Statement by Elham Manea

26 July 2016

Statement by Elham Manea, Senior Fellow, European Foundation for Democracy and Associate Professor of Middle East Studies at Zurich University regarding the UK government’s review of Sharia law in England and Wales.

Elham Manea was to testify in London on Wednesday 27th July to the Independent Review into the application of Sharia Law in England and Wales. With regret and after much consideration she decided not to provide evidence to the Sharia Review Panel meeting. This is because of her concern about the terms of reference of the panel; the inclusion of a number of Islamic scholars on the panel, who are part of the system they are supposed to be investigating, rather than exclusively judges, lawyers and human rights experts to examine a human rights issue; the specific issues before the Inquiry, which did not include among others the type of law being implemented and the role of Islamic extremism in the promotion of this parallel legal system, as well as the implications for the scope and impartiality of the Inquiry.

While she welcomes the Inquiry and respects the Chairperson, Manea is of the opinion that the Inquiry in its current form and terms of reference will not be in a position to address the discriminatory nature of the law applied in the parallel legal system of Sharia law in the UK and the Islamist extremism that feeds it.