BRITISH Sharia courts are allegedly locking women into “marital captivity” and failing to report cases of domestic violence.
Judges at the secretive courts in the UK “uphold the theory and practice of the strong hold men have over women”, according to a shocking new study.
One judge is said to have laughed at a woman who claimed she was being abused by her husband, asking: “Why did you marry such a person?”
And several women were reportedly shackled by their husbands’ debts being asked for “large sums of money” for their divorce requests.
The claims were made by academic Machteld Zee, who attended 15 hours of divorce hearings at London’s Islamic Sharia Council and the Birmingham Central Mosque Sharia.
Zee’s findings about the controversial courts – also known as councils – will be unveiled in Parliament next month.
They cannot overrule regular courts but have come under huge scrutiny in recent years for their alleged mistreatment of women.
Zee said sharia judges are “not a neutral third party” but are “always in favour of her man” – and sometimes even give custody of children to fathers.
She added: “In a toxic mix of religious fundamentalism, culture and tight-knit communities, sharia councils uphold the theory and practice of the strong hold men have over women.
“Sharia councils may ‘help’ women who want a divorce, but it is a solution to a problem that they fuel and one that they seek to preserve.
“Moreover, that religious divorces are sharia councils’ ‘core business’ does not in the least bit mean that they are actually willing to help women obtain one.
“In fact, they are known to frustrate women in their requests, especially if the husband is unwilling to co-operate.”
Khola Hasan of the Islamic Sharia Council branded Zee’s allegations of bias towards men as “absolute rubbish”.
She told the Independent: “We certainly don’t condone domestic violence or force women to go back – we are there to get women out of religious marriages.
“Custody is not in our remit. We are not allowed to deal with custody and we make clear on our website and with everyone coming to us [that they need] to go to English court.”
A spokesman for Birmingham City Mosque Sharia Council failed to respond to a request for comment.
source: Daily Express