“Sharia: What’s Going On?” – competition winner!

Sharia What's Going OnThe Lawyers’ Secular Society is delighted to announce the winner of its essay competition “Sharia: What’s Going On?”

The winning essay, “Sharia Law: No Place in Europe”, was written by Hellen Parra Florez who is studying for an LLM in Public International and European Law at the University of Manchester. She receives a prize of £300.

You can read Hellen’s essay in full here (PDF).

Commenting on the competition Hellen said:

“I am delighted to have won this prize. I am passionate about human rights and freedom and I am very pleased that I have been given the opportunity to write about this, still, “taboo” topic. We should talk about sharia, we should debate sharia, we should criticise sharia and we should oppose sharia while at the same time ridiculing the insane and embarrassing political correctness that has gone from attempting to protect minorities to being their worst nightmare.

“No ideology or religion can be more important than human rights and people. If we don’t deal with this now and we allow sharia law to remain in our societies, we are not only betraying Muslim women and children, who are the first victims, but also the philosophers, thinkers and all those who have fought and died for us to enjoy the most humanistic and advanced society that has ever existed in human history. Keeping Europe secular and sharia-free is essential in protecting the rights and freedoms of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

“Churchill was the last of the true European leaders. Now we have politicians who choose popularity over righteousness while acceding to demands that clash with everything that western societies stand for, including the much treasured rule of law, in order to avoid difficulties. Paraphrasing Churchill, they are just feeding the crocodile hoping that it will eat them last.

“For this reason, I would like to thank the Lawyers’ Secular Society, One Law for All and the National Secular Society for making this competition possible and for siding with reason and good sense. It is these idealistic, human rights heroes that future generations will look back to and thank. Keep up the fantastic work!”

Commenting on the competition Charlie Klendjian, Secretary of the LSS, said:

“Congratulations to Hellen for an excellent essay. We hope her hard work helps to shine a light on what is sadly a growing problem that very few people are willing to discuss or even acknowledge: the increasing prevalence of sharia law in Europe.

“The uncomfortable truth is that wherever we see sharia law, we see grotesque human rights abuses specifically as a result of it. The more sharia law, the more commonplace and grotesque the human rights abuses are.

“These are facts. No amount of invertebrate political correctness, no amount of bogus accusations of racism or Islamophobia designed to shut down debate, no amount of censorship or self-censorship, no amount of ludicrously misplaced and misnamed “sensitivity”, no amount of theological debates about “correct” vs “incorrect” interpretations of Islam or the generous intricacies of Arabic to English translations, and no amount of “whatabouttery” by discussing 9/11 conspiracy theories, foreign policy or historic colonialism can stop facts being facts.

“It’s absolutely vital that the United Kingdom, and especially its legal profession, takes a principled stand against sharia law, not just for those living in this country but in order to send the loudest possible message across the globe. What could be a more worthwhile use of a lawyer’s time than defending the sacred principle of the rule of law and equality before the law?

“I would remind everyone that you don’t have to be a lawyer, a historian or even an Islamic scholar to have an opinion on sharia law. Some things are a simple matter of right and wrong. For example, treating men and women equally before the law is better than treating women as inferior beings; putting the interests of children first in family law matters is better than not putting their interests first; not stoning women to death for adultery is better than stoning women to death for adultery; and not hanging people for being gay is better than hanging people for being gay. It’s that simple. Children are capable of understanding this. Adults should be too.

“I would urge everyone, religious or non-religious, Muslim or non-Muslim, who values the idea of human rights and equality before the law to think very carefully indeed about sharia and to speak up.

“Opposing sharia law isn’t merely a legal right; it is a civic and moral duty.”

The LSS is grateful to the National Secular Society for sponsoring this competition and it is proud to have collaborated with One Law For All.

The LSS strongly recommends One Law For All’s report “Sharia Law in Britain” (PDF) as an explanation of the issues surrounding sharia law, and also its report “Multiculturalism and Child Protection in Britain: Sharia Law and Other Failures” (PDF) as an explanation of some of the misguided policies which have unfortunately helped create ideal conditions for sharia law.

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