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19 May 2011

Sharia already in Sydney, say Muslim leaders

970984-sharia.jpgSHARIA is already being practised in western Sydney, with hundreds of religious divorces granted by imams.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has asked a Federal Government inquiry into multiculturalism to permit sharia, especially in divorce cases.
But a sheik and Muslim leaders yesterday said sharia was already being used to end hundreds of marriages a year. Sharia is also being used by imams in cases of business disputes and neighbourhood fights.

"If the Government and politicians cannot recognise this as essential, it should no longer accuse the Australian Muslim community of intentionally living in enclaves," the submission said.

Sheik Moussaab Legha, from the Islamic Welfare Centre in Lakemba, in Sydney's west, said panels of imams oversaw hundreds of sharia divorces at a mosque in the city.

They first try to persuade the couple to stay married, Sheik Legha said.

If a woman pursues a divorce in the Family Court but is not religiously divorced under sharia, the Muslim community and countries with sharia still see her as married.

Sheik Legha said people who are divorced under sharia by imams at the Greenacre mosque receive a certificate. "It is after the Family Court. The religious way needs to be finalised," he said.

"Most of the time it is like a normal courtroom. You have the imams on one table, you have the family of the woman, you listen to both [sides], to the problems."

University of Technology Sydney academic Jamila Hussain said religious divorces were carried out at two mosques because for some women a Family Court divorce is not enough.

"Religious divorces are basically for women whose husbands can't be found or they refuse to divorce them," she said.

"There is just no way they can get a divorce unless they can get a religious divorce."

Muslim community advocate Keysar Trad has witnessed a sharia divorce in Sydney but he said sharia law was also being used to settle workplace and neighbourhood disputes.

"Really, anything that does not have a criminal element," Mr Trad said of the use of sharia law by Sydney imams.

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/national/sharia-law-applied-secret...

07:02 Posted in AUSTRALIA | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |

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