UK Impact

Crown judge will rule on sharia cases in court set up by hardline cleric who led demonstration against Charlie Hebdo

  • Judge Shamim Qureshi is a highly respected jurist at Bristol Crown Court
  • He is also the leading legal figure at the Sharia Muslim Arbitration Tribunal 
  • Judicial authorities granted Judge Qureshi permission to sit on the MAT
  • The MAT was founded by hardline cleric Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi 

A Muslim Crown Court judge has been granted permission to sit on a ‘Sharia court’ to rule on disputes such as marriage breakdowns in accordance with Islamic principals.

Judge Shamim Qureshi, who ordinarily sits at Bristol Crown Court has been granted permission by judicial authorities to act as the ‘presiding judge’ at the controversial Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT).

The ‘court’ was established in 2007 by hardline cleric Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, who was a leading figure in protests against Charlie Hebdo magazine after 11 of their journalists were massacred by Muslim extremists.

According to the Telegraph, Home Secretary Theresa May is set to launch an independent review into the MAT following allegations that the Muslim court undermined the rights of women.

Campaigners have claimed the tribunal, which is based in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, is discriminatory towards women and often rules unfairly in favour of men.

According to the tribunal’s website, it specialises in Islamic divorce, inheritance law and Islamic wills, family meditation and mosque dispute resolution.

It was established under the 1996 Arbitration Act on a statutory basis and as a result its decisions can be upheld by English courts.

 In 2008,  in its first ruling, MAT decided an inheritance case involving three sisters and two brothers.  in accordance with standard Sharia principles, the male heirs should be given twice as much money as the women.

According to the Telegraph there is no suggestion that Judge Qureshi has been involved in any controversial decisions with the Tribunal.

However, in March 2015 he ordered hardline Christian preacher Mike Overd to pay a £200 fine and pay £250 compensation after the former paratrooper quoted offensive passages from the Bible concerning homosexuality in public.

The Muslim Appeals Tribunal ruled that male heirs in an inheritance dispute should receive double the amount of money compared with their sisters, (picture posed by model)

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