Excerpt:

Islamic sharia law courts in Britain are exploiting a little-known legal clause to make their verdicts officially binding under UK law in cases including divorce, financial disputes and even domestic violence.

A new network of courts in five major cities is hearing cases where Muslims involved agree to be bound by traditional sharia law, and under the 1996 Arbitration Act the court's decisions can then be enforced by the county courts or the High Court.

Officials behind the new system claim to have dealt with more than 100 cases since last summer, including six involving domestic violence which is a criminal rather than civil offence, and said they hoped to take over growing numbers of 'smaller' criminal cases in future.

The revelations sparked uproar yesterday, with warnings that the fundamental principle of equal treatment for all - the bedrock of British justice - was being gravely undermined.


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