I can't say for sure that this is unprecedented, but I recall nothing like it.
On Feb. 17, Atiq Malik of the Democratic Conservative Group, a town councilor in the London borough of Brent since 2006, wrote a comment on the UK Polling Report website announcing his support for implementing the Shari'a for Muslims living in the United Kingdom, including the stoning of adulterous women. Here is his (uncorrected) text:
Sharia Law will not apply to non Muslims. If Muslims living in UK are happy that there disputes be decided by Sharia Courts then what?
Atiq Malik has been a town councilor in the London borough of Brent since 2006.
The reason why male gets more share then women is that male members of the family have the resposnibility to provide living expenses to female members of the family.
There are certain restrictions to marry 4 wives at any one time.
4. If a woman leaves her husband she can be forced to return to him (house of obedience)
She can apply for Khulla [permission to divorce, DP] if she does not want to live with her husband.
5. The man gets any children aged over 7 from the marriage in the case of divorce.
Male over 7 and female over 10.
6. If a widow remarries, her children go to her husbands parents. What is wrong in it?
7. If an unmarried woman has an affair (sexual) she is lashed 100 times.
8. If a married woman has an affair (sexual) she is stoned to death.
What is wrong in it?
No.7 & 8
Islamic criminal jurisprudence does not discriminate between genders in punishments for crimes. In case of sexual crimes such as zina (extramarital sex), for both men and women four witnesses are required to testify that they have seen the accused individuals having intercourse, in the eyes of the islamic law if the woman commits zina and as a result becomes pregnant she cannot be tried for zina if four witnesses are not available. The punishment for zina varies depending on the marital status of the guilty individuals. If they are single then both get a hundred lashes. If they are married the punishment is death, by stoning, or rajam.
On Feb. 23, Malik posted the same text on the Conservative Home website, again as a comment. Under sharp questioning from other commentators, he changed his tune:
with due respect I cannot change my religion and I strongly believe in Sharia Law, but is it applicable in the UK the answer is NO.
I do not see any problem Muslims believing in Sharia Law, but I will not support it to be applied in the UK.
Nu Labour has already allowed sharia courts to decide cases (family) under the Sharia Law and some Muslims are using these courts to settle their disputes.
Govt has already allowed Britsh Banks to offer Sharia compliance Mortgages etc., in the UK.
Being a Muslim I cannot criticize Sharia.
Religion is my private matter, and I am not forcing anyone to change his or her views.
He further backtracked in a subsequent posting:
I do not have an extreme views I believe what is in the Holy Quran and being a Britsh Muslim I see no problem practising my religion under English Laws. It is clearly stated in the Holy Quran in the very beginning of Surat An-Nur, that 100 lashes is the punishment specified for unmarried adulterer and adulteress, Allah says: (The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication,- flog each of them with a hundred stripes: Let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment.) (An-Nur 24:
I do not know what is wrong for a Muslim to believe in what is stated in Quran, I am not advocatig that Sharia Law be implemented in the UK since UK is not a Muslim Country, but I have no problem if people of a Muslim majority country wants to adapt sharia laws.
When a local newspaper, the Harrow Observer, contacted Malik he stuck to the backtrack.
No, I am not advocating Sharia Law in England. England is not a Muslim country. Sharia Law is the belief of Muslims and is part of Koran. In a Muslim majority country the Koran is the code of conduct. But it is not practical in England because it is not a Muslim country. Yes of course I believe in Sharia, it is our way of life. I don't see any harm in Muslims believing what is in the Koran.
It bears noting that Malik had belonged to the Conservative party but was expelled for voting against the party. Politicians from the mainstream parties expressed outrage at his remarks and demanded that he resign.
Councillor Ann John, leader of the Labour group: "I was pretty shocked and I don't think he is fit to hold office. He should resign. He should be challenging his religion. It is disgusting. To think that whipping and stoning women to death is okay is appalling. We live in a liberal and democratic society but we still have a long way to go. Saying that this is acceptable whether here or anywhere else is not right."
Councillor Bob Blackman, leader of the Conservative group: "We live in the UK and our system of law works well for us. We can tolerate people having different views but such extremism renders him unfit to be a politician. These comments confirm the wisdom of the group to expel him and if the group had not already told him to leave then it would do now."
Comment: The negative reactions and Malik's feeling compelled to withdraw his endorsement of stoning in Great Britain offer small consolation. More importantly, Malik laid down a marker, so that the next Islamist who endorses Shari'a in general and stoning in particular will do so against the backdrop of his endorsement. By the tenth or twentieth endorsement, stoning might seem like a viable option ("What is wrong in it?"), at which point it will have entered the legitimate public debate. And the drive to apply Shari'a continues. (February 25, 2009)