Is anyone really surprised that the numbers of Sharia Courts - operating in Great Britain - was/is grossly underestimated?
Note the muslim reponse to this report (or any type of criticism) is to use their typical, vociferous accusation of (the Myth of) Islamophobia.
If you think that these courts only deal with "domestic, marital and business disputes" - I have a bridge to sell you in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, USA.
It will be interesting to see if Civitas will actually be able to stop this latest example of the Islamisation of Great Britain ----- I'm not optimistic.
Article in full - emphasis mine:
At least 85 separate sharia "courts" are now openly functioning in Britain, almost 20 times as many as previously believed, a report by Civitas claims.
A study by the thinktank found that scores of unofficial tribunals and councils regularly apply Islamic law to resolve domestic, marital and business disputes, many operating in mosques.
It led to claims of a "creeping" acceptance of sharia principles in British law, but the Muslim Council of Britain dismissed the report as "scaremongering".
The study follows the outcry over remarks by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, last year that the adoption of aspects of Muslim law in Britain, such as in divorce proceedings, "seems inevitable".
Lord Phillips, who was then the Lord Chief Justice, attracted controversy by saying that there was "no reason why" sharia principles could not form the basis of mediation in disputes.
Some decisions of Islamic tribunals are already considered legally binding and could theoretically be enforced in civil courts in England and Wales.
Other officially recognised bodies can agree to grant Muslim "divorces" as part of a parallel system of religious law in Britain.
"This whole business is creeping up on us without anyone really noticing," said Dr David Green, director of Civitas.
The existence of a network of five court-like sharia bodies in London, Bradford, Birmingham, Coventry and Manchester, expanding to other cities under the umbrella of the Muslim Arbitration Tribual (MAT) has already been widely reported.
But Civitas estimates that the real number of Islamic "courts" operating in Britain is at least 85, as a result of scores of unofficial courts sitting in mosques in which imams make judgments on day-to-day disputes.
It argued that they are unlikely to treat women as equals and could even be against human rights law.
The organisation called for a change in the law to stop the decisions of such bodies being legally enforceable.
The MAT, which deals primarily with disputes between business partners or mosques, says that as a legally constituted arbitration body under the 1996 Arbitration Act, its decisions could be enforced in county courts.
That claim has yet to be challenged in a test case but a similar status for Jewish tribunals is already long established.
Another organisation, the Islamic Sharia Council, has a panel of seven judges based in London, dealing largely with divorce and issuing "fatwas" on issues such as how to bring up children.
Mufti Abdul Kadir Barkatulla, one of its judges, said that the organisation had been operating peacefully alongside the civil courts for 25 years without any major problems.
He also confirmed that dozens of informal sharia bodies sit across the country.
"Every imam, if they are qualified can have a hearings and make decisions according to sharia," he said.
Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "To term them sharia courts is ridiculous, it's just scaremongering."
Qamar Bhatti, a member of the governing body of the MAT, said: "We don't have a court, it's an arbitration, we don't have a judge sitting with a gavel in his hand but that's the image that this report is creating."