Following probate abuse – misuse or abuse of wills, trusts, guardianships, powers of attorney or probate-related venues – has created awareness that similarly questionable actions quietly occurring in American courts are also happening in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. With trending in these actions having such commonality, Estate of Denial® recently took note of a posting on the Archbishop Cranmer Blogspot discussing an effort to “retrain” legal professionals “in how existing wills drawn up under the law of England and Wales should be amended in the light of Sharia.”
A subject of ongoing controversy, Shariah law is also known as Muslim or Islamic law. As a legal code derived from the Quran, the Muslim holy book, Shariah law sets rules that govern criminal, civil and moral behavior and additionally provides punishment standards for violators.
The American Public Policy Alliance, a non-partisan advocacy organization working to defend free speech, preserve and promote civil and human rights, maintain the integrity and supremacy of our U.S. and state constitutions, and aid and promote public safety, describes Shariah law as follows:
Shariah law, often referred to as “Islamic Law,” is in actuality a legal doctrine based on the Quran and Hadiths (sayings and acts of Mohammed), but one which goes far beyond what Westerners would regard as religious matters or routine legal matters.
Shariah has in fact been introduced into U.S. civil court cases in many states, mostly in the area of family law.
Shariah covers all aspects of life, including criminal law, domestic law, statecraft and warfare (Jihad). Shariah encompasses personal ethics and legal issues, religion and state governance, this world and the afterlife. Shariah is said to enforce the will of Allah, as opposed to the will of humans. Shariah regulates belief, speech and religious practice, criminal and legal matters, and other fields including finance and war. There is no such thing as a separate secular authority or secular law under doctrinal Shariah, since religion and state are not distinct, but are one.
This is not a radical concept in Islam, but a fundamental tenet of the faith. Shariah is held by mainstream Islamic authorities – not simply fringe extremist elements who have supposedly “hijacked” the religion – to be the perfect expression of divine will and justice. All Muslims, regardless of where they live, must submit to be governed by shariah, a cradle-to-grave “complete way of life” that mandates social, cultural, military, religious and political norms.
Shariah is a totalitarian ideology that controls all aspects of life. All are forced to submit to Islamic law as defined by theologians. Shariah institutionalizes discrimination against women, deprives people of freedom of expression and association, criminalizes sexual freedom, and incites hatred and violence against people of certain social groups. As manifested in countries officially ruled by Islamic law, shariah condones or commands abhorrent behavior, including underage and forced marriage, “honor killing” (usually of women and girls) to preserve family “honor,” female genital mutilation, polygamy and domestic abuse, and even marital rape.
As laws are believed to flow from Allah, Shariah law considers existence, much less compliance with man-made laws illicit. In response, American Public Policy Alliance promotes American Laws for American Courts legislation crafted to protect American citizens’ constitutional rights against the infiltration and incursion of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, especially Islamic Shariah Law.
The dangers of such incursion appear shared by Archbishop Cranmer with his saying “when one religious group becomes exempt from legal precedent, it is apparent that the Law of England and Wales does not apply to all citizens equally.” Of the offered training, he says “one may infer that lawyers are being trained to amend their practices for Muslim clients to ensure that Sharia inheritance provisions and taxation consequences take precedence over the Law of England and Wales.”
While indicating uncertainty as to which of several Sharia jurisprudence schools the training promotes, Archbishop Cranmer observes:
Despite the Qur’an manifestly permitting women to inherit, we are likely to see developments in certain households of Muslim women not being able to draw up their own wills independently, or Muslim daughters being prohibited ‘by the community’ from disputing their parents’ wills which have bequeathed an entire estate to her brothers. There are manifest gender and generational differences in Sharia inheritance which are antithetical to human rights and equality. And there are many more areas where the Islamic jurists and Quranic jurisprudence are ‘in tension’ with England’s legal traditions and precedents, including issues of intestate, testamentary freedom, joint tenancy, superannuation benefits, etc., etc.
The Archbishop cites a 2008 prediction by the Archbishop of Canterbury that “Shari’a law in Britain is unavoidable” as evidenced by increased numbers of Shariah courts and government benefit systems’ recognition of polygamy.
Despite stated opposition to Shariah on a number of political fronts, Archbishop Cranmer closes with:
But here we are, brazenly retraining the solicitors of England and Wales in how they must comply with Sharia inheritance law. This is an insidious attempt to reverse centuries-old legal precedents which hitherto have applied to all citizens equaly. It should be resisted with the greatest possible vigour.
Concerns over our federal government’s position on Islam and Shariah makes state-level efforts like American Laws for American Courts all the more important. Four states have enacted this legislation and, despite legal challenges, others continue review of the issue.
State-supervised probate systems have historically ensured an orderly, reliable transfer of American assets as per a decedent’s wishes and within established legal precedent based on state law (federal if applicable – i.e., the death tax). As similarities between probate issues here in the U.S. and the U.K. are routinely seen, efforts to subject Americans to an alternate, discriminatory system of inheritance rights and property distribution much be watched.
Secure American property rights and equal protection under the law are foundations upon which this country was built. Any implementation of Shariah law in our courts denies these critical rights and Americans must join in the resistance of such efforts.
Lou Ann Anderson is an advocate working to create awareness regarding the Texas probate system and its surrounding culture. She is the Online Producer at www.EstateofDenial.com, a Policy Advisor with Americans for Prosperity – Texas and a Director of Women on the Wall. Lou Ann may be contacted at info@EstateofDenial.com.