In Britain the spread of “religiously sanctioned gender discrimination” and polygamy under Sharia Law means some Muslim men are having up to 20 children each, Baroness Cox has claimed.
Baroness Cox was speaking in the House of Lords to promote a bill closing a loophole in the Equality Act, reports The Daily Telegraph. She said the existence of the loophole enables Sharia courts to practice sexual discrimination.
Calling for greater protection under equality legislation, Baroness Cox gave a series of examples of Sharia Law’s impact on Muslim women in Britain.
In one particularly egregious case she highlighted a 63-year-old man who wanted to divorce his 23-year-old wife so he could arrange her marriage to a Pakistani man needing a visa. The older man hoped to make £10,000 “for effecting the arrangement” so asked a gynaecologist to “repair the hymen” of his wife in order that she could remarry. Baroness Cox said:
“Such shocking cases surely cannot be allowed to continue. The rights of Muslim women and the rule of law in our land must be upheld.”
Referring to the potential for abuse that divorce under Sharia Law offers, Baroness Cox spoke of the dangers of polygamy. She explained that Muslim men may divorce their wives merely by saying or writing “I divorce you” three times, adding:
“My Muslim friends tell me that in some communities with high polygamy and divorce rates, men may have up to 20 children each. Clearly, youngsters growing up in dysfunctional families may be vulnerable to extremism and demography may affect democracy.”
Her claims are supported by reports earlier in the year that there are now up to 100,000 Sharia-based marriages in Britain not recognised under UK law, leaving the women involved without full legal rights.
Baroness Cox, who is a cross-bench peer, found support from across the political spectrum in the House of Lords. Backing the bill, the Labour peer Baroness Donaghy reminded her colleagues women were unequal before the law in recent memory, adding:
“We cannot afford to go backwards and tolerate a situation where any woman is living in fear and isolation. More needs to be done. This is not confined to Sharia law or Muslim religion. These parallel laws which discriminate against women have existed and may still exist in other religions.”
Another cross-bench peer, Lord Green of Deddington, gave his support to Baroness Cox. The founder of the independent immigration and asylum research organisation, MigrationWatch UK, pointed out that Britain is very different to Muslim countries and incomers must accept that. On that subject he speaks with the knowledge of a career diplomat who served as Ambassador in Syria and then Director for the Middle East in the Foreign Office before serving for four and a half years as Ambassador in Saudi Arabia.
“We must be prepared to insist that there can be only one law,” said Lord Green. “We must get away from what I call the Rotherham complex where the authorities were so afraid of offending a minority community that they turned a blind eye to the appalling abuse of young mainly British girls.”
Responding on the government’s behalf, Minister of State for Justice Lord Faulks said that although there is a government review of Sharia Councils the proposed new law is not needed because of existing protections found both in common law and existing legislation.