Inside drab terraced housing, with a plentiful supply of tea and biscuits, a parallel British legal system is in operation.

This is the view of Machteld Zee, a Dutch researcher who gained unprecedented access to sharia courts in London and Birmingham that she believes conduct their work "in the shadow of the law".

Ms Zee, who describes herself as "an atheist – like 70 per cent of the Dutch" – decided that the topic of her law PhD at Leiden University would be on how legal systems in different states interact with religion.

Read the complete original version of this item...