A curious item has appeared on the website which is home to Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Sun, claiming to be an “exclusive”. Under the headline “Alert over dangers of Sharia”, hack Luke Heighton tells “STONING, whipping and amputations could become common punishments in the UK if hardline Sharia law is allowed to thrive, a peer has warned”.
The peer concerned is Baroness Cox (her photo is helpfully shown above the article), who is also quoted as saying “We do not at the moment have the most brutal punishments, but there are those who would like to bring them in”. Heighton adds that the peer “claims a rise in the number of British Muslims using [Sharia] ... could even lead to the destruction of democracy” (just a teensy bit OTT, then).
Hold it right there: Sharia law is used – as the piece concedes – for legal disputes, and by a small number of Muslims. That is rather different to criminal behaviour, and stoning, whipping and amputations fall most definitely under the latter. None of these could be made allowable, and nor is there any move to do so. But that hasn’t stopped the e-gannets at Mail Online from lifting the story and embellishing it.
Here, hack Tom Gardner attributes this remark to Baroness Cox: “Many Sharia courts are an institutional means of intimidation backed by death threats”. Really? One initially wonders why the good Baroness does not take her dossier of information to the authorities, before realising that she has significant previous on this kind of thing.
Baroness Cox brings a strongly Christian perspective to religious matters, being a past president of Christian Solidarity Worldwide and a patron of the Christian Institute. She has not been shy of causing controversy, having invited controversial Netherlands politician Geert Wilders to show a film widely denounced as Ismalophobic to the House of Lords (Wilders was denied entry to the UK).
But she may not be the expert on matters Islamic that some give her credit for: in a Lords debate following her question on “Honour based violence”, Muslim peer Baroness Afshar had to correct her assumptions. Her intervention bears citing.
“My Lords, in Islam there is no such thing as an honour crime. For 14 centuries, according to Islamic law and Koranic teaching, marriage has been based on a personal agreement between two individuals who have to sign a contract. The parents have no right to dispose of their children in these circumstances or to define whom they marry. It is a matter of choice for the man and woman to decide whether they wish to ask for their parents' blessing, but it is not a Koranic teaching”.
Baroness Cox is not the authority on Islam that some believe. And Sun hacks need to engage brain before spouting their “Sharia horror” drivel.