Sharia, derived from several sources including the Koran, is applied to varying degrees in predominantly Muslim countries but it has no binding status in Britain.Where's Enoch Powell? English common law has developed over 800 years and underlies much of the legal system in former British colonies like Australia, Canada, and the US. Yet immigrants in Britain herself are ignoring it with the blessings of the police and governmental officials. Currently Sharia law is being used in place of English law when both the alleged perpetrators and victims agree to it. But it won't be long before the accused argue that they are not subject to the law of the land but instead to the law of their home countries.
However, the BBC Radio 4 programme Law in Action produced evidence yesterday that it was being used by some Muslims as an alternative to English criminal law. Aydarus Yusuf, 29, a youth worker from Somalia, recalled a stabbing case that was decided by an unofficial Somali "court" sitting in Woolwich, south-east London.
Mr Yusuf said a group of Somali youths were arrested on suspicion of stabbing another Somali teenager. The victim's family told the police it would be settled out of court and the suspects were released on bail.
As if multicultural social mores and customs don't undermine societal cohesiveness and lead to enough mistrust between various people in a society, some in Britain's legal community see this as progress:
Some lawyers welcomed the advance of what has become known as "legal pluralism".I recall a mentor who has said, only half-jokingly, that in school half the kids want to grow up to be doctors and the other half aspire to be lawyers. The former want to build society up, the latter to tear it down.
A Somali-born Briton candidly explains why he and others do not adhere to British law:
Mr Yusuf told the programme he felt more bound by the traditional law of his birth than by the laws of his adopted country. "Us Somalis, wherever we are in the world, we have our own law," he said. "It's not sharia, it's not religious — it's just a cultural thing."No wonder other countries in Europe, like the Netherlands and France, are screening immigrants by asking potential newcomers their thoughts on various aspects of their host country's national culture. A more potent way of stopping European law and society from being rejected by those living in Europe would be to stop immigration from parts of the world that are prone to disagree with Western societal models, especially the Islamic world.