Those who fear the possible creep of sharia legal principles into Western law will not be reassured by the recent pronouncements of Sheikh Maulana Abu Sayeed, president of the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain.
Rape, Sayeed told The Independent newspaper, is impossible in marriage and men who rape their wives should not be prosecuted because "sex is part of marriage." Also, he added, many married women who alleged rape were lying, the newspaper reported.
"Clearly there cannot be any rape within the marriage," Sayeed told a British blog called The Samosa. "Maybe aggression, maybe indecent activity … Because when they got married, the understanding was that sexual intercourse was part of the marriage, so there cannot be anything against sex in marriage. Of course, if it happened without her desire, that is no good, that is not desirable."
Rape within marriage was declared illegal in Britain in 1991, the newspaper reported.
Dave Whatton, spokesman on rape for Britain's Association of Chief Police Officers, said "it is a fundamental principle that sharia law should not replace the laws of the UK." On that, he would find little disagreement here.