Home      |      Weblog      |      Articles      |      Satire      |      Links      |      About      |      Contact

Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Sharia in the UK -Muslim second wives may get a tax break

Sharia in the UK -Muslim second wives may get a tax break

August 26, 2006

Sunday Times December 26, 2004

Muslim second wives may get a tax break

THE Inland Revenue is considering recognising polygamy for some religious groups for tax purposes. Officials have agreed to examine "family friendly" representations from Muslims who take up to four wives under sharia, the laws derived from the Koran.

Existing rules allow only one wife for inheritance tax purposes. The Revenue has been asked to relax this so that a husband's estate can be divided tax-free between several wives.

The move is bound to create controversy if it leads to a change in the rules. It is seen as a breakthrough by Muslim leaders who have been campaigning to incorporate sharia into British domestic law.

Ahmad Thomson, of the Association of Muslim Lawyers, said: "Wives and immediate children should be exempt from inheritance tax. If the government is family friendly they should change a tax which is unfairly hitting minority religious values."

Any concession by the Revenue could open a wider debate about the legality of plural marriages. At present a person married to more than one people can be charged with bigamy.

Muslim marriages to second, third and fourth wives are not valid in civil law, with the women effectively regarded as mistresses with no legal or tax rights.

However, some official bodies have already pointed out that tax laws are unfavourable to religious groups that recognise more than one spouse.

The National Audit Office

(NAO) recently concluded that the tax system inadvertently penalised devout Muslims. An NAO inquiry into inheritance laws found that devout Muslims were not able to take full advantage of British tax law, which allows spouses to inherit an entire estate from their husband or wife tax free.

By contrast, for the many Muslim families who observe sharia, the woman receives only an eighth share of her husband's estate tax free. The rest of the estate above the British inheritance tax threshold of 265,000, is taxed by the Inland Revenue at 40%.

Sadiq Khan, a leading Muslim politician, said: "I am pleased to see the Inland Revenue applying common sense to the application of Islamic law on uncontroversial matters such as inheritance.

"There are some other uncontroversial areas of Islam law which could easily be applied to the legal system we have in the UK."

He insisted there was no question of pressing for the introduction of sharia's criminal code "where people are flogged or have their hands chopped off". He said: "This is not the thin edge of the wedge."

The NAO also points out that Jews who follow the traditional code of halakah are similarly penalised because it requires estates to be passed through the male line.

The change in position by the Revenue emerged in correspondence from its capital taxes technical group sent to Haroon Rashid, an expert in inheritance tax planning at the law firm, BK Soliciors.

John W Murray, an official, wrote on November 29 in reply to a question on how to calculate tax on a will under Islamic law: "It is a question of Islamic law whether or not this is the case. If there is any authority that you could direct us to then we would gladly consider it."

A Treasury spokesman said: "We keep all areas of the tax system under review, and we are willing to consider all representations put to us on how to ensure the tax system operates in a fair, simple and consistent way."

Gordon Brown, the chancellor, has already made one significant concession to adapt to the dictates of sharia. In the 2003 Finance Act he spared Muslims from paying stamp duty twice on their properties when they took out "Islamic mortgages" that complied with the sharia ban on paying interest.

The Islamic mortgages involve the lender buying the house ownership is transferred to the purchaser only at the end of the repayment period




The Islamic Shari'a Council was established in 1982 in a meeting attended by various scholars representing a number of mosques in the UK. The main function of the council is to guide the Muslims in the UK in matters related to religious issues as well as solving their matrimonial problems which are referred to it by the Muslims of this country. This Council is a registered charity under the Reg. No: 1003855. The Council is a Welfare and none-profit-making charity.

Aims and Objectives

The objectives of the Council are:

To advance the Islamic Religion by:

  • Fostering and encouraging the practice of the Muslim faith according to the Quran and the Sunnah.
  • Providing advice and assistance in the operation of Muslim family.
  • Establishing a bench to operate as court of Islamic Shari'a and to make decisions on matters of Muslim Family law referred to it.
  • Doing all such other lawful things as may be in the interest of promoting the proper practice of the Muslim faith in the United Kingdom.



The Islamic Shari'a Council is an authoritative body because it consists of a panel of scholars who represent the following established institutions in the UK.

    1. London Central Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre, London.
    2. Muslim World League
    3. Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, UK
    4. UK. Islamic Mission.
    5. Da'watul Islam, UK.
    6. Jamia Mosque & Islamic Centre, Birmingham
    7. Islamic Centre, Glasgow
    8. Islamic Centre, Didsbury, Manchester.
    9. Jamia Masjid Hanafiya, Bradford
    10. Muslim Welfare House, London.
The scholars representing these centers come from all major schools of thought among the Sunnis.

The Large Number of people turning to this Council to solve their matrimonial problems shows that this Council is accepted widely by the Muslim Community. A number of cases have been referred to it by solicitors who were able to obtain civil divorces for their clients but had to turn to the Council to obtain an Islamic Divorce.


  • 1982-1995 1,500 Cases
  • 1996-2002 3,000 Cases
  • 4,500 cases handled by April 2002


British Muslims Discuss Shari'ah On Screen

By Hani Mohammad, IOL Correspondent

LONDON, May 27 (IslamOnline.net) - A TV program tackling the real
issues of living a Muslim lifestyle in Britain proved a must-see
success among many community households.

The Shari'ah TV series on Channel 4 features British Muslims seeking
answers from a team of leading Islamic scholars and experts for the
first time on British terrestrial television.

"The groundbreaking new discussion series provide a unique opportunity
for both Muslim viewers and those of other faiths to see Islam
examined in an honest, sensitive and unsensationalised way", the
Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said on its website.

"Shari'ah TV allows British Muslims to explore what it means to live
in the western world and follow Shariah Law, and addresses the many
misconceptions and prejudices about how these laws fit with 21st
Century British life."

Presented by journalist So Rahman, a Muslim, the program looks at
subjects including the family, citizenship, consumerism and the
relationship between Islam and other faiths.

Clarifying Islamic principles and confronting common misunderstandings
about the faith - such as media misrepresentation and stereotypes -
also come high on the agenda.

The program gives the chance to unravel confusions that people may
have about Islam, through an interfaith dialogue with other religious
figures and audience.

People aged 18-35 could join the studio audience to seek advice and
clarity on personal dilemmas from a panel of highly respected Imams
and Islamic experts.

Uphill Struggle

In the fourth program aired on Tuesday, May 25, historian Karen
Armstrong gave an account of the meaning of Jihad in Islam - a matter
raising much controversy as many claim that it is used as a
justification for attacks against western targets.

In Islam, Jihad takes various shapes - not all of them are necessarily
military - such as self-defense against acts of injustice, she

The program also hosted a Muslim advisor appointed by British Prime
Minister Tony Blair after the September 11 attacks.

It also witnessed an Asian Muslim convert from Buddhism, who told the
audience and viewers of her tormenting experience to convince her
family of her conversion to Islam.

The opening program that began in April addressed the perception of
Islam, looking at contentious subjects including the hijab, terrorism
and forced marriage.

Other episodes will discuss Muslims' involvement in the British
society, politics, police, army and foreign policy.

They will also tackle financial issues as interest, Islamic finance,
careers, women working, and the cultural issues of music, films, TV,
youth behavior.

Other Programs

Other programs were also made by British TV channels with relations
with Muslims and interfaith dialogue as the main focus.

In January, the BBC have contacted the MCB in connection with
identifying possible Muslim talents for a new series for BBC1 which
aims to explore how other families run their lives and households.

Channel 4 also send daily SMSs to the subscribers on Islam. The
content is prepared by the famed British scholar of Egyptian origin
Zaki Badawi.

Britain has a Muslim community of about two millions.


MIM: The website of Shariah TV in the UK misleadingly claims that suicide bombing is not santioned by the Quran and the sharia which is because neither are explicitly mentioned. They of course do not explain that many clerics have proclaimed that sucide bombings are religiously santioned, and that they fall under the category of Jihad, which is dealt with extensively in the Koran. The website of sharia tv also endorses suicide bombings, since according to them 'one has to sympathise' with somone who was driven to despair by extreme behaviour".

Suicide bombing


The fear of extremism seemed well-founded when, on 11 September 2001, a group of young Muslims flew hijacked aircraft into the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, killing thousands (including many Muslims).

Their leader, Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, claimed that the acts were those of a 'just war'. Islam was under attack: Iraq was subject to sanctions and bombing raids; American troops were stationed in Saudi Arabia; and the Israelis were attacking Palestinians.

But most Muslim authorities reject bin Laden's view on the grounds that both suicide and murder are wrong, sanctioned neither by the Qur'an nor the Shariah. Many also condemn suicide attacks in Palestine while (like many non-Muslims) sympathising with people who, as they see it, have been driven by despair to extreme behaviour.

Page 1 | Page 2



Cops win race tribunal as Sir Ian is slammed

Monday, 27th June 2005, 19:50
Category: Business

Britain's top cop was today slammed for leaving three white detectives "hanging out to dry" after they were wrongly accused of racism.

Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair was found by an employment tribunal to be guilty of prejudicing internal disciplinary proceedings against the three CID officers and of treating them unfavourably.

Sir Ian, who at the time of the allegations was Scotland Yard's deputy commissioner in charge of diversity, was said to have trusted the word of an Asian female officer, Detective Sgt Shabnam Chaudhri, over that of the three white officers, who were later cleared of any wrongdoing by the force's most senior Asian officer, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur.

Det Constable Tom Hassell, 60, Acting Det Inspector Paul Whatmore, 39, and Det Sgt Colin Lockwood, 55, today won their claim for racial discrimination against the Met.

DC Tom Hassell, now retired was said to have mispronounced the word shi'ites, saying it "shitties" and "shites" in front of Det Sgt Chaudhri, 40, at a race relations course in 1999.

He also allegedly likened Muslim headwear to tea cosies, and said he would not want to be a part of "that lot", referring to Muslims who abstain from sex and drink during Ramadan.

He was suspended from duty for three months while two senior colleagues were also disciplined for failing to investigate DS Chaudhri's complaints of racism properly. DI Whatmore was suspended for 20 days and Det Sgt Lockwood had his promotion and transfer delayed.

The disciplinary board found the tea cosies remark proven and that the senior officers had failed to challenge him over it, but that no further action should be taken against them.

The tribunal heard that Sir Ian tried to overturn that decision by judicial review before the disciplinary board's findings were quashed on appeal by Assistant Commissioner Ghaffur in 2002.

The three men claimed they had been victims of "arbitrary" discipline driven by political correctness in the wake of the 1999 MacPherson Report, which accused the force "institutionalised racism".

Describing his suspension in December 1999, DC Hassell said: "Until this time I had over 26 years of unblemished police service and had been presented with a police good conduct medal.

"I have been commended by the commissioner of police, the borough commander, judges and barristers and the co-ordinator for the regional crime squad and after 26 years service I felt I was being treated as a criminal.

"I thought at that time I was being victimised. It was a witchhunt."

DC Hassell said DS Chaudhri faced a review of her performance for mishandling a rape allegation and an armed robbery investigation and for alerting an escaped prisoner that officers were on his case.

He said: "I later found out DS Chaudhri had been put on three-monthly reports for unsatisfactory performance on three different cases. I believe she used her complaint against me to allow her to walk free from these problems.

"I believe if she had not been put on these three-monthly reviews she would not have made a complaint about me."

Today the tribunal panel, sitting in Stratford, east London, ruled in favour of all three officers, saying they had been treated differently because of their race.

The panel ruled their suspension had been justified but Sir Ian's later intervention was wrong. Chairman Ian Pritchard-Witts said: "We take the view that what this deputy commissioner wanted was an example.

"We take the view, using his own words, that white officers were to be hung out to dry. He prejudiced the matter, why else ask for a judicial review of his own officers' decisions. It points unerringly to unfavourable treatment."

Criticising senior officers' acceptance of DS Chaudri's allegations. the chairman said: "If you look at the zeal, support, trouble [they take], briefings, acceptance and inquiry that were carried out by senior officers to support DS Chaudhri and compare the support given to these officers, the treatment was unfavourable.

"The situation was becoming clear by the internal reports that she was embellishing the situation, especially after the suspension of certain officers."

The chairman said DS Lockwood's treatment was "particularly cruel", given the fact that he had challenged DC Hassell's mispronunciation of shi'ite at the time, prompting DC Hassell to apologise immediately.

"He was the one officer who actually did challenge the words spoken by DC Hassell."

A remedy hearing to fix compensation will take place for Wednesday.

Speaking outside the tribunal DC Hassell said: "It's a sad day for the Met Police Service that officers have to go through this to clear their names. We feel vindicated. This has gone on for six years and nearly destroyed our names, our careers and our family lives. We finally feel relieved an exonerated."

Sir Ian gave evidence against the detectives at the tribunal, denying he had tried to leave the officers "hanging out to dry" simply because they were white.

The slurs were "repetitive, deliberate and offensive" with no place in a modern police force, and supervising officers had "laughed" at the remarks, which left Det Sgt Chaudhri feeling insulted, Sir Ian said.

He denied that his attempts to try to ensure that three officers were punished was a knee-jerk reaction to defend the force's reputation after the Macpherson Report.

He told the tribunal: "I refute that allegation. I would not seek out hanging somebody out to dry just to prove a point. What I will do is fiercely protect the values of the organisation.

He added: "On the face of what I was told, this was a repetition of anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic comments and was utterly contradictory to the values of the organisation."

He also said he was alarmed that senior officers did not step in to halt the verbal abuse. He argued the supervising officers "did not intervene and laughed - that's outrageous".

Sir Ian, said he considered it "extraordinary" that a misconduct board had found the officers guilty but decided that "no further action" was the appropriate sanction.

Considering the seriousness of the allegations, he wanted to know if the board's decision could be challenged. He was later advised that it could not.

The hearing was told Sir Ian's attempted intervention was made without his having investigated the case or seeing the evidence used by the board

Printer-friendly version   Email this item to a friend