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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Cherie Blair and One Law for All

By Terry Sanderson

The NSS was a founder member of the One Law for All Campaign which seeks to impede the march of sharia law in Britain. Naturally we think that in a democracy everyone must be equal under the law, with no exceptions. Sharia law is full of exceptions and it is clear that women are not equal under that system.

But now we discover that a different — more favourable — system of justice is being applied to religious people by Cherie Blair (professional name Cherie Booth) in her capacity as a judge. Last week in the Inner London Crown Court, Ms Blair/Booth spared a violent yob from prison because he is a “religious man”.

Shamso Miah, 25 — described as a devout Muslim — went from a local mosque in East Ham, London to a bank where he became embroiled in an argument with another man about his place in the queue. He grabbed Mohammed Furcan and punched him in the face. Miah ran outside but Mr Furcan chased after him and demanded to know why he had been attacked.

Miah then punched him again, knocking him to the ground and fracturing his jaw. Mr Miah said he had acted in self defence but the bank’s CCTV showed clearly that he was the aggressor. He then pleased guilty to occasioning actual bodily harm.

Yet despite saying violence on our streets “has to be taken seriously” Ms Blair/Booth QC let Miah walk free from court, telling him: “I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before. You caused a mild fracture to the jaw of a member of the public standing in a queue at Lloyds Bank. You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour.”

The Pope and Cherie

Now, what would have happened if he had been an atheist? Would Mrs Blair/Booth have refused to suspend the sentence on the grounds that non-believers have no guiding principles that tell them that smashing people in the face for no good reason is not the right thing to do?

This is a very worrying case of discrimination that appears to show that religious people get different treatment in Cherie Blair’s court.

See also:

Ohio judge sued for pushing religion in court

Published Fri, 29 Jan 2010