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PROTEST & ACTIVISM: Wills without bigotry - Protest against the Law Society

The Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales, has issued Sharia-related guidance on wills, succession and inheritance.

The guidance says:

“Certain principles of Sharia are different to English succession laws. For example, it is not possible to inherit under Sharia rules via a deceased relative. No distinction is made between children of different marriages, but illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs.

“The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death”.

Whilst not binding, the guidance legitimises rules which are highly contested by many Muslims themselves and which discriminates against Muslim women, non-Muslims, and ‘illegitimate’ and adopted children. The guidance seriously undermines the Equality Act, citizenship rights and one law for all.

Since individuals are already free to dispense of their estate as they see fit (as long as they provide for their dependants) such guidance unwittingly aids and abets Islamist attempts at subverting democratic laws and principles with a de facto parallel legal system where minority women and children have increasingly fewer rights than other citizens.

This scandalous guidance is similar to that which Universities UK published endorsing gender segregation at universities in Britain. UUK was promptly forced to withdraw its guidance after widespread condemnation.

There is also concern about Sharia loans being provided to muslim students.

This protest will call for a withdrawal of the guidelines and make clear to the Law Society and the wider public that guidance that legitimises discrimination and bigotry is unacceptable.


You can find the list of signatories, including Maryam Namazie Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Gita Sahgal, Peter Tatchell, Pragna Patel, Kate Smurthwaite, Sue Cox, Taslima Nasrin and Richard Dawkins here: http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/the-law-society-must-withdraw-its-guidance-on-sharia-succession-rules/

The open letter from the Lawyers' Secular Society can be found here: http://lawyerssecularsociety.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/sharia-practice-note-open-lss-letter-to-the-law-society/

Our change.org petition with more than 2,000 signatures can be found here: https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-law-society-law-society-withdraw-your-guidance-legitimising-discrimination-against-women-non-muslims-and-illegitimate-and-adopted-children

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  • Jason

    Well it's 24 hours since the demo and despite there being perhaps a dozen cameras there and several interviews given, the only news site I can find that has covered the demo at all is Voice of Russia! Pragna, Maryam and the other speakers could not have been more clear about why this is an important issue. It amazes me that editors in the media just don't get it or more likely, just don't give a damn.

    April 30, 2014

  • Paul R

    As an interesting follow up the the demo I read an interview between two of yesterday's speakers, Maryam Namazie and Pragna Patel.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2014/04/27/equality-before-the-law-is-not-just-an-empty-phrase/

    A very interesting interview, but what astounded me was the stance of the BHA on this issue.

    Maryam Namazie: "According to some groups like the British Humanist Association (BHA), the issue has been blown out of proportion. According to them, the Law Society issued the guidance responding to requests from its solicitors. It is purely ‘guidance"

    Sure enough I searched the BHA website and could not find any mention of this issue, in contrast to the NSS which has featured the story prominently. How can it be that one of the major secularist and humanist organisations in the UK can take this attitude? Who in the BHA decided this policy and what do ordinary BHA members think?

    April 29, 2014

  • Jason

    Very well organised demo. 100+ attended.

    1 · April 28, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Did anyone record it? Where any news channels covering it?

      April 28, 2014

    • Jason

      Plenty of microphones and still cameras there but I didn't see any TV news crews there.

      April 28, 2014

  • Paul R

    In his speech Peter Tatchell mentioned the next step by the Law Society is the training of High Street lawyers in Sharia. Here is a link to the story. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/10787553/High-street-lawyers-to-get-formal-training-in-Islamic-Sharia-law.html

    1 · April 28, 2014

  • Mihai M.

    It was a very good protest. Hopefully not in vain. It feels eerie and unreal that we are not only talking about subjects such as these, but actually debating their level of influence on our lives.

    April 28, 2014

  • Paul R

    Some very good speeches. Well done and thanks to Jason for speaking on behalf of LAAG.

    1 · April 28, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Good protest! Good thought provoking speeches.

    April 28, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will be stuck in a meeting till 11 PM... If there is something still going on after that time then I'm more than happy to join. Otherwise will have to miss this all together, unfortunately. :-(

    April 28, 2014

    • Mihai M.

      That's alright. We know you're here with us in spirit.

      April 28, 2014

  • Georgi L.

    Apologies all, personal circumstances mean I can't make it today, but hope you'll go and support this. Thanks to Jason for standing in to speak at the protest tonight on LAAG's behalf.

    1 · April 28, 2014

    • Cloe

      Will miss ya <3

      April 28, 2014

  • Adrian

    Remember the tube strike is scheduled to start at 9:30 this evening so if you rely on the tube to get home don't leave it too late!

    April 28, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Just seen that the strike is not due to start until 2130 in the evening - see TFL document http://www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/strike-advance-travel-advice-28-to-30-apr.pdf - so you have to judge for yourself whether this will impinge on you travel plans. I think that I am OK.

    April 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    The underground strike set for Monday will affect my ability to attend - will try though!

    April 27, 2014

  • Paul R

    The Lawyers' Secular Society has today sent an open letter to reply to the Law Society's response. The open letter is here with links to all the previous correspondence.

    http://lawyerssecularsociety.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/sharia-practice-note-second-lss-open-letter-to-the-law-society/

    April 24, 2014

    • Georgi L.

      Excellent letters by Charlie, as always. "Fluck" - you couldn't make it up could you?

      April 24, 2014

    • Paul R

      Indeed. His response contained a lot of flucking drivel.

      1 · April 24, 2014

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