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Sharia Councils and Sexual Abuse in Britain
by Khadija Khan
The most recent scandal surrounding the sexual exploitation of Muslim women by Islamic religious leaders in the UK is yet further proof of the way in which Britain is turning a blind eye to horrific practices going on right under its nose.
A BBC investigation into "halala" -- a ritual enabling a divorced Muslim woman to remarry her husband by first wedding someone else, consummating the union, and then being divorced by him -- revealed that imams in Britain are not only encouraging this, but profiting financially from it. This depravity has led to many such women being held hostage, literally and figuratively, to men paid to become their second husbands.
This ritual, which is considered a misinterpretation of Islamic sharia law even by extremist Shi'ites and Saudi-style Salafists, is practiced by certain Islamic sects, such as Hanafis, Barelvis and Deobandis. When a husband repeats the Arabic word for divorce -- talaq -- three times to his wife, these sects consider a Muslim marriage null and void. For such a woman to be allowed to return to the husband who banished her, she must first marry someone else -- and have sex with him -- before the second husband divorces her.
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