Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills, reports the Telegraph.
The “ground-breaking guidance” by The Law Society will allow solicitors able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude non-Muslims altogether.
The documents, which would be recognized by Britain’s courts, will also bar children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs.
Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from inheritance under Sharia principles, which recognize only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes.
Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society, told the Telegraph the guidelines would promote “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system.
Some lawyers, however, described the instructions as “astonishing”, and Baroness Cox, who leads a Parliamentary campaign to protect women from religiously sanctioned discrimination, said it was a “deeply disturbing” development and pledged to raise the matter with ministers.
“This violates everything that we stand for,” she said. “It would make the Suffragettes turn in their graves.”
The guidelines were “quietly published this month and distributed to solicitors in England and Wales,” reveals the Telegraph. They suggest “deleting or amending standard legal terms and even words such as 'children' to ensure that those deemed “illegitimate” are denied any claim over the inheritance. They recommend that some wills include a declaration of faith in Allah which would be drafted at a local mosque, and hand responsibility for drawing up some papers to Sharia courts.
In recent years, London has been dealing with militant Muslim groups that terrorize parts of the city in an attempt to impose Sharia law on them. Local media report, on occasion, about confrontations between Islamists and innocent passersby in Muslim areas of the city, where signs have been put up demanding compliance with Sharia law.