Daily Mail Online Monday June 29th 2009....At least 85 Islamic sharia courts are operating in Britain, a study claimed yesterday.
The astonishing figure is 17 times higher than previously accepted. The tribunals, working mainly from mosques, settle financial and family disputes according to religious principles. They lay down judgments which can be given full legal status if approved in national law courts.
'Under sharia, a male child belongs to the father after the age of seven, regardless of circumstances.' It said: 'Sharia courts operating in Britain may be handing down rulings that are inappropriate to this country because they are linked to elements in Islamic law that are seriously out of step with trends in Western legislation.'
Patrick Mercer, Tory MP for Newark and chairman of the Commons counter-terrorism sub committee, said: 'We have an established law of the land and a judiciary. Anything that operates otside that system must be viewed with great caution.'If crimes are going unreported to police, this will erode the authority of those who have to enforce our law. In a sovereign state there must be one law, and one law only.'Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: 'Everyone should be deeply concerned about the extent of these courts.