Members of the far-right organisation Britain First have stormed a Muslim council meeting, disrupting its proceedings.
According to local reports, members of the group including leader Paul Golding burst into the Islamic Sharia Council in Leyton on Monday, claiming it was promoting a “barbaric, medieval system of law”. Golding’s aggression forced council members to call the police.
The Islamic Sharia Council, based in London, is a centre that provides counsel on faith and culture matters that are not covered by English courts. While they are important to those in the faith, they do not create a “parallel legal system,” as Golding claimed.
Khola Hasan, a scholar at the council, said: “We are not a court. He [Paul Golding] makes a point of saying that we call ourselves a council as if we are trying to hide the fact we’re a court. We never have been, we have always been a council.”
She added that the centre helps with faith-based mediation issues, like whether to drink alcohol or not, and offers Islamic divorces – something unavailable in English courts.
She said: “We are simply helping Muslims with any kind of dispute resolution, or queries regarding their faith in the modern world.”
Golding and his cronies have targeted the centre before, once in 2014 and again in 2016. Britain First were served with a High Court injuction in 2016, banning them from mosques and Muslim institutions for three years. But as the ban expired in August 2019, the Muslim community are once again at risk.
Hasan added: “We are not in any way treading on the toes on English law.
“We are not allowed, under Islamic law, to apply criminal law here because we do not have jurisdiction. We do not apply any aspect of criminal law. If we ever feel the law has been broken, we call the police.”
While Golding appears to believe that all publicity is good publicity, it seems that, with their harassment of the Muslim community continuing, he is amping up pressure for his injunction to be renewed.
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