MINISTERS have ordered a probe into the unlawful use of “discriminatory” Sharia councils as part of the Government’s counter-extremism strategy.
They can dissolve religious marriages but couples must go to an official court to obtain a civil divorce.
Home Secretary Theresa May first floated the idea of a review into Sharia courts in March, saying they are used to discriminate against women.
But it was not part of the Conservatives’ General Election manifesto.
Lord Bates has now confirmed the review will go ahead, saying: “Sharia councils may be working in a discriminatory and unacceptable way.
“That is why, as part of the forthcoming counter-extremism strategy, Government will commission a full, independent investigation to assess to what extent Sharia is being applied in a manner that is unacceptable.”
Lord Bates added: “The review will commence following the appointment of an independent chair.
“The Terms of Reference for the review and its duration will be determined at that point.
“We will act on any evidence of its application which is outside of the law.”
Earlier this year it was reported that 100,000 British Muslim women are being duped into sham Sharia marriages.
The arrangements – which are not recognised under British law – can leave women with no rights to a fair share of assets if the relationship ends.
But Amra Bone, Britain’s first Islamic judge on a Sharia Council, denied its courts discriminated against women.
Mrs Bone said: “We apply Sharia principles within the law of the land. We are a voluntary body and can’t make orders – we just advise.
“People don’t want us to be judgmental.”
source: Daily Express