UK Atheists Go All Anti-Sharia

I walked into a beehive of UK atheists looking for support of an anti-Sharia petition. I have no problem signing a petition if it is realistic and focused on a real problem, so I took a look at it. What I found was that much of the petition makes sense when it speaks to limiting the influence of external laws in the UK law system, but the focus of the petition is based on a paranoid fear of conditions simply not likely to happen.

To:
David Cameron
I demand that you take action to stop the ingress of Sharia Law into the UK. If Sharia Law and Sharia courts are allowed to spread throughout our country, the whole system will become undermined. The United Kingdom is an amazing, multicultural society and we must all strive to keep it this way. We should welcome people from all cultures. However in order to maintain a fair and equal society we MUST have one set of laws applied to every single resident of the country, regardless of race, religion or anything else.
I demand action, steps must be taken to ensure a level and fair legal system. Religious beliefs have no place in a country’s legal system, except for providing protection to innocent people from being abused or attacked because of those beliefs. If you really are a “man of the people”, you will ensure that all people have the same rights and protection from ONE system of Justice. This must be stopped now before it is too late. Legislation must be put in place NOW to prevent contradictory systems of law from being implemented within the UK. Put an end to Sharia Law in the UK now.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Only the first two and last two sentences really focus on the purpose of the petition, the rest is an attempt to separate the petition from any implied bigotry. Even the opening paragraph of the website hosting the petition, presented in highly visible bold text, attempts to sidestep the implication of undue bias.

This petition is aimed at preventing Sharia Law from becoming an accepted part of the legal system in the UK. We want to be very clear that neither this petition, nor Sharia Law has anything to do with race. This petition is in regard to a set of laws based around the beliefs of a religion. This country already has its own system of laws. They are designed to provide protection to all citizens of this country in a fair and equal way. This must include taking each person’s cultural differences into account, but also must include all people under the exact same set of laws.

When I saw the first tweet my thought was some Sharia law was being incorporated into the current UK legal system so I asked for clarification.

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You can see that Twitter limitations lead to my belief this was about Sharia laws being incorporated into the fabric of UK civil law. This felt wrong so I started asking questions based on my understanding of the goals of the petition. After a couple of answers it became clear that the fear wasn’t of Sharia law being part of UK law but the UK lawmakers and the police ignoring UK Muslims being forced to follow Sharia law by vigilante enforcers. Or so I thought.

 

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Some information I was directed to watch/read.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9975937/Inside-Britains-Sharia-courts.html

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This was beginning to sound a lot like Heinlein’s abandoned areas in “I Will Fear No Evil”. I have to admit my skepticism was triggered pretty sharply. I was curious as to why the law enforcement agencies weren’t dealing with law infractions in the Muslim area of the UK like they do in other areas. If it was because of government reticence, then the petition could be refocused to address that issue, if it was because no UK laws were being broken, then the petition could be adjusted to encourage laws against assault and harassment be used to cover more.

 

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Then out of nowhere, the semantic arguments – arguments with no real weight – started appearing.

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Now, I can understand that devout religious people are convinced their particular religious text contains laws and conventions that are above the laws of the land, we have evidence of that with Islam and Sikh here in Canada, Christianity in the US with people like Kent Hovind the Dominionists and even fundamental Mormons, but because of how US, UK and Canadian laws are formed and enforced, those people are not exempt.  They can be and are prosecuted under current laws.

However, this really is an abuse of UK rape laws.

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As is happening in the Arab Spring, education, including that coming from the Internet, is encouraging people, especially women to buck the ridiculous aspects of religious law. The probability of Sharia law becoming accepted by the majority in the UK is microscopically small. Worrying about that, rather than about enforcement of current UK laws is a waste of effort.

For some strange reason, after I voiced that opinion through questions the conversation took a turn to how nasty Sharia law can be, as if I didn’t understand.

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OK, I get it, Sharia is a bad, bad set of religious laws, and should be condemned, especially where they directly hurt half of the population. But those Sharia laws are not in effect in the UK, nor are many of them even legal, so a petition to stop something that simply isn’t happening is a stupid waste of time. Change the petition to something a little more realistic.

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Everything becomes clear.

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Those damned Muslim immigrants are going to take over the country, scrap the current laws  and impose their Sharia law on all non-Muslims.

It might take them a while.

UK_religion.

The entire petition sounds very much like the overreaction several US States have experienced. While Sharia courts in the UK are making decisions for members of their religious culture, those decisions have no legal standing and are not likely to ever have legal standing.  The UK is one of the few modern western countries that have a recognized and official state religion, yet is as determined as the US is to keep the government secular and the legal system free of religiously based decisions.

Update:

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I can say nothing more, other than I’m embarrassed for these atheists.

 

2 Responses to “UK Atheists Go All Anti-Sharia”

  1. www.sswest.at/awstats/2008_05/ooqruyoq.asp Says:

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