Parallel legal systems an affront to women’s rights

Parallel legal systems an affront to women's rights

Today, over 300 abused women mostly of Muslim and other minority faiths – issued a powerful statement against parallel legal systems based on fundamentalist religious codes. Their voices have not been heard in a debate that has overwhelmingly focused on religious identity politics rather than women’s rights and access to justice.

Pragna Patel writing in the Guardian today “These women remind us of the inherent dangers faced by all vulnerable minority women when religious fundamentalists masquerade as “guardians of faith” in order to take control of personal and family relationships. They speak out against the forces that would squeeze out the richness of cultural diversity and the life-affirming values of tolerance, humanity and compassion. As they put it, their ability to freely share and partake in diverse religious and secular traditions, creates “small pieces of happiness” in otherwise relentlessly difficult circumstances.”

To read the full article: Sharia courts have no place in UK family law. Listen to women who know

BME women join forces to challenge the implementation of Parallel Legal systems in the UK, read the full statement published in openDemocracy today: The Sharia debate in the UK: who will listen to our voices?

“We are compelled to voice our alarm about the growing power of religious bodies such as Sharia Councils and their bid for control over our lives. We oppose any religious body – whether presided over by men or women – that seeks to rule over us: because they do not have any authority to speak or make decisions on our behalf and because they are not committed to women’s rights and social justice.”

Are you a victim of violence and abuse or concerned about the issues mentioned, join our 300 signatories and make your voice be heard, click here to add your name to the statement BME Women raise their voices against Parallel legal systems


  1. Lets also be careful of the forces of Hindutva who also have a absolute control over hindu women and children. Temples and mandirs are notorious for dictating on how a woman’s life should be especially with dowry system. These hindu men and women have the authority to be the spokes person for the Indian community not only in the UK but also here in the USA and Canada. They tend to rub shoulders with the politicians and other religious leaders.
    It is time for the British government to put their foot down and say no to Sharia Law or other laws that would parallel legal systems. Defund organizations and schools that are religious based and allow students to attend public schools where girls can access resources and gain personal freedom.

  2. I am an old white woman and am very worried that Islam and sharia are inimical to females. The males of this religion are misogynistic believing that males are superior and women exist only to do their bidding with horrific penalties imposed for any infringement.