Sharia courts operating in the UK are treating women as second-class citizens, a damning report has revealed.
The secretive Islamic tribunals, working mainly from mosques, settle financial and family disputes according to religious principles.
But the parallel justice system runs against the law of the land and is condemning British Muslim women to ‘marital captivity’ while failing to protect them from domestic violence, an independent study found.
In one controversial case, a sharia court refused to intervene even though a woman said her husband was denying her a divorce unless she gave him £10,000.
In another instance, a woman who claimed to be married to an abusive husband was told by a laughing judge: ‘Why did you marry such a person?’ Under Islamic law, men only need to say ‘I divorce you’ three times to separate from their wives while women need the sanction of clerics.
According to the report, a judge at an East London court told a couple who had already obtained a civil divorce that the paper counted for nothing.