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Old 04-20-2017, 01:11 PM   #26
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

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Apparwntly (sic) , many women are severely mistreated by sharia courts according to the BBC on the show called Panorama.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rxfjt

Woman fears physical abuse. Even has a restraining order against her husband but must bring her abuser to court.

One woman hired Barrister Charlotte Proudman to represent her but still couldn't have legal representation before the court.

I think it's much worse in many cases where they only have a sharia marriage. The woman can't get a reasonable division of property. Plus they may be forced to bring a child to another country in order to get a divorce.
I don't think this ^^^

equates to this vvv

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So what we're getting to is that you don't like the judgements of Sharia arbiters and think people shouldn't use them?

Cool. I'm fine with that.

But we're now a long long way from the premise that there is Sharia law in the UK.
I'm saying women are being mistreated. They often don't know their rights. The Islamic courts should be forced to give basic human rights, like the right to legal representation, or the right to NOT be confronted by your abuser (against whom the state has issued a restraining order).
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:15 PM   #27
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

I could just cite whataboutism and walk away.

But I won't. More specifically, I have two points. The first point is whataboutism. Any wrong occurring in Islamic courts cannot be justified or brushed aside by accusations that other religious courts exist. The second point is that we have actual cases of abuse, known, in the Islamic courts, plus an accusation that these abuses are commonplace. Any similar cases from the other religious courts? If so, are they allowed to continue unaddressed?
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:27 PM   #28
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

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I could just cite whataboutism and walk away.

But I won't. More specifically, I have two points. The first point is whataboutism. Any wrong occurring in Islamic courts cannot be justified or brushed aside by accusations that other religious courts exist. The second point is that we have actual cases of abuse, known, in the Islamic courts, plus an accusation that these abuses are commonplace. Any similar cases from the other religious courts? If so, are they allowed to continue unaddressed?
I just thought it was interesting and good link on the topic. Do what ever you got to.
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Old 04-20-2017, 01:35 PM   #29
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

OK, cool. Agreed that it is a good link on the topic.
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Old 04-20-2017, 03:50 PM   #30
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

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So if we are talking about the case where they have UK gov't recognized marriages, then they want a divorce, they would have the right to a UK gov't court divorce proceeding. In those circumstances, and then they voluntarily go to the Sharia court/arbitration, I would have less sympathy, though still some sympathy if they are getting screwed contrary to UK law.
A couple of semi-random thoughts. I'm just quoting this as a jumping off point.

I think the issue you're raising here is important, and is relevant well beyond the question of Sharia-based arbitration specifically. Or maybe there's a couple related questions. To what extent should the state allow people to voluntarily waive their own rights? To what extent is it plausible to make the application of law pluralistic or relative to something like religious freedom? The latter is the question about the RFRA in the US, and I think there's an analogy between the two questions, at least given questions about Sharia arbitration specifically.

When you say you have somewhat less sympathy when people choose to enter into these agreements, I think you are expressing a more or less common attitude that's informed by a kind of libertarian-esque logic. It's a logic that values individual liberty very highly, or even more than all competing values. I also value individual liberty, and even religious liberty, so I don't think the argument is entirely without merit.

But, it is a logic which is often implicitly premised on an abstraction of individual choice and liberty which ignores real-world imbalances in power, and that's what you are referring to when you say you are nevertheless sympathetic to the extent that someone is getting "screwed" out of their rights. It's one thing if two parties of equal power enter into a private contract, and another thing when there is a large power difference such that one party is effectively compelled. This is where I draw the analogy to the RFRA. It's one thing to try to increase religious liberty, but it's another thing when one person's "liberty" has the necessary consequence of discriminating against other groups, and I course think this is especially concerning when there is a large historical imbalance of power, politically and culturally, between the two groups.

So, I think it's a good thing if people recognize that a certain abstract liberalism in considerations involving individual liberty is insufficient. I think it's entirely plausible (although I haven't looked at any evidence) that if Sharia-based arbitration is being used in family-law decisions that this is going to be discriminatory or oppressive towards women in at least some cases. I think that the state should balance its desire to maximize individual liberty, or to stream-line the court system, with the also valuable goal of fighting discrimination and protecting vulnerable people. I don't know that this means that the state should entirely forbid Sharia-based arbitration -- as I said I haven't seen any real evidence -- but I think it could certainly mean that such a system needs more regulation to make sure everyone involved is able to fully realize their rights. I do think there are good enough reasons to be concerned about how this kind of arbitration actually functions.

On the other hand, it's also fairly obvious (at least to me) that a lot of right-wing complaints about the impending menace of Sharia law in the US or Europe are not based on any such reasonable considerations. The implication, even if it's unsaid, is quite often not concern about Sharia law applying to other people, but that somehow it's going to be applied to oneself. "There is already Sharia law in the UK" is the kind of statement which is often taken in that way, intended or not. It's not that hard to see the xenophobia that goes along with the way people often talk about these questions. It also becomes apparent in the way the same people often think about questions relating to the RFRA and (for example) discrimination against LGBT people. In other words, sometimes when people bring up the oppression of Muslim women their concern rings a bit hollow in the context of all of their other political and cultural preferences. That's the whole point of complaints about "whataboutism", obviously.

So, I think it's perfectly reasonable to have concerns about something like Sharia-based arbitration being oppressive to women. In the same way that I think religious freedom exemptions from anti-discrimination laws are problematic. But I also think you can't reasonably evaluate the political discourse around these issues without taking into account the broader dynamics of the "culture war".

Last edited by well named; 04-20-2017 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:24 PM   #31
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

I'm absolutely, proudly coming from a libertarian viewpoint (more Locke than Mill, but w/e). This vvv is why I feel liberals especially should be up in arms about the abuses. This is an under-protected, under-represented, mostly powerless group of victims. I'm sure you are stating it better than I am.

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But, it is a logic which is often implicitly premised on an abstraction of individual choice and liberty which ignores real-world imbalances in power, and that's what you are referring to when you say you are nevertheless sympathetic to the extent that someone is getting "screwed" out of their rights. It's one thing if two parties of equal power enter into a private contract, and another thing when there is a large power difference such that one party is effectively compelled.

So, I think it's a good thing if people recognize that a certain abstract liberalism in considerations involving individual liberty is insufficient. I think it's entirely plausible (although I haven't looked at any evidence) that if Sharia-based arbitration is being used in family-law decisions that this is going to be discriminatory or oppressive towards women in at least some cases. I think that the state should balance its desire to maximize individual liberty, or to stream-line the court system, with the also valuable goal of fighting discrimination and protecting vulnerable people.
There is real evidence in the videos I linked, and the UK gov't states such in the report.

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I don't know that this means that the state should entirely forbid Sharia-based arbitration -- as I said I haven't seen any real evidence -- but I think it could certainly mean that such a system needs more regulation to make sure everyone involved is able to fully realize their rights. I do think there are good enough reasons to be concerned about how this kind of arbitration actually functions.
Re regulation, that is what some or most of the concerned are pushing for. Increase visibility and enforce compliance with UK rights - elimination of abuses.
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Old 04-20-2017, 04:26 PM   #32
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

I have a fairly strict "I'm not watching your video" policy in here, but sometime when I'm not too busy I'll probably go look for the actual report that was supposed to come out last year? I can't do it right now.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:11 AM   #33
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

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I don't think this ^^^

equates to this vvv



I'm saying women are being mistreated. They often don't know their rights. The Islamic courts should be forced to give basic human rights, like the right to legal representation, or the right to NOT be confronted by your abuser (against whom the state has issued a restraining order).
Ok, they're arbitration services not "Islamic courts". Since this discussion was triggered by Superslug's claim that there are Sharia law courts in the UK I'm insisting on this clarification. And because this isn't a law court, and you aren't legally compelled to either go there or be bound by a ruling contrary to UK law, it's really important that we're clear about this.

Again, if the claim is that Sharia arbitration can be really sucky, then this is a point I'm almost certainly going to concede. What I'm refusing to accept is the claim that it equates to Sharia in the UK. We have arbitration services open to solve a whole bunch of other disputes in a number of different ways and, undoubtedly, plenty of them suck.

As for couples who aren't legally married in the UK, there has been a pervasive myth that there is such a thing as a "common law marriage" i.e. a couple living together long enough that they will effectively count as legally married. The problem usually comes to the fore when a couple splits up, one party assumes it has some marriage rights and finds out they don't. Often, this is the female party.

Let's say I'm living with a partner who doesn't work, and over a number of years I've been putting my name and my name only on the mortgage, car payments, bank accounts etc. The relationship breaks down and my partner suddenly discovers they have absolutely no right to any of that stuff. Say we decide to go to arbitration, that service might give my partner a raw deal compared to the protection of a legal marriage but, legally speaking, it's not denying them any rights. Is that what we're talking about in your Sharia examples, or is it something else? Because the solution seems to be ensuring that people are aware of their rights and take steps to protect themselves legally by either marrying their partner or ensuring they take joint or sole ownership of some things in case of separation.

An arbitration service cannot deny basic human rights and have that enforced. It's not within their power.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:13 AM   #34
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

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So what we're getting to is that you don't like the judgements of Sharia arbiters and think people shouldn't use them?

Cool. I'm fine with that.

But we're now a long long way from the premise that there is Sharia law in the UK.
I dont like that people are subject to an Islamic justice system that operates in a gray area , seems to be unregulated and seems to discriminate against women at times.

To me it doesn't matter if its Sharia law or Sharia councils acting as arbiters The important bit to me at least is that people feel they are being mistreated by them , independent reports from have corroborated this and some lawyers have spoke out about them.

Now people have come out in defense of them and there are reports back to them up as well. Someone mentioned a report from last year , Id be interested to see that, will try to dig it out. Interestingly enough apparently it is cheaper and quicker to go through these courts and they are available for non Muslims to use as well.

I feel that people in general dont really fully understand Sharia law and I include myself in that. For example apparently your not meant to be interest on loans if sharia law is implemented properly but you never hear people talk about that.

People associate it with very oppressive governments and regimes hence the very defensive and angry reaction from some on here to my admittedly false assertion but I wasnt doing it to disparage Muslims.

Sharia law is basically Islamic law that is made up from their holy books that as we know can be interpreted in a million and one ways. The very moderate Muslims I know read the same holy books as the savages that behead people. So I think your sharia law will vary massively depending on how people implementing it interpret it.

If I ask a moderate Muslim in the UK to construct an Islamic form of law then ask a very conservative Muslim from the UK and then someone fighting for ISIS to do the same thing your going to get 3 very different forms of law And probably only one would be acceptable in this country.

Im going off on a bit of a tangent but I guess I dont mind too much if people use these arbiters although I think there will always be complications as in general Muslims arent as progressive as your average UK citizen and I would imagine the imams are on average even less so.

I think its important to properly regulate these councils if we are going to have them though.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:15 AM   #35
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

See, your claim was that there's Sharia law in the UK, but all you're doing is telling me you dislike arbitration.

I need you to understand that these are very different things.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:39 AM   #36
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

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See, your claim was that there's Sharia law in the UK, but all you're doing is telling me you dislike arbitration.

I need you to understand that these are very different things.
I said my claim was false.

I understand they are different and I am telling you that there is Islamic justice, yes in the form of arbitration, being dispensed in the UK and that some women have complained they are being treated unfairly
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:00 PM   #37
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

I get that they (sharia courts or councils or arbitrators) cannot enforce anything contrary to UK law. They can and do, however, rule contrary to UK law. Let's be clear on that. They rule contrary to UK law, violating women's rights.

Now, let's take one of the many, many situations where that has happened and let's stop right after that. They have just ruled, violating the woman's rights.

At that point for that woman, what is your solution? More education? We should teach women that they have the right to go to UK court?

I actually agree with more education, but I think while we wait for the education to take effect, the UK gov't must regulate the councils to make sure they don't violate the women's rights.

This is an equity question. Legally, the woman may have UK law rights, though I'm not even sure of that, in the case where she doesn't have a UK law marriage. The point is, the women are often under-represented, powerless in the network in which they live. The state steps in and says NO. An analogy is usury laws. It is illegal to loan money out at a 2000% interest rate. Why? To protect people from making the horrible decision to accept that agreement.

well named said it better than I, above.
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:02 PM   #38
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Re: Arbitration councils and tribunals

I probably wouldn't have slashed the budget for the Citizen's Advice Bureau for a start.
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