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Judge allowed to sit on sharia court set up by Hebdo protest cleric

Judge Shamim Qureshi 

A crown court judge has been allowed to rule on sharia cases, in the first case of its kind.

District Judge Shamim Qureshi, who sits at Bristol Crown Court, received permission from the Judicial Office to double as “presiding judge” at the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT).

The MAT was established in 2007 by a hardline cleric, Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, who led an anti-Charlie Hebdo demonstration after 11 of the magazine’s staff were murdered by terrorists.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is due to launch an independent review into sharia courts and councils amid concerns that a “parallel” justice system is developing in Britain. There are particular concerns that the courts are discriminatory towards women.

Judge Qureshi has overseen MAT, which is based in Nuneaton, Warks, and has four other branches.

It states that it serves Muslims “seeking to resolve disputes in accordance with Islamic sacred law”.

“I would be careful if I was a judge not to mix the two jobs. I don’t think an Islamic legal system is compatible with British law.”
Khalid Mahmood

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