis. 13. In Islamic family law, men have authority over women. Surah 4:34 states: ‘Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Then if they obey you, take no further action against them. Surely God is high, supreme.’ 11 While wives clearly have a duty of fidelity, 12 husbands do not. 13 In Sharia law, adultery is strictly prohibited.14 Legal doctrine holds that the evidence must take the form of corroborating testimony from four witnesses15 to prove an individual’s guilt. These witnesses must be men of good repute and good Muslims. The punishment is severe and degrading, namely ‘a hundred lashes’. 16 In the case of rape, which is seldom committed in public before four male witnesses who are good Muslims, punishing the rapist is difficult if not impossible. 17 In practice, this obliges women to be accompanied by men when they go out and is not conducive to their independence. While divorce by mutual consent is enshrined in Islamic law, 18 the application has to come from the wife, since the husband can repudiate his wife at any time. 19 There is also the question of equal rights with regard to divorce arrangements such as custody of children.

14. For division of an estate among the heirs, distinctions are made according to the sex of the heir. A male heir has a double share, whereas a female heir has a single share. 20 The rights of a surviving wife are half those of a surviving husband. 21

15. In criminal cases, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments are authorised by Sharia law, including death by stoning, beheading and hanging, amputation of limbs, and flogging. 22 Apostasy results, firstly, in the apostate’s civil death, with the estate passing to the heirs, and, secondly, in the apostate’s execution if he or she does not recant. 23 Lastly, non-Muslims do not have the same rights as Muslims in civil and criminal law, 24 which is discrimination on the ground of religion within the meaning of Article 14 of the Convention.

Summary: 

Is Sharia compatible with Human Rights? This concrete question is more and more important in Europe, particularly for women, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has tried to answer it.

Indeed, among the large Europe, there are territories where the sharia (or “Islamic law”) is applied. This raises a problem in view of Human Rights, in so far as these States are members of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and at the same time they apply or respect an Islamic justice opposed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the ECHR.

Three member countries of the Council of Europe have ratified both the European Convention on Human Rights and the Cairo Declaration, which is a declaration of Human Rights compatible with the sharia. These countries are Albania, Azerbaijan and Turkey. One must add that the Russian Federation and Bosnia and Herzegovina have not signed the Cairo Declaration but are members observers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and they have signed the ECHR.

This Cairo Declaration of 5th August 1990 stipulates inter alia that “Islam is the religion of unspoiled nature”. It does not contain a right to freedom of religion, does not confirm the equality before the law of all men regardless of their religion, and finally Article 25 stipulates that “The Islamic Shari'ah is the only source of reference for the explanation or clarification of any of the articles of this Declaration”.

Some of the principles stated in the Islamic law contravene the principles which are recognized as Human Rights, and first of all, freedom of religion. According to the sharia, a Muslim does not have the right to change his religion to another religion or to atheism. If he does so, he is an apostate, which generates his civil death (opening of his succession) and deserves a death penalty.

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights had the opportunity to give an answer to that question of compatibility in 2003: it “concurs in the Chamber’s view that sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy, as set forth in the Convention[1].

Seized by several of its members, the PACE will establish in the next few months a report on these incompatibilities, determine on which territories of members of the Council of Europe the sharia is applied and what consequences are to be drawn from it.

Mrs Meritxell Mateu (ALDE, Andorra) was the rapporteur of the Commission before she left the PACE. She wrote a preliminary note under this procedure. This note defines sharia as follows:

Sharia law is understood as being ‘the path to be followed’, that is, the ‘law’ to be obeyed by every Muslim. It  divides  all  human action into  five categories–what  is obligatory, recommended, neutral, Disapproved of and prohibited –and takes two forms: a legal ruling(hukm), designed to organise society and deal with everyday situations, and the fatwa, a legal opinion intended to cover a special situation. Sharia law is therefore meant in essence to be positive law enforceable on Muslims. Accordingly, it can be defined as ‘the sacred Law of Islam’, that is, ‘an all-embracing body of religious duties, the totality of Allah’s commands that regulate the life of every Muslim in all its aspects’.”[2]

Besides the different international instruments written and ratified by Muslim countries, the Rapporteur highlighted the members States of the Council of Europe in which sharia law is being applied, more or less legally: Greece, the United-Kingdom, Russia and Turkey.

Pages

Subscribe to ECHR