Sharia Zone: ’Religious Police’ Patrol UK Streets
2013-01-24 0:00

By Elizabeth Leafloor |

RT reports on an incident which has caused simmering anger in an already volatile situation in England:

Police in the UK have arrested two men who are said to be part of a vigliante group calling themselves the ’Muslim Patrol’. Clips posted on Youtube show the youths walking around East London confronting people and telling them to obey Sharia law.
Source: RT

This isn’t the first incidence of the imposition of Sharia Law in the UK. The DailyMail reported in 2011:

Islamic extremists have launched a poster campaign across the UK proclaiming areas where Sharia law enforcement zones have been set up.

Communities have been bombarded with the posters, which read: ‘You are entering a Sharia-controlled zone – Islamic rules enforced.’

The bright yellow messages daubed on bus stops and street lamps have already been seen across certain boroughs in London and order that in the ‘zone’ there should be ‘no gambling’, ‘no music or concerts’, ‘no porn or prostitution’, ‘no drugs or smoking’ and ‘no alcohol’.

Hate preacher Anjem Choudary has claimed responsibility for the scheme, saying he plans to flood specific Muslim and non-Muslim communities around the UK and ‘put the seeds down for an Islamic Emirate in the long term’.

In the past week, dozens of streets in the London boroughs of Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets and Newham have been targeted, raising fears that local residents may be intimidated or threatened for flouting ‘Islamic rules’.

Seizing control: Activist Jamaal Uddin puts up one of the Sharia stickers in Leyton, in the East London borough of Waltham Forest.

Regarding the recent video one could question - who are these unidentified men who are inflaming and stirring up tension? Fundamentalist Muslims making a spectacle? Or provocateurs? Their goals could either be to reaffirm Muslim presence and ’power’ in their community, or it could be the opposite - to vilify and demonize the same community in the eyes of the British public.

It’s no surprise that western countries take issue with any kind of local (or widespread) implementation of Sharia Law, the moral code and religious law of Islam. It’s shocking in a modern western society to see ’religious police’ patrolling the streets, enforcing a version of law and morality that is in conflict with the majority in the country.

Tolerance of religious law is a hot debate right now, with the ideas of racism and prejudice being thrown around in the mix. However, Anne Marie Waters from writes:

Due to colonial guilt, we in Europe are loath to ’tell other people what to do’ so we stay away from making judgments on the practices of cultures and religions we deem alien to ourselves. But what if those practices are against the law? What if they are violent, misogynistic, homophobic and brutal? This is leaves us in an uncomfortable place. As a society, we reject violence and misogyny and homophobia, but we also reject racism and imperialism and on these matters, we are convinced that we have met with a clash and we must now choose between rejecting misogynist violence or rejecting racism. This is not the choice of course; the opposite is true.

By opposing sharia law, we are standing up for the right of Muslim women and girls not to be pressured, pushed or coerced in to attending a sharia council or tribunal where their rights will be severely undermined. In sharia councils in Britain, a woman’s testimony is worth half of a man’s. In practice, this means she must produce a witness for anything she alleges or the man she opposes will automatically be believed. Domestic violence is the right of husbands and marital rape is ’impossible.’ Women have no right to divorce or child custody, and children live with their fathers from a preset age regardless of the consequences. This is happening while we watch. If this is what multiculturalism means, then we should reject it - we should insist that all women receive the same protection from violence, and all children. Instead, sharia is growing and is even hearing criminal cases [...]

With incidents like the ’sharia street patrol’ as in the video, the argument will grow more heated before a solution is found, undoubtedly. Some states in the US have effectively banned the practice of religious law. Living personally by a religious code is one thing - having religious code enforced upon you is another.

In a different vein, it’s interesting to see Britain uncomfortable with the possibility of cultural change and ’foreigners’ coming in and ’taking over’ the country, when that has indeed been the British Empire’s modus operandi for centuries.

However, journalist Norman Cousins once said, "History is a vast early warning system". Even if it seems hypocritical in some ways, Britain should learn from their own history to make the right decisions for the future.

By Elizabeth Leafloor ,

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