Independent crossbencher Lady Cox in the House of Lords raised the issue of Sharia
Courts being held in our Country.
Just days ago, she warned of the "suffering of women oppressed by religiously sanctioned gender discrimination in this country".
She was trying to tackle such problems in the Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill debate.
Lady Cox denied being anti-Muslim.
However, Muslim Peer, Baroness Uddin, said the bid to change the law would be seen, outside the House, as "another assault on Muslims".
She also stated "No laws should supersede the laws of the land where citizens reside and
coercion to religious law is unacceptable".
Firstly, we have to wonder readers, why would it be an assault on Muslims? There is no need or should there be, to allow Sharia Courts in our land.
Lady Cox quite rightly responded and said that problems arose because many women believed Sharia courts were "real courts" and they did not have rights under English law or were "pressured" not to seek those rights.
She went on to point out that such women lived in fear and dare not speak out about problems of domestic violence and gender discrimination.
Her Bill would make it a criminal offence "falsely to claim legal jurisdiction" and make it easier to have discriminatory rulings overturned, as well as strengthening against domestic violence.
Lady Cox then said "I don't believe we can continue with the present situation where so many women are suffering from gender discrimination in our country today, in ways that would make the suffragette movement turn in their graves".
Lord Kalms of Edgware stated
"The substance of the Bill is straightforward, and it should be acceptable to all Members of this House.
It is this, that the law of the land is, and must remain, paramount; no law should ever override or sit above the law of this land; and, while amendments can and will be made to our laws, the fundamental bedrock principles on which our legal system is based not only cannot but must not be open for negotiation".
And in conclusion,
"Today this House has an opportunity to make a stand and draw a firm line. It should be this: that no British citizen should ever sit before a court or judge whose basic principles are in opposition to the most cherished principles of this country and its law.
Whether we have the confidence to draw this line clearly will not only affect the issue of integration in this country, it will send out a signal about the kind of country we and our children would wish to live in".
Lord Gardner of Kimble, in response said
"That the Government are fully committed to protecting the rights of all citizens, and there is legislation in place to uphold those rights.
What I said earlier is that the Government are actively working with groups to ensure that there is awareness and a change of attitude".