Muslim men having ’20 children each’ because of polygamy, peer claims
Baroness Cox, a cross-bench peer, says that Sharia Law is leading to ‘shocking’ discrimination against Muslim women.
By Steven Swinford, Deputy Political Editor
10:00PM BST 23 Oct 2015
Muslim men in some communities are having up to 20 children each because of polygomy and the rise of “religiously sanctioned gender discrimination” under Sharia Law, peers have warned.
Baroness Cox, a cross-bench peer, highlighted a series of “shocking” examples of the impact of Sharia law on Muslim women in Britain as she called for them to be given greater protection under equality legislation.
She disclosed one case in which a 63-year-old man tried to divorce his 23-year-old wife and arrange her marriage to a Pakistani man who needed a visa.
He asked a gynaecologist to “repair the hymen” of his wife so she could remarry, and stood to make £10,000 “for effecting the arrangement”.
“Such shocking cases surely cannot be allowed to continue,” she said. “The rights of Muslim women and the rule of law in our land must be upheld.”
In other examples, Baroness Cox revealed that Muslim men divorce their wives by simply saying or writing “I divorce you” three times.
She added: “My Muslim friends tell me that in some communities with high polygamy and divorce rates, men may have up to 20 children each.
Clearly, youngsters growing up in dysfunctional families may be vulnerable to extremism and demography may affect democracy.”
She put forward proposals to close a loophole in the Equality Act which she said enables Sharia courts to practice sexual discrimination.
Baroness Deech, another cross-bench peer, supported the bill and said: “We must not tolerate the sweeping of violence against women or children under the carpet by any religion in the name of faith.”
Labour’s Baroness Donaghy, a former chair of the arbitration service Acas, also backing the Bill, said it was not that long ago that women were unequal before the law.
“We cannot afford to go backwards and tolerate a situation where any woman is living in fear and isolation.
“More needs to be done. This is not confined to Sharia law or Muslim religion. These parallel laws which discriminate against women have existed and may still exist in other religions.”
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of MigrationWatch, said Britain was entirely different to Muslim countries, adding: “Those who come must accept that.”
The independent crossbench peer said: “We must be prepared to insist that there can be only one law.
“We must get away from what I call the Rotherham complex where the authorities were so afraid of offending a minority community that they turned a blind eye to the appalling abuse of young mainly British girls.”
Lord Faulks, the justice minister, highlighted a government review of the operation of Sharia Councils but said that new laws were not needed as there are already protections in common law and existing legislation.
AT A GLANCE
David Cameron’s plan to tackle extremism
- Tackle violent and non-violent extremism
- Tackling segregation in communities
- Madrassas to be shut down if they are found to be teaching intolerance to children
- No more passive tolerance of female genital mutilation and forced marriages of children
- Major review to determine whether extremists have infiltrated British institutions