What price the rule of law?

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As we all know, the fundamentals of a free society and a successful economy are the rule of law, property rights, and enforceable contracts.  But above all, the Rule of Law.  That is why many concerned citizens worry about the spread of alternative legal systems, and especially of Sharia Law, which is applied increasingly.

Of course citizens are entitled to reach private agreements between themselves, provided that that does not involve any breach of the Law of the Land.  So in theory there can be no objection to two Muslims agreeing to settle a dispute according to Sharia Law and under the ægis of their Imam (again, provided that the Sharia Law solution is consistent with the Law of the Land).  But in practice, there are serious concerns that within the Muslim community, great social and cultural pressure may be put on individuals, and especially on women, to “agree” to a Sharia solution, especially in family matters, when left to a free choice, they might decide otherwise.

But I must confess that I was a bit shocked to read a story in the Daily Mail, which reports that a Muslim preacher attempted to strangle his 16-year-old daughter when she refused an arranged marriage, and threatened to murder her, but was excused a custodial sentence on the grounds of his strong family, cultural and religious convictions.  The Mail reports: “Sentencing Hussain, Judge Michael Leeming said: ‘You’re a man of high standing in the local Asian community and take your family, culture and religion very seriously”.

Apparently we have created a legal precedent that we are entitled to break the law (or to be treated leniently when we break the law) because of “strong religious and cultural convictions”.  This is intolerable.  The Law of the Land must be the same for all, or it ceases to have value and to command respect.  How long before someone recreates an ancient religion requiring human sacrifice, and demands an exception to the law against murder based on religious belief?

It may well be that Abid Hussain takes his family, culture and religion very seriously.  Perhaps Judge Leeming should take the Rule of Law equally seriously.

But it’s not just Sharia Law.  I was struck by a story in the Daily Telegraph of August 19th, headlined “Addicts have a human right to take drugs, say peers”.  The added twist here is that the peers’ opinion is based on European Human Rights Conventions, and in particular — you guessed it — on “the right to private and family life”.  I very much doubt that those who drafted these high-flown conventions ever imagined for a moment that “the right to a private life” necessarily included the right to break the law in private.  Does the right to a private and family life include the right of Abid Hussain, privately and in the bosom of his family, to assault his daughter and threaten to murder her?  I think not.

As a libertarian, I think there is a legitimate debate to be had over drug laws, and I think that a well-thought-out legalisation policy could well take the profit out of the illicit drugs trade, and thus, counter-intuitively, reduce use and reduce harm.  But that’s a debate for another day.  If we believe in the Rule of Law, then it must apply equally to every citizen, regardless of religion, culture or addiction status.

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26 Responses to What price the rule of law?

  1. omanuel says:

    Jonathan Sacks was right. This 1945 plan to ignore the rule of law and to rule the world instead by deceit is now unraveling, thanks to Climategate, economic and political scandals:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/STALIN'S_SCIENCE.pdf

  2. PJ says:

    Roger you are repeating what I have been saying for years insomuch that the laws of THIS land are the laws that all who settle here should abide by. it matters not that Muslim’s wish to implement Sharia law, they, are here. If (as Vladimir Putin states) they wish to abide by sharia law then they should take themselves tyo a land that accepts sharia law!
    All that Camoron and his cronies are doing by allowing such rubbish as ‘religious acceptance/belief’ for heinous crimes committed in the name of ‘their particular God’ is weakening our basic society.
    Also, it would seem that ‘they’ seem to have endless human rights, yet we seem to have less & less. We now know that Mr Camoron is a nematode who stands up to no one & (worse still) for no one!
    There is only one thing on the horizon for this country….. and that is an uprising!

  3. Anne says:

    You are far too late Roger to alter “TODAY” what has been rubbished, forgotten or hidden etc ‘Yesterday’. When we as a family living on the outskirts of Manchester were bombed out in the last War, we came to live with relatives in Stafford-we never went back to Manchester but we settled here and although schooling was very different here-we had and did to get used to it.
    What I am saying is-now that we are in the present EU and those WE foolishly elect want to pay foreigners to Govern us, obviously FOREVER-those foreigners will never allow us to go back to our own Common Law Constitution. WE ALL will have to obey those Treaties ratified and be Governed by the EU-forever unless we can some-how get away from them VERY soon. However, as all three major Political Parties want to remain in the EU-FOREVER-there is very little chance of making changes. Had the people put their Country and its FREEDOM in the last General Election and filled that House of Commons with UKIP-there may have been a chance of freedom, I now believe now that one chance has goner-we may never get out of the present EU and what is to come. (And I believe you know Roger, what is indeed to come if we do not exit from the EU soon. Unless, perhaps some-one else comes up with other ideas.

    Sadly Roger, your first two lines highlights the problems we all face-but is there any chance of ever allowing the UK “Rule of Law” to be for ALL-everyone- no matter what religion, etc? Tell us what indeed is to be?

  4. Jane Davies says:

    How has this been allowed to happen….why are the indigenous people of the United Kingdom not protesting in the streets about this. Is this why millions died in two world wars so that this can happen? I’m apoplectic with rage.

    http://www.breitbart.com/london/2015/07/02/uks-first-female-sharia-judge-we-cant-ask-muslims-not-to-have-more-than-one-wife/

    • omanuel says:

      Your anger is well justified. We have been manipulated for seventy years by a master propaganda artist, JS

    • George Morley says:

      I agree with the judge that we can’t ask Muslims not to have more than one wife but we can tell them that they cannot have more than one or they are breaking the Law of the Land that they have chosen to live in !
      Just who do these people think they are ?
      Would they allow the same situation in their country of origin – I think not.

  5. catalanbrian says:

    I agree that in Britain Shariah should not take precedent over English law but of course if, as you say, people of the Islamic faith wish to voluntarily apply Sharia to their own disputes that is fine. It is no different to any other set of rules followed by members of a particular faith. This story is a typical Daily Mail anti Islam story and,whilst I cannot condone Abid Hussein’s behaviour the crime that he committed was hardly one that merited a prison sentence (and don’t think that for one moment I approve of men assaulting women) and the judge, I believe, acted wisely in this case. I am surprised to see that you, a representative of the people, see fit to fan the flames of anti Islamic feelings by posting this.

    On the matter of the drugs issue I think that you will find that the peers making these suggestions are an informal committee and that there is very little chance that their proposals will be taken any further. Why therefore do you raise this issue, is it because you wish to scare the readers of your blog? Or do you have some other agenda. I add that I agree with you that there does need to be a debate over the use of recreational drugs but I cannot see how your scaremongering comments assist in this.

    • Jane Davies says:

      He tried to strangle his daughter, in my opinion that is attempted murder and the lightest level (Level 3) of that crime is jail time…..this info is from the CPS.

      “Level 3

      Other spontaneous attempt to kill

      Nature of offence: Serious and long term physical or psychological harm
      Starting point: 15 years custody
      Sentencing range: 12 – 20 years custody
      Nature of offence: Some physical or psychological harm
      Starting point: 12 years custody
      Sentencing range: 9 – 17 years custody
      Nature of offence: Little or no physical or psychological harm
      Starting point: 9 years custody
      Sentencing range: 6 – 14 years custody.”

      That this vile man escaped proper justice (and justice for his daughter) is an insult to every law abiding citizen. Then to add to this insult he escaped a jail sentence because to quote the Judge ‘You’re a man of high standing in the local Asian community and take your family, culture and religion very seriously” is nothing short of an outrage….a proper sentence would have sent a message to all religious zealots that there is no hiding place when it comes to the laws of the land, instead it sends the message that if one commits a crime that is based on ones religious beliefs then that’s OK, there is no punishment.

      So Brian if someone tried to strangle you, or a member of your family, you are of the opinion that “it was hardly” (a crime) “that merited a prison sentence”?

      • catalanbrian says:

        There was no evidence that he “tried to strangle his daughter” and that is why the charge was “assault” and not attempted murder. I seem to remember that Nigella Lawson was grabbed by the throat by her then husband, Charles Saatchi and no prosecution followed, let alone a conviction, despite the hard photographic evidence. He got away with a police caution, but presumably that’s OK because he is a rich white man. In answer to your final question when it comes to my family I would not want any special treatment, so, yes.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      Catalanbrian: You ignore the issue of Moslem women intimidated by their cultural milieu. And when a House of Lords proposal makes headline news, I think I’m entitled to refer to it as evidence of the sort of thinking that passes for respectable amongst the Establishment. No apologies, I’m afraid.

      • catalanbrian says:

        I did not expect an apology. As regards your first point forced marriage has nothing to do with Islam, as you would like your readers to believe. Forced marriage, which I thoroughly disagree with, exists in non Moslem cultures , although you and the rest of the anti Islam brigade would like us to believe that it is a crime committed only by Moslems. Arranged marriage is a different thing, and for hte record I have no particular gripe with that, provided both parties are content with that. And, finally, it was not a “House of Lords proposal” but a proposal by an informal committee consisting of a few people who happen to be members of the House of Lords.

  6. George Morley says:

    But catalanbrian You say “I agree that in Britain Shariah should not take precedent over English law but of course if, as you say, people of the Islamic faith wish to voluntarily apply Sharia to their own disputes that is fine.”
    How does this fit if the individual is a British citizen and a Muslim that is being abused, threatened or physically assaulted by another Muslim ?
    Does this not count ? Is it acceptable ?

  7. afwheately says:

    Roger, I agree with all you say.

    We are asked “what is it to be British”. Well, part of being British is to obey the law of the land.

    If you wish to debate the legalisation of so-called recreational drugs I will give you a piece of my mind on that occasion.

  8. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Anybody can break any law in private…and hope that evidence of it doesn’t break out publicly. Too often it does though. In the case of so called learned preachers/clerics such activity wouldn’t happen we would expect. It does though, routinely to their own family members and they easily export that problem to a place they know is near lawless…Pakistan.

    Such people are hardly to be respected as learned of their faith where violence is a significant tool of their trade. Unfortunately for us (the public) their community does not deal with them as we ask and would expect. And we the public are left exposed to it by the weakness of those who purportedly serve the law in Uk. Nothing wise about it at all!

    Saying that the Daily Mail reporting a court case is anti Islam as in this case is a sure sign of severe mental illness I think.

    When problems are encountered in life we expect them to be dealt with and go away largely. Not so with this belief system…Choudary!

  9. DICK R says:

    The lefties are the biggest cheerleaders for sharia law until it reaches the parts that effectively deal with thieves and murderers .

  10. ian wragg says:

    Well done the Czechs only refusing to take Muslims refugees. It’s about time our miserable lot did the same. I wonder how many IS sympathisers are amongst the hoards massing in Calais.

    • Jane Davies says:

      I have said the very same…a really good way to enter the country, lie low until they have an army then attack from within. Then maybe, when it’s too late, the idiots in Parliament will realise what open borders really mean. Churchill must be spinning in his grave.

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        Spain has a massive amount of spare accommodation…so why don’t they all go there? They could be well looked after while the spanish suffer badly. Wouldn’t that be nice?

    • catalanbrian says:

      Hoards? I am not sure what you consider to be a hoard, let alone hoards, but I cannot see that 3,000 or so can be either, nor can I see that a group of 3,000 people is capable of “massing”.

  11. W*T H*L*B*T says:

    Reblogged this on Rnm101's Blog and commented:
    One Law For All. No Religious Exceptions.

  12. Ian Terry says:

    No wonder they are queuing up to get over here!!!

    When I lived in Spain there was only one way THEIR WAY.

    Their rules their lauguage their everything.

    Too bloody true no exceptions if you want to live here you live it our way.

    If you do not want to abide by our rules and regulations then that is fine, THe second word is off..

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