While this is indicative of a larger problem, it’s also not a bad idea:
In his book Islam in Britain, Patrick Sookhdeo, director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity, says there is an “alternative parallel unofficial legal system” that operates in the Muslim community on a voluntary basis.
“Sharia courts now operate in most larger cities, with different sectarian and ethnic groups operating their own courts that cater to their specific needs according to their traditions,” he says. These are based on sharia councils, set up in Britain to help Muslims solve family and personal problems.
Sharia councils may grant divorces under religious law to a woman whose husband refuses to complete a civil divorce by declaring his marriage over. There is evidence that these councils are evolving into courts of arbitration.
Faizul Aqtab Siddiqi, a barrister and principal of Hijaz College Islamic University, near Nuneaton, Warwicks, said this type of court had advantages for Muslims. “It operates on a low budget, it operates on very small timescales and the process and the laws of evidence are far more lenient and it’s less awesome an environment than the English courts,” he said.
Mr Siddiqi predicted that there would be a formal network of Muslim courts within a decade.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with this sort of unofficial court providing arbitration, indeed, it’s more legitimate than any American immigration, family or tax courts, most of which are prohibited under the various constitutional separation of powers doctrines. (It’s easy to verify, first read your state’s constitution and then find out who writes the “judges” checks. If it’s an executive-branch agency, it’s a fake court. Abandon justice, all ye who enter….) But it is interesting that Britain hasn’t even finished its transition into post-Christianity before seeing an alternative religious structure being erected.
Like nature, the human spirit abhors a vaccuum, especially a vacuous one of the sort secularism has on offer.