The British Humanist Association has called on Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, to repudiate reports that she is “sympathetic” to the idea of introducing elements of sharia family law in the UK.
Commenting on press reports following the minister’s meeting with Muslim leaders, Hanne Stinson, BHA Chief Executive, said it was “fundamental to the principle of equality before the law that the same rights and processes of law be available to all” and that “this would automatically rule out any possibility of delegating the rights of some citizens to unaccountable religious authorities.”
The BHA also pointed out in their letter to Ms Kelly that human rights attach to individuals, not to groups, and that this provides vital protection for individual freedoms and responsibilities.
Notes to editors:
The full text of the BHA’s letter to Ruth Kelly can be read here
further information or comment, contact Hanne Stinson on 020 7079 3583 or 07764 947249
It was widely reported in the media on 15 August that Dr Syed Pasha had said that Ruth Kelly was ‘looking sympathetically’ at his request that elements of sharia law be given legal force in the UK.
The British Humanist Association represents and supports the non-religious. It is the largest such organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief. In education, this means an end to the expansion of faith schools and of academies controlled by religious interests, and the promotion of a system of inclusive and accommodating community schools.
The BHA was recently involved in a successful international campaign to prevent the introduction of sharia family law for Muslims in Canada.