Muslims seeking Beth Din advice

Muslims seeking Beth Din advice
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Following the Archbishop of Canterbury’s remarks about allowing aspects of Sharia law in UK legislation, an advisor to the Islamic Sharia Council in Leyton told TJ this week that meetings have been held with the Three Faiths Forum and the Federation of Synagogue’s Beth Din over the last two years aimed at learning lessons from the Jewish experience.

The advisor, Dr Usama Hasan, also Director of Muslim network the City Circle, said there is a lot to learn from the Jews.

He told TJ: “The issues are very similar. I am sure Muslims would be happy to learn from the Jewish experience, there is no point reinventing the wheel. The Beth Din system has operated for around 70 years, the Sharia Council only started in the 1980s, Jews are about 50 years ahead.”

Hasan was part of a delegation which visited the Federation Beth Din in Hendon last year. He said: “We were shown around the courtroom and learned about the aspects of Jewish law.”

Meetings have also been held with the Three Faiths Forum. Rabbi David Hulbert, Executive member of its East London branch, said: “They were interested in the way our Berth Din works as we have experience in this. We told them how synagogues are grouped together and accept the authority of a particular Beth Din.

“There is nothing stopping them doing this, they are free under the arbitration act to do it. They must organise themselves into groups of mosques and agree to abide by rulings of the Sharia council.

“They do not want to impose Sharia law on non-Muslims, they are just interested in regularisng marriage and divorce.”

Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad, one of the judges at Leyton’s Islamic Sharia Council, said the problem is that Sharia court decisions are not enforceable, “We need a few amendments in personal law. Currently if people don’t like one decision they can go to another sharia court.

“If we were regularised decisions would be binding and we could solve more problems.”

He criticised the hostile reaction to the Archibishop of Canterbury’s remarks on Sharia Law, “People don’t realise we already have aspects of Sharia Law in the UK such as dietary laws regarding Halal meat.”

(Pictured Dr Suhaib Hasan, head of the Sharia Council, Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad and Rev. Stuart Meyers, minister of the Waltham Forest Hebrew Congregation)

‘Beth Din not above the law’

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