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Unidentified Audience Member: What about the alternative judicial systems and alternative polygamy systems? [Which of those could you roll back] —
Baroness Caroline Cox: Well, they will be addressed by this law. Because the alternative polygamy — the alternative legal systems with regard to polygamy and bigamy was if we can deal with the issue of Sharia courts, then it’ll be illegal — one of the provisions of the law would be for any organization or individual to set themselves up as a quasi-judicial individual — that person would be actually — he would be potentially — it’d be a criminal offense, I think punishable up to five years in prison. So it would get to this quasi-pseudo-judicial system. And that should do away with the business of the unofficial marriages and the polygamy, and the bigamy.
Moving around, yes — and then, moving back, and then we’ll come round.
Unidentified Audience Member: Thank you so much. Really, your such a heroine.
Unidentified Audience Member: Two things — one, this seems to tie into what happened (inaudible). But even the Republican leadership wasn’t picking up on the fact that the public knew that they cared more about what mattered than the Republicans did — that we need to speak to the heart of people in both America and England, that they will respond. They’re waiting to hear the kind of bravery that you show us and that you lead us to.
And you were speaking about the police. We have a snippet of a film in [Walston] of an imam screaming in the streets of London these obscenities, these — vicious hatred. And as the police start closing in with their yellow battalions, groups are coming out from behind this imam. And the police see them coming toward them — this is about five years ago — and they start running and screaming. The police are running and screaming down the street. Run for your life, run for your life — that’s the police.
And this snippet comes from Dr. Charles Jenkins —
Baroness Caroline Cox: Yes.
Unidentified Audience Member: — who was in the Sudan. And I wondered if you knew him. He was there when they — and helped to divide the country, so that Southern Sudan would be free. Do you know Dr. Charles —
Baroness Caroline Cox: Certainly, by reputation. I’ve not had the privilege of meeting him, but I look forward to it.
Well, thank you for what you’ve just said. I mean, we have quite a lot of those examples. You put it more graphically than I did, about the way in which the militant extremists in the Islamic community are getting away with a lot of very violent and very aggressive behavior. And as you say, the police are fairly tolerant of it. And we have to begin to show that we are not prepared to accept that asymmetry of incitement to hatred, which is what it really is. Thank you for that example.
Yes, I’ll go — and I want to tell you a story in a moment, just to illustrate that. But I will take other questions first. Yes, please?
Frank Gaffney: Baroness Cox, Frank Gaffney. I want to say as well, thank you for this most inspiring testimonial to the problem and example of what a single individual can do about it. It’s really exemplary.
Coming back to Nina’s question — I just wanted to mention — talked a little bit about it yesterday — this business of foreign laws — not just Sharia but others, but particularly Sharia — being insinuated into our courts is not only a very serious matter, as you’ve very clearly seen and are trying to address in your system. But it’s true here as well. And it serves here as well as a vehicle, a teachable moment, as the President likes to say, to get people thinking about the larger problem and showing them there are things that can be done about it.
And as we spoke about after lunch, I wonder if you might just share with this audience what you did two weeks ago (inaudible) in hosting a group of legislators from Tennessee —
Baroness Caroline Cox: Yes.
Frank Gaffney: — involved in one of these (inaudible).
Baroness Caroline Cox: Thank you very much, Frank.
Yes, may I just say, Frank’s one of my heroes. And it’s a privilege to sit in the same room with you. And thank you for coming to listen to me. Because I was inspired and educated by you yesterday. But I have been for a long time. So it’s a privilege to be in the room with you, Frank. Thank you.
Just — is this happening in United States? Well, I think — please, we’ve all got to wake up and look out. But a couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of receiving in the House of Lords a group of senators from Tennessee. And they are deeply, deeply worried about what they see as infiltration in the state of Tennessee.
And one of the things that interested me was their analysis, not mine, that Islam is targeting the state of Tennessee. Because as I understand it, it’s the heart of your Bible belt. And therefore, it’s the heart of what should be a Christian religious resistance to the growth of Islam in your nation. And of course, if they could get Tennessee, then that would weaken the Bible belt, it would weaken that part of what should be a Christian resistance in United States. And they described [has] been a large influx of Muslims into Tennessee. They’ve been building a very large mosque, I gather. They already have their madrasas, and they’re politically very active.
And I think — and I don’t know the details of this, but there was some legislation that was going through the Senate, I think, to try and deal with terrorism. And they were trying to oppose that much-needed legislation. And so those senators came to Britain to learn from our experience, because we have lost more ground than you have.
And I admit I was deeply impressed by them. They were extremely responsible, serious, thoughtful, concerned politicians. And they were, I felt, very, very well motivated. One of them sat there and, looking extremely concerned, said — I don’t really want to be doing this at all. Mean, join the club, neither do I. But as he said, I’m doing this for my grandchildren. I don’t want them to have to face what I see happening around me. And if we don’t hold this line now, then — just as Archbishop Ben said — you know, our grandchildren are going to have to fight the battle we’ve not had the courage to fight.
So they were a very impressive group. And we were able to share what’s happening in the UK. They also were very interested in my draft bill and took that back with them to Tennessee, wondering whether that might not be a kind of way to address this growth of Sharia law in your nation. And one of the reasons why I think it is a very tactical and strategic and useful way of beginning to address this issue of Sharia law — the whole thing of which is incompatible with our fundamental values — is that the whole issue of women’s rights, and equality for women, is perhaps the hardest one to challenge. It should be an incontrovertible case.
And you should get — and might hope, and might get — the women’s movements on side. At the moment, the women’s movements are totally in with Islam, and the far Left is in with Islam right across the line. So we watch this space with interest to see what women’s movements are going to do in the UK. But the situation is so acute and so serious with regard to women’s rights in Britain — then this is a good place to start, to open up the broader discussion of this unacceptable and totally anti-democratic phenomenon that’s growing in our midst.
So they took back a copy of the bill and all our briefing papers to see whether that was one way in which they might begin to raise this issue back in Tennessee. It is happening in Tennessee.
And may I just say, just one other little example from your country — and it must be about nine or 10 years ago — I was in Macomb, in Western Illinois. And when I was there, this situation was going on around me. So I met the people concerned, or some of them. And there was a presumably tenured professor of history in University of — is it Western Illinois, in Macomb — this university in Macomb. And he had written a textbook, and, in his historic textbook, purported to report that when Columbus discovered the Americas, there were already minarets on the horizon.
Now, one might think that was funny, and one might think it was historically a little bit dubious. But that doesn’t matter. Because when you’re dealing with ideology, the truth doesn’t matter. And for Muslims, if they choose to believe or are led to believe there were minarets on the horizon, then that gives them an obligation to regain the land for Islam. Because once a land has been Islamic, then you have an obligation to regain it for Islam. So it was a clarion call to Muslims to regain America.
Now, an associate professor at the same university wrote an academic historic critique of that strange historical textbook. And not difficult, perhaps, to critique it in our academic terms. His wife was about to have a baby. She went to the hospital. And the obstetrician there was a Muslim. And he said — did your husband write that critique of my colleague’s textbook? She said yes. He said — right. Your baby will die. And he meant it. And they were terrified. And they were so terrified — and he meant it — that they just gave up their job, they sold their home, they lost themselves in anonymity of Chicago. That happened in Macomb when I was there.
So there is a lot of, already, people in place in your country. Someone with a tenured post in history who will write a textbook — there were minarets when Columbus arrived. That happened, I’m not dreaming it. So please, we all need to wake up. Yes?
Unidentified Audience Member: Do you think that our top administration, especially that is coming from the White House, is recognizing this problem adequately?
Unidentified Audience Member: Listen, I have my opinion (inaudible) I just want to make this [public here]. What, if anything, are they doing, if anything, you know? Where are the so-called grateful black leaders? And I’m sure that if it was a white group against the — enslavement of [some of the] blacks, we would have our Sharptons and Jacksons yelling and screaming bloody murder. Where is the black leadership in this country as well, the “normal” black leadership? And what, if anything, is our administration doing to recognize this problem? Is it because these are Muslims perpetrating this criminality on other people (inaudible)? I think if that’s the case, the public should know about it, and where Obama stands.
Baroness Caroline Cox: I cannot speak about United States. But what I will do is tell you a little story about United Kingdom. And you may be able to draw parallels. I think the parallels may well be there. But it was — I know this has been going [on] for a long time. And one has to give our Muslim friends the credit. I mean, they’ve been thinking long term, they’re playing the long game, they’re thinking strategically. And just like the communists, they’re putting people in place, and they’re just preparing the ground.
Way back in 1999, [now] 2011, a film was shown in Britain. And you will see the point of this with regard to leadership and political — the leadership from the top. Film was shown in Britain on our dispatches. And it showed two of our Islamist leaders, Sheikh Bakri al-Mohammad and Abu Hamza. And they were talking to a large group of Muslims in, of all ironic places, Friends Meeting House, the big Quaker meetinghouse in London, with hundreds of young men, hatchet-faced young men there. And they were declaiming — we don’t believe in the laws of this land, we only believe in the laws of Allah. We are fighting jihad in this country. We’re not going to waste our bullets on the infidels; we’re going to rip their intestines out. Well, that was rhetoric. And not very nice rhetoric, but — and this was all shown on — I’ve got the VHS to this day, if anyone wants to see it.
But then it turned serious. And it shows them teaching this group of several hundred young men terrorist tactics. Because it said — that’s just rhetoric; you got to do things. And they showed them how to put up nets with explosives to bring down a plane coming into a London airport. It was nets, balloons and explosives. It was called a Muslim anti-aircraft net. Got all the pictures of this.
Then turned to someone who’s experienced in munitions and said — is this feasible, or is it crazy? He said — well, you might be able to choose your plane, but you could bring down a plane. Then went back to these two Islamists addressing this huge hall of young men. And they said — well, that’s just one example. They’ve been fighting jihad in this country. Every one of you here must go and think of a similar terrorist tactic. It is kill, or be killed.
That was shown in 1999. Since then, we’ve had Robert Reid, the shoe-bomber, and so on.
Well, the next January, there was a debate in the House of Lords. And it was on international affairs. And there was a huge cast list of speakers of all famous people, ambassadors and former secretaries of state, and me, Tom Thumb. And out of a cast list of 32 speakers, I was the only one who mentioned Islam. Only one to mention Islam. Now, it might’ve been expected that I might. Because in a debate the previous two months, I had actually started to raise the subject.
Anyhow, it was a timed debate. And we have a list, so people know when speakers are coming on. As I stood up to speak, and I began to talk about this issue about the threat of international Islamism in our midst — for the first time ever in history of the Houses of Parliament, the microphones were jammed. You could not hear me. And about — it was a seven-minute time slot I think I had. About 30 seconds before the end of the time slot, the microphones came back on normally.
Well, actually, I spoke to a good friend of mine who is an expert in this matter, who happens to be an American. And I said, you know — what does that sound like to you? And he said — well, it’s obviously penetration. They’ve done three things — they’ve shown they can penetrate the security at what we call the Palace of Westminster, it’s an up-yours to democracy, and it’s a threat to me.
I went to our own authorities in United Kingdom. They just said — oh, it’s a faulty microphone. Well, the statistical likelihood of it being a faulty microphone, with two Houses of Parliament that have speaking and recording for decades and decades, for that one seven minutes, is pushing it a little bit.
Anyway, I tried to raise it — nothing happened. This was before 9/11. And then, that summer, someone who was looking at these affairs, a journalist, wrote an article in one of our Sunday papers. And he’d obviously been following this story. And he let out that the person or the firm responsible for security in the Houses of Parliament was a well-known Islamist, and that not only did his firm do security in the Houses of Parliament, but — of course, if you do security, you get access to everything inside the building — they also did the security provisions for other things, like our law courts, our Scotland Yard Metropolitan Police, British Airways, and one of our major oil companies.
Well, that was in summer. When Parliament resumed, I put down a parliamentary question. And I asked what were the implications for security for the Houses of Parliament, that the security was provided by this guy — his firm’s called IEDS — and for the other organizations. The reply I had was the ultimate either in British complacency or in, I think, criminal complicity — was — yes, it is true that he does provide security for these organizations. But there’s no cause for concern — he’s not involved in the day-to-day running of the affairs for the firm. [Full stock, back in box.]
Well, I tried to raise this with MI5. I could get nowhere at all.
So it’s an indirect answer to your question. But when you try to get to the top authorities involved, they do not really want to know. And I’ve raised that again and again.
Now, I think things more recently may have happened behind the scenes. Because one does see rather fewer people in the Palace of Westminster. But who knows? There was a time when a lot of the cleaners and staff, who always had access to everything, came from that [faith] tradition. There may be more serious screening now. But that was quite a disturbing event.
Unidentified Speaker: (Inaudible — microphone inaccessible)
Baroness Caroline Cox: I think we have just two or three more questions. May I just say that that full story is actually available in this little publication here, with a lot more detail. Because just very, very briefly — and I just amplify it — because it does have implications United States — that the organization, IEDS — then 9/11 happened. Parliament was reconvened for emergency discussions on terrorism. And that same journalist got in touch with me again and said that this particular character, Salah Idris, now had controlling shares in that firm, IEDS; and significant shares in another firm called Protech that was now doing security installation systems in — wait for it — British Army and other Ministry of Defense installations, and our nuclear installations in Dounreay and Sellafield.
So, how far complacency? And Rachel Ehrenfeld drew my attention to the fact that there is a firm with a rather similar name that does similar arrangements in your own country, United States. Just goes back to your answer.
Two more, and then — yes?
Unidentified Audience Member: It seems to me that you go into areas that are — sounds to me, very unsafe, very dangerous. What precautions do you take to ensure your own safety and security?
Baroness Caroline Cox: Well, thank you for the question, and maybe the concern behind it.
Well, I don’t, basically. If one’s going — whether it’s on these front lines, in places like Sudan in a war or Northern Nigeria, it’s just a privilege to be with the people. I’m going to different kind of dangerous areas raising these issues in United Kingdom. Because I’m well aware that, according to orthodox Islam, if you challenges Sharia you’re challenging the Hadith, you’re challenging the Koran. You can be deemed to be challenging the Prophet, and it is blasphemy. So I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up with a cut throat or a knife in my heart. But someone’s got to do it. And I’ve got less of natural life left to lose at the age of 74 than other people. So maybe having less of natural life left to lose, I’m someone who it’s appropriate, perhaps, to be going out on the frontline on this.
But I don’t take special precautions. There’s no point. And if you want to be really with the people, out in Sudan and Nigeria and other countries where we’re working, you’ve got to be with the people. You’ve got to go yourself. You don’t take bodyguards, and you trust the local people. And bombs are indiscriminate. If bombs are falling, well, protection won’t make any difference. And if they’re not falling, it’s a privilege to be with the people. Thank you.
Unidentified Audience Member: Talking about moderate Muslims — how do you differentiate between a moderate Muslim and a moderate Muslim who practices taqiyya?
Baroness Caroline Cox: Thank you. Yes, sir?
Unidentified Audience Member: (Inaudible) how do you expose them?
Baroness Caroline Cox: Very good question. How do you distinguish between a moderate Muslim and a moderate Muslim who practices taqiyya, and how do you expose them?
Well, I feel so sorry for Muslims. Their theology does not actually give them a basis for moderation as it now stands. And, you know, that is the real dilemma for the Muslim community. Until they deal with the principle of abrogation, until they can have their reformation — inverted commas — not a phrase I would use talking to them, because it’s a Christian one — but until they can — former President Abdul Rahman Rashid said they can reverse the principle of abrogation so that the verses of the sword no longer abrogate the verses of peace. Until they can develop a theology which genuinely allows peaceful coexistence, they do not have a theology which gives them moderation. So that is their ultimate, deep problem theologically.
But as far as your question, insofar as moderate Muslims do exist — well, it’s up to their issue how they deal with their theology. But by their fruits ye shall know them. And [one] I do have someone like this brave girl, Tehmina Kazi, in Britain, from Muslims for a Secular Democracy, who is prepared to speak out in public and support my bill.
And also, one slight victory we did have in the United Kingdom was — there would’ve been, if it hadn’t been for this victory, your great delight — if you’d come for the Olympic Games, you would’ve been welcomed by the sight of this huge mega-mosque, which would’ve had a 70,000 seating capacity. And our largest cathedral takes 3,000. So 70,000 is big. And it would’ve been on the site, or [right adjacent] site to the Olympic Games, which all that goes [the] infrastructure of that and everything else — madrasas, and car parking, you name it. And it would’ve been the biggest phenomenon in the whole area of the Olympic Games.
Well, a battle was fought to stop that taking place. And there were quite a few moderate Muslims who actually did stand with those opposing the mega-mosque. So I think you just have to say — by their fruits ye shall know them. How they can justify their theological moderation is not for me to question. But by their fruits you will know them. If they will stand with us to defend freedom, to defend democracy, to show that they do want to live by the laws of our land and don’t want to use the freedoms to destroy the democracy, then they will stand with us. And I can respect them and say thank you for it. They are taking a risk. And I don’t think they’re practicing taqiyya. Because by their fruits you will know them.
But those who just enter an interfaith dialogue, and who quote the verses of peace and all the rest of it — then again, I mean, I keep my reservations about them. Yes? I think our timing is running out, but — yes, please, just three quick ones.
Unidentified Audience Member: Yes. How did we get here? (Inaudible) incredibly bad behavior, criminal intent. And yet, everyone seems to want to give them well beyond the shadow of any doubt than any other person would get. I mean, I don’t understand how we got here. It’s as if the establishment’s gone mad, and the rules don’t apply to them.
Baroness Caroline Cox: It’s a very powerful question — how did we get here? How is it that our establishment has gone so mad that they don’t apply the same rules to the Muslim citizens that they do to the rest of us?
I think it goes right back to what I said at the very beginning — we’re reaping the whirlwind of the Marxist onslaught. We’ve had a generation who have had a [deep] undermining of all their commitment to the traditional values of freedom, who don’t see it as anything to be deterred — don’t see it as anything to be defended; who are valueless and cynical. And I think cynicism is the eighth deadly sin, and very dangerous. And so, there isn’t a kind of broad-based value system to defend ourselves. Without a vision, a people perish. Also, nature and visions abhor a vacuum, so other ideologies will come in. So there is a vulnerability in terms of visions and values. And Islam can appear and be presented in a very attractive and appealing way, until you get to know it in great detail.
And so we’re vulnerable in terms of vision, we’re vulnerable in terms of values. We’ve been undermined by communism. And they’ve been thinking long term. They’ve been adopting the communist tactics of putting people in key places. And a lot of the key politicians and the key people in a lot of the key institutions are value-compromised.
And even in the Metropolitan Police, I think a lot of Metropolitan Police now — they’re so pro-multiculturalism, and they’re so terrified of being accused of being anti-Islamic, that there is this strange asymmetry in the senior levels even of our police force.
So I think it’s that combination, an unholy combination, of factors that have come together that have created this vulnerability. And again, the fear of being — the soft end of the fear of being labeled Islamophobic, and the hard end of the fear of the intimidation, the violence of being petrol bombed, or your car blown up.
Recently in Paris, I think — I can’t remember this story now, but someone who dared to be anti-Islam had petrol bomb thrown, and their whole office was burned. So there is the hard end of intimidation, the soft end; and people are frightened. But the majority of people are unhappy and are grateful when people speak up.
Unidentified Audience Member: (Inaudible) about three years ago or four years ago, I went to a panel, went for a conference. And there were four Iranian women — great women, like yourself — that opened my eyes and exposed Islamism, the Muslim faith, for what it is and how bad it’s going to be. And one of you might know her — she wrote a book (inaudible). (Inaudible). She travels all over the world with [Madia], giving the message that the Muslim faith is not a faith of peace. The Koran is not a book of peace. [And] everybody — and our America — she said Europe is already lost. They’ve taken over. Europe is just going to get worse and worse. Because they haven’t had the courage to do what needs to be done to stop the growth and enforce the laws like they should. Because they’re too politically correct. (Inaudible). And at that time — I’m trying to think — it was just before —
Unidentified Audience Member: (Inaudible — microphone inaccessible)?
Unidentified Audience Member: Yes, there were three women, and then there was also a woman that was witness to — remember the movie, “Stoning” —
Baroness Caroline Cox: Yes.
Unidentified Audience Member: — best friend and they got the man that made the film (inaudible). “The Stoning of Soraya M.” There wasn’t a dry eye in that presentation. It just — I’ll always remember. She got up there, and she was shaking her finger. She was in tears, saying — I will do what’s necessary to give the message.
Baroness Caroline Cox: Yes.
Unidentified Audience Member: And I don’t care if they kill me. They want to kill me. Because she’s the one that broke the story. I never [knew this] about Mohammad, I never read the Koran, I don’t know that much about Mohammad — that he was a pedophile. He was a sick man. His first wife was a nine-year-old child. All his wives were children. You don’t realize what the Prophet was. He was a sick, pedophile man. She — it was like — she’d blown everybody away.
And she lives in the United States, in California. She escaped from Iran. You know, the family was wealthy, she went to school there. And then the three — they’re all Iranian women — they’re Christians that do not practice any (inaudible) all the injustices of women. I mean, opened up my eyes. There’s no such thing as peaceful. I mean, they hide [on the front]. And she even said — George Bush was President at that time — he’s too politically correct, he’s not tough enough. She said it’s a lie. There is no such thing as a —
Baroness Caroline Cox: Can I just complement what you just said with a very brief story — that I was speaking at an interfaith conference, in Paris, of the Abrahamic faiths. So it was Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And the speakers before me were all — they’re politically correct, the lovely interfaith dialogues initiatives that are going on, you know — it was pink candy floss. And I was getting more and more worried, and felt like someone’s got to stand up and raise some of these issues.
So I stood up and gave a presentation a little bit like I’ve done this afternoon, shaking at the knees. Because I was the first one who’d actually said anything critical of Islam and so on. And I finished with saying — I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone. But, you know, I’m a Christian — we believe only the truth can make us free. All I can do is speak the truth in love.
And I got off the platform, shaking at the knees. There was a Jordanian priest, who said — thank you so much for saying the things I couldn’t say. But then there were 12 ladies, and they were Muslim women from Iraq. And they were having the hijabs. I went up to them and said — I do hope I haven’t offended you ladies. I went straight to them. And they said — no! We’re so grateful to you. We were about to go home. We thought that we were wasting our time here. And you were the only one who started saying anything important. You were the only one who had the courage to mention Sharia, and we hate Sharia.
And I got to know those Muslim ladies from Iraq very well. And they called me their very own baroness. And we had two lovely days of sort of fellowship together. And they were so grateful. And they also said — very interesting — they said — we don’t understand the BBC. We’re so grateful for what you did in Iraq. You know, the BBC seems to forget how much our people were suffering in Iraq before you intervened. And we don’t understand the BBC, why the BBC just keeps showing all the bad stuff.
So I got to know those ladies very well. But for me, it was a little indication that there are so many people out there who do share these concerns, many of them not in a position to speak. And [I freed] Muslim women here. And if we can speak for them, then we are just doing a little bit, perhaps, to help their situation. Because their plight is horrendous. And only by really speaking the truth can the truth make any of us free. But as far as we’re concerned in this country, in Britain, only by speaking the truth can we maintain the freedoms that we have. And then we can use those freedoms, and continue to use those freedoms, on behalf of other people who don’t have freedom.
And that’s why I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share the pain and the passion of the concerns I have, which I also experience because I witness the pain and passion of other people, and to share them with you freedom-loving people here. So I’m so grateful.
Happy to take any other questions. Yes, certainly? Until we get thrown out. We’ve got another five minutes. Yes?
Unidentified Audience Member: I was told that the way they get in is by using mediation as a technique, and saying — well, if this is an outside organization, like a church; and if it’s a husband-wife dispute, if it’s outside the courts, that’s a good thing for us. So that’s how Sharia law is getting in.
Baroness Caroline Cox: You’re right.
Unidentified Audience Member: Is that what’s happened in Britain? (Inaudible).
Baroness Caroline Cox: You’re absolutely right. I think it’s happening in Canada, though Canada’s had a bit of a backlash. It certainly had happened in Britain. And in fact, some of our judges that are top senior judiciary have actually welcomed these developments. So I mean, thank you for reminding me of that. Because they say two things — one is, it relieves the British overstretched, overworked legal system and courts from dealing with a lot of these issues. And they can be dealt with by the local community in a culturally and religiously appropriate way. So they’ve welcomed it both from the point of view of arbitration and mediation.
And very briefly — what’s happened in arbitration is that the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal is now recognized and legally authorized to deal with arbitration. And as you may or may not know, that the contracts from arbitration — once they’re agreed — you know, you can come out of it any time — if they’re agreed, they’re legally binding. And as far as mediation is concerned — well, of course, you know, anyone can go and try and seek some help, some counseling. You know, for a Christian, you can go to a priest, or a Jew can go to a rabbi. Go to anyone for counseling. So you can’t actually stop mediation. Because that’s available and should be available for everybody in a democracy. The problem is the way they’ve abused it. And of course, when it’s based on Sharia principles, then we see the kind of problems that we have been talking about this afternoon, which is why we’ve got to address those issues.
What my bill would do would be, as far as mediation is concerned — the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal is now extending its remit far beyond the business which it should be, into dealing with family affairs — divorce and so on — on Sharia principles. So what my bill would do would be — if a woman had a contract which had become legally binding, but it was based on Sharia principles, she could then ask for it to be reviewed and renegotiated because it was based on those discriminatory principles. And as far as mediation is concerned, what the bill would do would be to criminalize any setting up of a parallel or quasi-judicial system in a way that someone purported to represent in a judicial capacity, and they would be actually punishable with up to five years in prison. So it should delegitimize the Sharia courts.
So those are two things the bill would do. Another thing it would do, which I touched on earlier, would be to give women protection when they’re vulnerable to violent domestic abuse. Instead of having to make the case to the police for prosecution, and then the community stop them doing that, the police would have the right to intervene. And a fourth thing the bill would do would be to put a statutory obligation on authorities such as social workers, police, community nurses — when they meet the women — to make sure they know their rights under British law. So those are just four of the provisions, which would deal with the mediation and the arbitration side of it.
We’re running out of time very, very quickly. So must make this — there’ll be other people coming in. Yes?
Unidentified Audience Member: I think that the Muslims have created a straw man. They believe the Jews are the devil now. And they have created a world of anti-Semitism, anti-Jewish, anti-Israel to substitute for the anger that should go to them.
Baroness Caroline Cox: May I just say that I agree 100 percent. The rise of anti-Semitism is something that is extremely serious. And one of the reasons for that is the amount of money that Saudi Arabia is pumping into our education institutions and many textbooks, and particularly the textbooks that are being used in Islamic schools that are affecting that whole younger generation. And that’s something that does need investigation and does need really, very, very strong restrictions against it. We’re trying to do that in Britain in the Muslim schools. But still, a lot of those textbooks are rabidly — but they’re not only anti-Semitic; they’re also anti-Western, anti-American. And those are where the seeds of hatred are being sewn, which again is another issue which we have to address.
So there’s a lot of work to be done. But the great thing is to find out, look out, and work together.
And may I just remind you of our very last slide, that — I cannot do everything, but I must not do nothing. If together we do something, it can make a difference.
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