The Commons Home Affairs Committee has launched an inquiry into sharia councils operating in the UK. The Committee will examine how sharia councils operate in practice, their work resolving family and divorce disputes and their relationship with the British legal system. Written evidence is invited on, but need not be restricted to, the following issues:
- the services offered by sharia councils and the reasons why they are used;
- the basic tenets of sharia law with reference to family, divorce, domestic violence and children and how those compare to the British law on those issues;
- the relationship between sharia councils and the British legal system;
- the extent to which sharia law is compatible with the principles of British law;
- the extent to which sharia councils might discriminate against women;
- the costs of using sharia councils and how sharia councils are funded;
- comparisons between sharia councils and similar institutions for other faiths;
- how other, non-majority Muslim, countries have responded to sharia councils operating within their jurisdictions; and
- the role that Government has, or could have, in overseeing or monitoring sharia councils.
Written submissions should be made online by midday on 20 July 2016.
Readers will be aware that the Home Office has already announced its own inquiry into the operation of sharia law: it is being chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui and is due to report next year.