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It depends on the British people

American Thomas Tozer recently wrote us, "Is this Sharia law thing true? What's happening to England?"

Yes, it is true, and when I read the news about Sharia a few days ago, it sounded so bad I turned out the light and pulled the sheet up over my head -

ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

Previously, the rulings of sharia courts in Britain could not be enforced, and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

It has now emerged that sharia courts with these powers have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester with the network’s headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Two more courts are being planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

What should I tell Tom - that Labour politicians are trying to buy Muslim votes, as Labour MP Ann Cryer recently suggested?

That Labour politicians don't understand the golden principles of Britain's Common Law?

Common Law has its roots in Celtic, Roman, and Anglo-Saxon laws and Judaeo-Christian principles, and rose to its grandeur as the protector of the innocent and the righter of wrongs when the best of the Brits fought for the rights of every person under the law, and won.

British Christians were an intensely practical people. Common law worked. It was based on fair play and reason and sorted out civil and criminal cases. It contributes today to the prosperity of Britain, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

The creators of Common Law included Alfred the Great; Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the bishops, abbots and knights who defied John to make sure that justice would be established in Magna Carta; John Lambert who died for the right to silence and John Lilburne who endured whipping and pillory to defend the same right; William Penn and hundreds of other Christians who defended freedom to worship with their lives until it became part of British Common Law; William Bushell, who went to prison rather than give up the right of juries to decide guilt or innocence freely; and those Christian knights and bishops who in AD 1100 forced Henry I to sign the Charter of Liberties and to pledge that no one, not even the king, would be above or beyond the law.

That bedrock principle is one that millions of people in the world today are desperately trying to establish in their unhappy countries. British politicians are throwing it away.

What politician is so thoughtless that he does not understand the importance of one fair law for all with no one above or outside the law? Who can fail to understand that this is one more attack on the common bonds that connect the British people, and that it will divide them?

What kind of politican ignores what Sharia law will do to women, how frightened and helpless they will become?

Sharia allows polygamy, slavery, sexual relations with slaves, amputation for theft, flogging for drinking alcohol, the killing of daughters who want to marry non-Muslims, the murder of homosexuals, being stoned to death for adultery, and being killed for converting to another faith. It views women as second-class with limited rights.

An imam may interpret it differently, but there is no doubt that Sharia allows these reprehensible punishments. There is no doubt how women live in countries controlled by Sharia law.

Should I tell Tom that this is another attack on Britain by Labour politicians who do not love their country, and that they and their Fabian Socialist brethren are working to erect a pan-European socialist government, despite the manifest failure of socialism everywhere it has been tried?

Should I tell Tom that he needn't worry about this since Labour has ratified the Lisbon Treaty and handed Britain over to the European Union. Consequently EU laws take precedence over Britain's Common Law. Whatever Labour may have given, the EU can easily take away.

That should reassure him.

Should I tell Tom that "Jewish Beth Din courts operate under the same provision in the Arbitration Act and resolve civil cases, ranging from divorce to business disputes. They have existed in Britain for more than 100 years, and previously operated under a precursor to the act".

That is true. It does not seem to have undermined Common Law, but it was wrong to do then and it is wrong to do now. A century ago it must have seemed kind, or in the lingo of the 20th-century, "multicultural" with little scope for harm. Today we know it was misguided.

Why is this occurring? A number of reasons have been suggested.

Because most people do not like bad news, and prefer not to hear it and have to do something about it.

Because people don't take this seriously, and don't consider it a threat.

Because people are busy and they want their elected MPs, to whom they pay salaries, pensions and expenses, to protect the laws they have sworn to defend.

Because the British people do not know that they have an inheritance, and not knowing that it exists don't notice when politicians destroy it.

If it is true that the British people are facing some challenges, which is certainly the view of people who love Britain, it is also true that these challenges can be met. It depends on the British people.

Tom knows that.

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