Britain, Sharia Law and subjugation of Women

Britain, Sharia Law and subjugation of Women


Some aspects of anti-woman Sharia law are to be accepted by judicial system in Britain. The so called "guidelines about will" allow lawyers to draw the will for their Muslim clients according to Islamic Sharia law. Thus, Muslim women in Britain will be deprived from equal inheritance legally based on their own ‘culture’ and ‘belief’ in a so called democratic framework. This time, the step by step implication of religious reactionary law is to be formalized in a western country under the name of "individual" rights and "freedom of choice" based on "different needs".

It is said that this guideline is only applicable with the consent of both parties. But the question is that in the framework of patriarchal Islamic beliefs and thoughts how much women are authorised and how far they are allowed to decide their own interest? Since in Islam the obedience of women to men is considered as one of their most basic duties, would it be a difficult job to force women to do their so called ‘religious duty’?

Islamic judicial system is based on Sharia law which is derived from the Koran and the Hadith (sayings and traditions related to (Prophet) Mohammed) and is involved in all social and personal issues. According to this law in a family son inherits twice as much as a daughter. Since men are the property owner of the family, a Muslim married woman inherits only one sixth of "her husband" properties and non-Muslims who married to Muslim men will not inherit at all.

Currently there are around 85 Islamic Sharia courts in Britain. One of the judges (Dr Suhaib Hasan), in Leyton Islamic Sharia Council (the oldest and one of the most active Islamic Council in Britain), wants to introduce a panel in which women could be stoned to death for "adultery" and thieves be amputated.  In their website it is also said that: ''
Though the Council is not yet legally recognised by the authorities in the UK, the fact that it is already established, and is gradually gaining ground among the Muslim community… are all preparatory steps towards the final goal of gaining the confidence of the host community in the soundness of the Islamic legal system.'' (The Telegraph, 7 August2011).

According to all religions, including Islam, women "naturally" are "created" inferior to men so they do not deserve the right to make any decision or take possession of even their own bodies. The main and "divine" share of women in the highly gendered-base and oppressive division of labour in Islam is just to satisfy men's sexual needs, give birth to and raise children for "men" in order to ‘spread Islam’. Sharia law will find its true meaning and concept only when it can serve to suppress women and ensure their subordinate status and consolidate patriarchal power. As the form of oppression is more violent, more backward and more oppressive; then these laws will be considered more Islamic by the law makers.

The essence of this law (inheritance law) is best understood when it is put alongside with other laws in a contents that serves the overall interest of religious rules.

Thus, the inheritance law is not separable from stoning a woman for having sex with another man or killing a woman in the name of protecting the "honour" (read "Property") of the men in family. It is not separable from depriving women from the right to divorce and child custody. It is not separable from depriving them from the right to choose what to wear and how to wear and stripping them from the right to conduct their own personal life, to control their own body or to choose to be or not to be a mother.

There is no doubt that approving patriarchal power relations and paving the way for subjugating, possessing and commoditizing women’s body and systematically oppressing women is nothing new in a system in which women’s oppression is a power pillar and is a condition for their survival. Not only have western powers acknowledged in the past the religion as a whole and Islamic sharia and customs, but also have backed and supported the patriarchal Islamic regimes suppressing and enslaving women in its most backward and ferocious forms in the Middle East and North Africa. Furthermore, under the name of "women's liberation", they have also set up and strengthen the fundamentalist forces and helped the formation of religious fundamentalist regimes and the spread of religious ideologies that woman’s oppression and subjugation is at its core. Such fundamentalist forces which were supported particularly in the Middle East and North Africa to serve the goal of imperialists to suppress and exploit people and to prevent the spread of revolutionary thinking.

 The imperialists’ occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and consequently the formation of the Islamic regimes clearly showed that how these two outmoded poles hand in hand attacked women’s basic rights and recognised Islamic Sharia law as one of their first move. The numerous cases of honour killings and violence against women in these countries which is also published in the western media are clear evidences for such brutality. The defeat of Iranian revolution in 1978 that brought the fundamental reactionary religious regime into power showed that how attacking the individual rights and step by step implementation of sharia law was initialised by attacking women. This reactionary regime had nothing for women except suppression and violence in order to consolidate itself and caused more misery for the country and the people, meanwhile the imperialists’ power remained silent and witnessed all this to happen with satisfaction.

 Subordination of women in different forms such as considering their body as a commodity or as means of production in both "modern" and "traditional" forms is a basic necessity for the capitalist imperialism to function. Profits from women's trade and so called sex industry, their cheap labour, production and reproduction of labour force and its importance for functioning and interest of the capital, is something that cannot be ignored by this system. This is the logic that allows them to embrace and reinforce any ideology that does not have any contradiction with its main pillar of oppression and exploitation, and on the other side to oppose strongly any idea for women’s liberation. Thus, concession to the religions to intensely oppress women, imprison people’s thought and suppress the progressive seculars all around the world is crucial for all the imperialists’ blocs in order to form a unity with the religious fundamentalist.

Hence, our task, not only is to expose the true nature of these anti -people and anti-woman  so called democratic capitalist states, but also to expose the true nature of religion as the most important ideological tool to oppress masses and particularly women in a systematic way.  Religious fundamentalism and imperialism are two outmoded poles that their existence and the functioning of their system is impossible without women’s oppression in various forms and in fact each of them will strengthen the other in order to consolidate their rule and apply their reactionary ideas.

Our task is to struggle against the outlooks that are stupefying and distorting the thinking of oppressed masses which give them false, unrealistic, unscientific and backward definition about the world and its dynamics and the forms of its development and replace them with an outlook that has a scientific, definition about the world and will make a real, true, revolutionary, advanced changes possible for the society; a struggle that first of all opposes the traditional and anti-women ideas and the old relations of property ownership. Breaking with these two will pave the way for building for the emancipation of all humanity through a conscious revolution to overthrow the old rotten system and build a new society.   


8March Women Organisation (Iran-Afghanistan)     

May 2014