United Kingdom

Walking a Tightrope: Women and Veiling in the United Kingdom by Ayesha Salma Kariapper examines the ways in which public debates over the headscarf and the full-face veil have shaped the strategies of women from Muslim communities, strategies developed to deal with the limitations imposed on them in the name of religion, culture, tradition and identity within the community, and with racism and exclusion from mainstream society. You can now download the book for free!

The press release shown below was issued today by the Law Society in the United Kingdom, announcing their withdrawal of a practice note issuing guidance for writing 'Sharia-compliant' wills.  

In a letter to the Lawyers' Secular Society, the Law Society stated:

Efua Dorkenoo, widely seen as the mother of the global movement to end female genital mutilation, has died after undergoing treatment for cancer, her family have confirmed. She was 65. Dorkenoo – known affectionately to many as “mama Efua” – was a leading light in the movement to bring an end to FGM for more than 30 years, campaigning against the practice since the 1980s.

On the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights
11-12 October 2014
The Tower Hotel, St Katharine’s Way, London E1W 1LD, UK
www.secularconference.com

WLUML's International Director, Fatou Sow, Board member, Karima Bennoune, and Co-Founder Marieme Helie-Lucas are amongst the event's distinguished international speakers.

Join notable free-thinkers, atheists and secularists from around the world for a weekend of discussions and debates on the religious-Right, its attacks on civil rights and freedoms, and the role of secularism for 21st century humanity. The exciting two-day conference will discuss the Arab Spring, Sharia and religious laws, the limits of religion’s role in society, free expression, honour killings, apostasy and blasphemy laws, faith schools, women’s rights, secular values and much more. 

The failure to tackle female genital mutilation (FGM) is a "national scandal" with as many as 170,000 victims in the UK, MPs have said.

A new law in England and Wales making it a criminal offence to force people into marriage sends "a powerful message", campaigners have said.

 

From today, parents who force their children to marry can be punished by up to seven years in prison.

Rashida Manjoo: "What is clear from portrayals of women and girls is that there is a boys' club sexist culture"

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) condemn the Law Society’s recent guidelines for ‘Shari’a-compliant’ wills in the UK, which make provision for gender-discriminatory inheritance practices.  The Law Society’s practice note includes the following points:

“... No distinction is made between children of different marriages, but illegitimate and adopted children are not Shari’a heirs.”

“The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Shari’a heir”.[1]

Clearly, inheritance conducted in this manner discriminates on the basis of gender.  When inheritance follows these lines, economic violence against women becomes viable – financial assets follow the male line and women, even if they have previously invested in property for example, can become impoverished as assets are handed to male heirs.  In this sense, the guidelines offer a mandate for the financial abuse of women and their children.  Such inheritance practices also blatantly discriminate against ‘illegitimate’ and adopted children.

The first ever prosecutions under the Female Genital Mutilation Act have been announced by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena, 31, from the Whittington Hospital in North London and another man Hasan Mohamed, 40, are to be charged in connection with an incident following a birth at the hospital in 2012.

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