Arno HaijtemaSeptember 28, 202217:52

    Homosexuality, ‘more precisely: anal sex’ is one of ‘the diabolical sins that Allah hates’. Worse than murder, warns the all-knowing kadic, the Sharia judge who explains Islamic law to documentary filmmaker Sinan Can. The reporter is not in Saudi Arabia, but in Tower Hamlets, an East London neighborhood where radical Islam dominates everyday life. The kadic speaks in the second episode of Can’s impressive four-part Fault lines, in which he visits vulnerable migrant neighborhoods for extended periods in European cities – Paris, Stockholm, Brussels and, Tuesday, London. With poverty, poor housing, drug crime, gangs. Ghettoformation.

    The kadi delivers justice in the Sharia court in East London, in Sinan Can’s docu Fracture Lines.Image BNNVara

    Formally, the London kadic only the status of counselor, but in practice it is he who calls the shots in the strict Islamic community. Judges that a female heir receives only half of what her brother inherits upon father’s death. That a woman may request a divorce, but that she must first get permission from her husband to break up with him. While he can suffice with three text messages to get rid of his wife.

    It’s a rare glimpse into Sharia practice that BNNVara reporter Can offers in East London, where police and democratic principles have largely lost their legitimacy. Where scribes ignore the principle of ‘most votes count’, if the majority is in favor of free alcohol consumption, for example. Where men and women go to segregated restaurants and gyms. ‘I don’t have to wear my headscarf there, so I sweat less’, a veiled woman celebrates the separation of the sexes.

    Anyone who merely marvels at the abject practice of the Sharia court, of which London now has dozens, could consider Can’s documentary as grist to the mill for a radically anti-Islamic sound. But Can also gives the floor to (the mostly Bangladeshi) residents of Tower Hamlets who explain why migrants have visited each other there en masse: out of a feeling of insecurity. A man tells how in the eighties skinheads pelted his house with stones, and a boulder missed his baby brother by a hair. How he was lifted by the neck by a racist as a child and nearly strangled. No police intervened. No school that understood its problems.

    The Saudi-funded mosque offers protection and togetherness. The mosque, the largest in Western Europe, is now thriving without Arab funding: the London community of one million Muslims bears the costs itself. The grip of Arab Islamism on the Muslim world, Can shows, is inseparable from the hatred to which migrants have been exposed for decades. The fact that they now form a ‘state within the state’ is not a bad thing for legal authority, he concludes: Sharia guarantees order and authority on the street. In return, the kadic sail its own course.

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