Thank you for your continued support of the One Law for All campaign against Sharia Law in Britain. Due to your support, our campaign is gaining in recognition and strength. As the new co-spokesperson of the campaign, I hope to help make us stronger still. Earlier in the year, the new head of the Muslim Council of Britain praised the spread of Sharia law in Britain. More recently the courts were lauded by the King of Abu Dhabi. With a rise in Sharia courts and tribunals handing down discriminatory and unfair decisions against women and children in particular, our work is more urgent than ever.
Below is an outline of the work we have done over the summer, as well as our future plans. We will continue this work until we bring about an end to Sharia and religious law. In order to do so though we need your support. If you can, please donate to the crucial work of our organisation by sending a cheque or paying via Paypal. We urgently need regular support that we can rely on and are asking for 100 donors to commit to at least £5-10 a month via direct debit. Details on the 100 Club can be found here.
RALLY IN CENTRAL LONDON AND REPORT ON SHARIA LAW
Several hundred people joined One Law for All on 20 June at Downing Street to show their opposition to Sharia and religious-based laws in Britain and elsewhere, and to demand universal rights and secularism.
A new report, “Sharia Law in Britain: A Threat to One Law for All and Equal Rights”, was published on the same day. Co-Spokesperson Maryam Namazie discussed it on BBC Breakfast. It was also mentioned in the Law Society Gazette and in an article by Maryam in the Guardian amongst others.
The report describes the nature of Sharia law and how it is being practiced widely in Britain – some Muslim Arbitration Tribunals are operating under powers provided by the Arbitration Act 1996 and as such, are legally enforceable. The report exposes the sham nature of the ‘consent’ and the religious freedom arguments. It gives recommendations as to how we can bring about an end to Sharia tribunals and other such courts in Britain such as the Sharia Councils. Recommendations include an amendment to the Arbitration Act as well as the formulation of a legal argument under the Human Rights Act, and a widespread campaign to highlight these courts and inform victims of their rights under British law.
SAVE SAKINEH MOHAMMADI ASHTIANI AND STOP STONING CAMPAIGN
During the summer, One Law for All focused heavily on the Iran stoning case and helped organise several events including 24 July International Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani Day and 28 August 100 cities against Stoning. In July, co-spokesperson Maryam Namazie was joined by Mina Ahadi, Peter Tatchell, and AC Grayling at a press conference in London, aimed at highlighting her case. In September, Maryam wrote a letter of complaint to OFCOM regarding the inaccurate reporting on the case and stoning in Iran on a BBC Sunday Morning Live programme. During the debate, only two people were invited to join via webcam – one from Tehran and the other from the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain - both of whom were in support of Sakineh’s stoning and or execution. Maryam who had been invited to participate was never brought on. Outrageously, the head of the Islamic Sharia Council defended stoning to death as a way of keeping society pure...
PROTEST THE POPE
Maryam gave a speech on Sharia and the need for secularism at the Protest the Pope rally in central London on 18 September. Other speakers included Johann Hari, Pragna Patel, Richard Dawkins and Peter Tatchell. Her speech can be found here.
In the upcoming months we plan to do the following:
ARBITRATION ACT AMENDMENT
A suggested amendment to the Arbitration Act is being formulated and sent to women’s, children’s, and human rights groups across the UK requesting their endorsement. The amendment will then be sent to all MPs in the House of Commons asking for it to be presented to the House for consideration. A meeting will be arranged with supportive MPs to highlight the amendment. A campaign will be initiated inviting people to contact their MP and request their support for the amendment.
‘ENEMIES NOT ALLIES’ REPORT AND SEMINAR
One Law for All is preparing a report and organising a seminar on ‘left wing’ organisations which have taken the side of or failed to condemn Islamists in political discourse, including Unite Against Fascism and The Respect Party. The report will also look at racist far Right groups such as the English Defence League and Stop Islamisation of Europe which are using concern over Sharia law to promote their racist and anti-immigrant agenda.
ART EXHIBITION AND COMPETITION
The deadline for entries to the second One Law for All art competition has passed. In November, One Law for All will hold a week long exhibition viewing at the Unit 24 Gallery in central London.
CONFERENCE ON SHARIA LAW, APOSTASY AND HUMAN RIGHTS
To coincide with International Human Rights Day on December 11, One Law for All will host a conference in conjunction with the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain and South Place Ethical Society, to discuss apostasy, human rights, and Sharia law. One Law for All will also publish a report on asylum law in the United Kingdom. It will argue that apostasy must be accepted as grounds for asylum and that this argument is grounded in both international and domestic law.
We also aim to organise an international conference on women’s rights in March 2011 and another conference on religion in December 2011.
Details of our events are to follow. Please visit our website for updates on events as well as speaking engagements taking place.
I look forward to working with you to end Sharia and religious laws here in Britain and everywhere.
Anne Marie Waters