The Growing Sharia Threat

by on 14 April, 2015

img_GeorgeChristensenProfileGeorge Christensen MP writes how the rise of Sharia in Australia is denying Muslim women complete freedom and access to the law:

IN PLACES where the long arm of the law struggles to reach, a second arm gathers strength and tightens its grip on willing and unwilling victims, mostly women.

In some Australian suburbs it is no longer a case of one law for all as Sharia-style dispensation of justice is quietly executed in Australian mosques on a daily basis.

An Australian imam has openly said he is doing just that in Sydney mosques every day.

Sheikh Haisam Farache, who is being trained by Legal Aid as a culturally and linguistic diverse mediator, said this role “formally recognises what he’s been doing for years – applying Sharia to arbitrate family disputes and avoid(ing) a long and painful journey through the court system.

Sheikh Farache said he had been applying Sharia during stints as an imam at Artarmon and Lakemba mosques, where he typically facilitated “two or three mediations a day”.

He believes “Sharia has been playing out in the Australian Family Court” since mediation was introduced into the Family Court system in 2005.

Though it is flagged as a mediation process to resolve family disputes, there is a very real concern that we may have a repeat of the situation which Britain faces, and is now trying to rectify.

The poor treatment of Muslim women in that country is so extensive that a Member of the House of Lords, Baroness Caroline Cox, has introduced a bill to strengthen the law’s ability to regulate sharia courts and force them to comply with anti-discrimination law.

Baroness Cox has said: “We cannot sit here complacently in our red and green benches while women are suffering a system which is utterly incompatible with the legal principles upon which this country is founded.”

Could we be doing the same thing in Australia by assuming that Sharia law will not and is not operating in this country?

It seems clear that forms of Sharia mediation or arbitration are already at play in this country, and though no-one would question the need for cultural and linguistic assistance for those facing a court process, it seems likely that Muslim women in Australia will be facing the same forms of manipulative gender-biased discrimination which are enshrined in many variations of Islamic marriage laws.

In Britain, Sharia councils are legally able to deal with some areas of arbitration, but they are dispensing their sharia version of “justice” far beyond what is legitimate.

Those who suffer the consequences are invariably Muslim women and children.

Baroness Cox authored a 41-page report entitled A Parallel World: Confronting the abuse of many Muslim women in Britain Today.

In her introduction she states: “I have sat and wept with those who are oppressed, abused and treated as second class citizens. One Muslim woman told me: “I feel betrayed by Britain. I came here to get away from this and the situation is worse here than in the country I escaped from”.

The report outlines numerous examples of women who must battle a form of justice most in the Western World would find extremely abhorrent.

In one example, a woman who was raped and abused over many years by the cousin she was forced to marry at the age of 16, faced intimidation and refusals when she sought a Sharia council divorce. Her UK Court protection orders were regarded as irrelevant, and though she was in fear of her life she was told to attend mediation.

Another woman had a husband who physically abused her during pregnancy and afterwards. When she sought a divorce, she was told by the Imam that, even though her husband was extremely violent, she could not get a divorce without his permission.

There are many cases of women living in polygamous marriages, because Islamic laws allow a man to have four wives but a woman may only have one husband.

The examples of abuse by husbands, followed by discrimination and intimidation from imams, go on and on.

This is not an attack on religious freedom of expression. This is about Muslim women who are Australian citizens being able to enjoy complete freedom and access to the law.

It is also about confronting an issue which is in danger of being ignored due to its sensitivity.

If the legal arm wrestle is left to play out uncontested, will the long arm of Australian law prevail or will the misogynistic arm of Sharia hold back and repress the Muslim women of Australia?

 George Christensen is the Federal MP for Dawson

One thought on “The Growing Sharia Threat

  1. Do these Sharia law courts also register marriages, and if so, do they also register them with the Australian register ?

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