Leyton Sharia Council defends itself after Panorama exposé

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: A still from the programme (Image: BBC). A still from the programme (Image: BBC).

An Islamic council which mediates on Muslim marriages has defended itself after a member of staff was secretly filmed telling a woman complaining of domestic violence to only go to the police as a "last resort".

The Islamic Sharia Council, in Francis Road, Leyton, was investigated by the BBC's Panorama documentary series this week following allegations it was ruling on cases it had no legal authority to get involved in.

Sharia partnerships are not recognised under UK law as marriages and are often obtained by couples in addition to civil marriages.

Islamic councils can only issue divorces for Sharia 'marriages' and have no legal rights to rule on issues such as child custody.

The programme heard from a number of different women who claimed to have had great difficulty in securing Sharia divorces from their husbands despite being granted civil divorces, as well as claims it was ruling on custody issues.

It was alleged that some women who use Sharia councils are unaware that such organisations have no legal rights to impose conditions on custody.

To investigate the claims the BBC sent an undercover reporter to the council to ask for advice, where she claimed her husband regularly hit her.

She was encouraged to bring her husband to the Sharia Council for a meeting to discuss their marriage and told she should only go to police as a "last resort".

Nazir Afzal, the CPS chief crown prosecutor for the North West, who specialises in such cases, told the programme: "What I have just witnessed is so dangerous. If there is early intervention we know that people's lives can be saved, they can be spared significant harm".

But in a statement Leyton Sharia Council said it took a "harsh" stance on domestic violence and said it never forced any woman who wanted a divorce to stay with their husband.

A spokesman said the secret recording was "underhand" and that conversations had been edited out of context.

He added: "It seems that Panorama had a pre-determined agenda and stereotype of how shariah councils operate, and they ensured that a round peg was forced to fit the square hole of this agenda..

"The council takes a harsh stance on domestic violence. Women who cite domestic abuse in their applications for divorce are advised strongly to report it to the police."

The council said the woman who took part in the secret filming had only come to the site on the pretext of wanting advice and that she told staff she did "not want to get her husband in trouble".

The Guardian is awaiting a comment from the BBC.

Comments (26)

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11:48am Thu 25 Apr 13

GRP100 says...

I live in Leyton and now this place. If you are not muslim they are offensive rude and very aggressive. They serve no purpose in this area. They cause devision and race hatred, and have done so since they set up in Leyton. Drug running,slavery,homo
phobes. They give nothing to this area except violence and rubbish and spitting. We here in Leyton have had quite enough.
I live in Leyton and now this place. If you are not muslim they are offensive rude and very aggressive. They serve no purpose in this area. They cause devision and race hatred, and have done so since they set up in Leyton. Drug running,slavery,homo phobes. They give nothing to this area except violence and rubbish and spitting. We here in Leyton have had quite enough. GRP100
  • Score: 0

11:51am Thu 25 Apr 13

GRP100 says...

GRP100 wrote:
I live in Leyton and now this place. If you are not muslim they are offensive rude and very aggressive. They serve no purpose in this area. They cause devision and race hatred, and have done so since they set up in Leyton. Drug running,slavery,homo

phobes. They give nothing to this area except violence and rubbish and spitting. We here in Leyton have had quite enough.
There are to many mosques and to many muslims continuing to cause problems in the street and in our schools and colleges. Why is it no other parts of normal society cause so many problems,here and around the world.
[quote][p][bold]GRP100[/bold] wrote: I live in Leyton and now this place. If you are not muslim they are offensive rude and very aggressive. They serve no purpose in this area. They cause devision and race hatred, and have done so since they set up in Leyton. Drug running,slavery,homo phobes. They give nothing to this area except violence and rubbish and spitting. We here in Leyton have had quite enough.[/p][/quote]There are to many mosques and to many muslims continuing to cause problems in the street and in our schools and colleges. Why is it no other parts of normal society cause so many problems,here and around the world. GRP100
  • Score: 0

12:04pm Thu 25 Apr 13

Cornbeefur says...

There should only be one Law for all, if they want different Laws and Oppression they can go to Saudi Arabia.
There should only be one Law for all, if they want different Laws and Oppression they can go to Saudi Arabia. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 1

12:11pm Thu 25 Apr 13

GRP100 says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
There should only be one Law for all, if they want different Laws and Oppression they can go to Saudi Arabia.
They have not got the guts to go and live in Saudi, cause half of they would end up as amputee's and could not cope with their laws. They just want to hurt and dominate, the norm for these people even to them selves.
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: There should only be one Law for all, if they want different Laws and Oppression they can go to Saudi Arabia.[/p][/quote]They have not got the guts to go and live in Saudi, cause half of they would end up as amputee's and could not cope with their laws. They just want to hurt and dominate, the norm for these people even to them selves. GRP100
  • Score: 0

12:25pm Thu 25 Apr 13

stickmanny says...

Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'.

Thank you.
Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'. Thank you. stickmanny
  • Score: 0

12:39pm Thu 25 Apr 13

Alan_1976 says...

stickmanny wrote:
Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'.

Thank you.
Your turn stickmanny. I did the BNP post last weekend :-)
[quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'. Thank you.[/p][/quote]Your turn stickmanny. I did the BNP post last weekend :-) Alan_1976
  • Score: 0

1:54pm Thu 25 Apr 13

Cornbeefur says...

stickmanny wrote:
Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'.

Thank you.
What do you mean? Should it be 'If we want different Laws from the Statute of England and Wales, we should go and live in Saudi Arabia?
[quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'. Thank you.[/p][/quote]What do you mean? Should it be 'If we want different Laws from the Statute of England and Wales, we should go and live in Saudi Arabia? Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

2:05pm Thu 25 Apr 13

GRP100 says...

stickmanny wrote:
Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'.

Thank you.
You will change your attitude once THEY pick on you or are aggressive to you. And it is not offensive and if you think it is report it.
[quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'. Thank you.[/p][/quote]You will change your attitude once THEY pick on you or are aggressive to you. And it is not offensive and if you think it is report it. GRP100
  • Score: 0

4:17pm Thu 25 Apr 13

Trevor 2 says...

Oh, the evils of religion!!
Oh, the evils of religion!! Trevor 2
  • Score: 0

4:59pm Thu 25 Apr 13

Walthamster says...

Leyton Sharia Council's denial of something that's been clearly exposed on film just makes them look dishonest.

More importantly, no group should be allowed to run an alternative legal system. And that is what Sharia Councils are doing, despite their claim to be just offering counselling.

What we need as a society is cohesion. But Sharia relies on the opposite. One of the reasons they promote separatism is to keep women ignorant of their genuine rights under British law.
Leyton Sharia Council's denial of something that's been clearly exposed on film just makes them look dishonest. More importantly, no group should be allowed to run an alternative legal system. And that is what Sharia Councils are doing, despite their claim to be just offering counselling. What we need as a society is cohesion. But Sharia relies on the opposite. One of the reasons they promote separatism is to keep women ignorant of their genuine rights under British law. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

5:34pm Thu 25 Apr 13

GRP100 says...

These people lie all the time,it tells them to in their so called religious book. I was lied to by them and ended up with over 14 people living next door to me (drunks,druggies and violent) even though the lieing owner told me and neighbours that he will live there and found out he has done this in all properties he owns. Tax ummm!!!
These people lie all the time,it tells them to in their so called religious book. I was lied to by them and ended up with over 14 people living next door to me (drunks,druggies and violent) even though the lieing owner told me and neighbours that he will live there and found out he has done this in all properties he owns. Tax ummm!!! GRP100
  • Score: 0

5:46pm Thu 25 Apr 13

stickmanny says...

GRP100 wrote:
stickmanny wrote:
Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'.

Thank you.
You will change your attitude once THEY pick on you or are aggressive to you. And it is not offensive and if you think it is report it.
I'm looking at it another way. Because you attack ALL Muslims when you use the term 'They' some of them might come for ME because of what YOU said.

Now do you understand?
[quote][p][bold]GRP100[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'. Thank you.[/p][/quote]You will change your attitude once THEY pick on you or are aggressive to you. And it is not offensive and if you think it is report it.[/p][/quote]I'm looking at it another way. Because you attack ALL Muslims when you use the term 'They' some of them might come for ME because of what YOU said. Now do you understand? stickmanny
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Thu 25 Apr 13

stickmanny says...

...by the way I find Sharia law repulsive
...by the way I find Sharia law repulsive stickmanny
  • Score: 0

5:59pm Thu 25 Apr 13

GRP100 says...

stickmanny wrote:
GRP100 wrote:
stickmanny wrote:
Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'.

Thank you.
You will change your attitude once THEY pick on you or are aggressive to you. And it is not offensive and if you think it is report it.
I'm looking at it another way. Because you attack ALL Muslims when you use the term 'They' some of them might come for ME because of what YOU said.

Now do you understand?
You must must read more. When 100 muslims where asked whether they would kill gay people, all 100 said YES, they were students from North London Uni. Now do you get it? And there is more, because if push came to shove, they would stab you in the back, it happened to me on 2 occasions, not nice, or are you ok with that. If they do come after YOU its them doing it,this is a free country to say what you want without fear of any kind of reprisal. Glad you hate sharia, thats a positive. Thanks for that.
[quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]GRP100[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]stickmanny[/bold] wrote: Quit the offensive posts and direct your anger a little better by avoiding the term 'They'. Thank you.[/p][/quote]You will change your attitude once THEY pick on you or are aggressive to you. And it is not offensive and if you think it is report it.[/p][/quote]I'm looking at it another way. Because you attack ALL Muslims when you use the term 'They' some of them might come for ME because of what YOU said. Now do you understand?[/p][/quote]You must must read more. When 100 muslims where asked whether they would kill gay people, all 100 said YES, they were students from North London Uni. Now do you get it? And there is more, because if push came to shove, they would stab you in the back, it happened to me on 2 occasions, not nice, or are you ok with that. If they do come after YOU its them doing it,this is a free country to say what you want without fear of any kind of reprisal. Glad you hate sharia, thats a positive. Thanks for that. GRP100
  • Score: 0

6:31pm Thu 25 Apr 13

stickmanny says...

Please post a link to the survey results.

If I asked that question at my place of work I know many would say no, but with your choice of words you put these moderates in the same bracket as the nutters, which is wrong.

I think we are singing from the same hymn sheet (see what I did there?) but to win the battle we must make allies.
Please post a link to the survey results. If I asked that question at my place of work I know many would say no, but with your choice of words you put these moderates in the same bracket as the nutters, which is wrong. I think we are singing from the same hymn sheet (see what I did there?) but to win the battle we must make allies. stickmanny
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Thu 25 Apr 13

Cool snoopy says...

Back to the topic, in the modern world today, marriage seems to be a joke, why rush in to marriage in the first place if one wants a divorce overnight,
Back to the topic, in the modern world today, marriage seems to be a joke, why rush in to marriage in the first place if one wants a divorce overnight, Cool snoopy
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Thu 25 Apr 13

Cool snoopy says...

Back to the topic, in the modern world today, marriage seems to be a joke, why rush in to marriage in the first place if one wants a divorce overnight,
Back to the topic, in the modern world today, marriage seems to be a joke, why rush in to marriage in the first place if one wants a divorce overnight, Cool snoopy
  • Score: 0

9:40pm Thu 25 Apr 13

Cool snoopy says...

Back to the topic, in the modern world today, marriage seems to be a joke, why rush in to marriage in the first place if one wants a divorce overnight,
Back to the topic, in the modern world today, marriage seems to be a joke, why rush in to marriage in the first place if one wants a divorce overnight, Cool snoopy
  • Score: 0

10:42pm Thu 25 Apr 13

Cornbeefur says...

Walthamster wrote:
Leyton Sharia Council's denial of something that's been clearly exposed on film just makes them look dishonest.

More importantly, no group should be allowed to run an alternative legal system. And that is what Sharia Councils are doing, despite their claim to be just offering counselling.

What we need as a society is cohesion. But Sharia relies on the opposite. One of the reasons they promote separatism is to keep women ignorant of their genuine rights under British law.
Devious they are for sure.

Twist and turn more than anyone did in any summer.
[quote][p][bold]Walthamster[/bold] wrote: Leyton Sharia Council's denial of something that's been clearly exposed on film just makes them look dishonest. More importantly, no group should be allowed to run an alternative legal system. And that is what Sharia Councils are doing, despite their claim to be just offering counselling. What we need as a society is cohesion. But Sharia relies on the opposite. One of the reasons they promote separatism is to keep women ignorant of their genuine rights under British law.[/p][/quote]Devious they are for sure. Twist and turn more than anyone did in any summer. Cornbeefur
  • Score: 0

10:50pm Thu 25 Apr 13

changfert says...

Please don't let sharia law take away my bacon sarnie!
Please don't let sharia law take away my bacon sarnie! changfert
  • Score: 0

8:02am Fri 26 Apr 13

cat-lover says...

Cornbeefur wrote:
There should only be one Law for all, if they want different Laws and Oppression they can go to Saudi Arabia.
Why was the English law exported to the commonwealth countries? If people want to follow their religious laws, that is up to them. If Jewish couples can have judgements by Beth Din referred to by the High Court, why not Shariah law?

http://www.telegraph
.co.uk/news/uknews/9
841370/Sharia-divorc
es-could-be-allowed-
after-legal-ruling.h
tml
[quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: There should only be one Law for all, if they want different Laws and Oppression they can go to Saudi Arabia.[/p][/quote]Why was the English law exported to the commonwealth countries? If people want to follow their religious laws, that is up to them. If Jewish couples can have judgements by Beth Din referred to by the High Court, why not Shariah law? http://www.telegraph .co.uk/news/uknews/9 841370/Sharia-divorc es-could-be-allowed- after-legal-ruling.h tml cat-lover
  • Score: 0

2:06pm Fri 26 Apr 13

icareE17 says...

Agree totally with the 1st comment made here- I don't think I have ever ever seen a muslim smile. These are the most miserable people on the planet and they contribute nothing to our community or country.
Agree totally with the 1st comment made here- I don't think I have ever ever seen a muslim smile. These are the most miserable people on the planet and they contribute nothing to our community or country. icareE17
  • Score: 0

4:05pm Fri 26 Apr 13

Walthamster says...

cat-lover wrote:
Cornbeefur wrote:
There should only be one Law for all, if they want different Laws and Oppression they can go to Saudi Arabia.
Why was the English law exported to the commonwealth countries? If people want to follow their religious laws, that is up to them. If Jewish couples can have judgements by Beth Din referred to by the High Court, why not Shariah law?

http://www.telegraph

.co.uk/news/uknews/9

841370/Sharia-divorc

es-could-be-allowed-

after-legal-ruling.h

tml
So if my religion tells me to sacrifice animals in my back garden, I should be allowed to do that? What if it tells me to kill a human?

Absolute nonsense. People can't choose what parts of the law they want to obey.
[quote][p][bold]cat-lover[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Cornbeefur[/bold] wrote: There should only be one Law for all, if they want different Laws and Oppression they can go to Saudi Arabia.[/p][/quote]Why was the English law exported to the commonwealth countries? If people want to follow their religious laws, that is up to them. If Jewish couples can have judgements by Beth Din referred to by the High Court, why not Shariah law? http://www.telegraph .co.uk/news/uknews/9 841370/Sharia-divorc es-could-be-allowed- after-legal-ruling.h tml[/p][/quote]So if my religion tells me to sacrifice animals in my back garden, I should be allowed to do that? What if it tells me to kill a human? Absolute nonsense. People can't choose what parts of the law they want to obey. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

7:04pm Fri 26 Apr 13

mike501 says...

Many incorrect comments have been made. Most muslims are peaceful law abiding citizens who work very, very hard. They have achieved alot coming from nothing. Don't put all down due to actions of a few.
We all live in a country and have to respect and stick to the right side of the law. If people want to follow there religion they should be able to as much as they can. Many people make muslims look bad and with whats happening around the world too.
Those who want sharia law in UK have the worng understanding let alone those who want to apply it on people. All this gives the religion a bad name due to misunderstang which people have. This then develops into hate etc.
Many incorrect comments have been made. Most muslims are peaceful law abiding citizens who work very, very hard. They have achieved alot coming from nothing. Don't put all down due to actions of a few. We all live in a country and have to respect and stick to the right side of the law. If people want to follow there religion they should be able to as much as they can. Many people make muslims look bad and with whats happening around the world too. Those who want sharia law in UK have the worng understanding let alone those who want to apply it on people. All this gives the religion a bad name due to misunderstang which people have. This then develops into hate etc. mike501
  • Score: 2

7:11pm Fri 26 Apr 13

stickmanny says...

icareE17 wrote:
Agree totally with the 1st comment made here- I don't think I have ever ever seen a muslim smile. These are the most miserable people on the planet and they contribute nothing to our community or country.
If you tried smiling now and then maybe people would smile back
[quote][p][bold]icareE17[/bold] wrote: Agree totally with the 1st comment made here- I don't think I have ever ever seen a muslim smile. These are the most miserable people on the planet and they contribute nothing to our community or country.[/p][/quote]If you tried smiling now and then maybe people would smile back stickmanny
  • Score: 2

7:20pm Fri 26 Apr 13

mike501 says...

This is nothing but hate of course they smile and eat and are human.
This is a religion we are talking about or what ?
People are different and we need to understand that.
Has smiling become such an issue !! maybe there are reasons why some people you have seen are like this.
As for contributing this is another wild comment do you have statistics to say they contribute nothing to our community or country ? or dont smile !
Total nonsense we need to stop feeling so big about our self and understand the world has many religions, races, colours, cultures, ways, traditions etc RESPECT
This is nothing but hate of course they smile and eat and are human. This is a religion we are talking about or what ? People are different and we need to understand that. Has smiling become such an issue !! maybe there are reasons why some people you have seen are like this. As for contributing this is another wild comment do you have statistics to say they contribute nothing to our community or country ? or dont smile ! Total nonsense we need to stop feeling so big about our self and understand the world has many religions, races, colours, cultures, ways, traditions etc RESPECT mike501
  • Score: 2

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