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The Law Society must withdraw its guidance on Sharia-succession rules

The Law Society must withdraw its guidance on Sharia-succession rules

We, the undersigned, are appalled to learn that the Law Society, the representative body for solicitors in England and Wales, has issued Sharia-related guidance on wills, succession and inheritance.

The guidance says:

“Certain principles of Sharia are different to English succession laws. For example, it is not possible to inherit under Sharia rules via a deceased relative. No distinction is made between children of different marriages, but illegitimate and adopted children are not Sharia heirs.

“The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Sharia heir, as the entitlement depends on a valid Muslim marriage existing at the date of death”.

Whilst not binding, the guidance legitimises rules which are highly contested by many Muslims themselves and which discriminates against Muslim women, non-Muslims, and ‘illegitimate’ and adopted children. The guidance seriously undermines the Equality Act, citizenship rights and one law for all.

Since individuals are already free to dispense of their estate as they see fit (as long as they provide for their dependants) such guidance unwittingly aids and abets Islamist attempts at subverting democratic laws and principles with a de facto parallel legal system where minority women and children have increasingly fewer rights than other citizens.

This scandalous guidance is similar to that which Universities UK published endorsing gender segregation at universities in Britain. UUK was promptly forced to withdraw its guidance after widespread condemnation.

We call on the Law Society to immediately and unequivocally withdraw its guidance.

Ahlam Akram, Founder and Director of Basira for Universal Women Rights
Ahmed Idris, Member of Lawyers’ Secular Society
Ali al-Razi, Ex-Muslims Forum Administrator
Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Egyptian Activist
Amina Sboui, Tunisian Activist
Behzad Varpushty, Activist
Caroline Fourest, Journalist
Charlie Klendjian, Secretary of Lawyers’ Secular Society
Chris Moos, Secretary of LSESU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society
Christopher Roche, Chair of Bath Atheists, Humanists and Secularists
Elham Manea, Author
Fariborz Pooya, Founder of Iranian Secular Society
Farzana Hassan, Former Director of Muslim Canadian Congress and Writer
Fatou Sow, Senegalese Sociologist
Gita Sahgal, Director of Centre for Secular Space
Harold Kroto, Nobel Prize Winner
Ibrahim Abdullah, Muslimish
Imad Iddine Habib, Founder and Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco
Jackie Jones, Professor of Feminist Legal Studies, Chair of Wales Assembly of Women and President of European Women Lawyers Association
James Bloodworth, Editor of Left Foot Forward
Julie Bindel, Writer
Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist
Kiran Opal, Writer and Human Rights Activist
Lalia Ducos, Head of Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights
Lawrence M. Krauss, Physicist and Author
Lisa-Marie Taylor and Julian Norman, Co-Chairs of Feminism in London
Marieme Helie Lucas, Founder of Secularism is a Woman’s Issue
Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of One Law for All and Fitnah
Mersedeh Ghaedi, London Spokesperson of Iran Tribunal
Mina Ahadi, Coordinator of the International Committee against Stoning and Execution
Nadia El-Fani, Filmmaker
Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Nazanin Afshin-Jam, President and co Founder of Stop Child Executions
Nina Sankari, President of the European Feminist Initiative in Poland
Omar Kuddus, LGBTI / Human Rights Advocate and Director of GayAsylumUK
Pat Black, Immediate Past President of Soroptimist International GBI
Patty Debonitas, Spokesperson of Iran Solidarity
Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation
Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
Raheel Raza, President of Council of Muslims Facing Tomorrow
Reza Moradi, Political Activist
Richard Dawkins, Scientist
Rouhi Shafii, Executive Director of International Coalition Against Violence in Iran
Safia Lebdi, Conseillère Régionale EELV and présidente des Insoumises
Salil Tripathi, Writer
Sarah Haider, Co-Founder of Ex-Muslims of North America
Shelley Segal, Singer and Songwriter
Soad Baba Aissa, Head of Association pour la mixité, l’égalité et la laicité en Algérie
Sohaila Sharifi, Women’s Rights Activist
Soraya Chemaly, Writer and Activist
Sue Cox, Co-Founder Survivors Voice Europe
Syed Raza, Director of Forum for Learning
Tarek Fatah, Founder of Muslim Canadian Congress
Taslima Nasrin, Writer
Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner

To support the campaign calling for the Law Society’s withdrawal of its discriminatory guidelines, please sign the Lawyers’ Secular Society’s petition.

There will be a symbolic protest action on Monday 28 April at 5pm. More details to follow.

For more information, contact:
Gita Sahgal, Centre for Secular Space,



Maryam Namazie, One Law for All




Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters





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