Inside a Sharia Court
Monday 1 October 2007
2100 BST on BBC Two
This World gains exclusive access to a Sharia court and its characterful judge, Judge Isah, in the state of Zamfara in northern Nigeria.
Some British Muslims want Sharia law implemented in the UK. Sharia law is already practised informally in parts of Britain to resolve Islamic divorce, inheritance and family disputes. Now some Muslims want their laws to work alongside the existing legal system.
But many in the West see Sharia as oppressive and brutal because of punishments like stoning to death for adultery and amputations for theft.
Award-winning filmmaker Ruhi Hamid, a British Muslim, observes Sharia law in practice in the UK. She then heads to the state of Zamfara in northern Nigeria, which has a dual legal system of British Common law and Sharia law, to see how these two legal systems function side by side.
Sharia law in Nigeria
Zamfara is a predominantly Muslim state, and was the first Nigerian state to adopt Islamic law alongside the British legal system. When Sharia was first introduced in 2000, violent riots split Christian and Muslim communities.
Sharia law was introduced to Zamfara in 2000
Ruhi gets a fascinating insight into a Sharia court, where the outspoken Judge Isah determines to teach her its merits.
She witnesses cases and judgements that are illuminating and, at times, shocking.
What Ruhi sees surprises her, both in the response of local women, and in the way punishments are handled. This World asks whether Nigeria may have useful lessons for Britain.
Producer / Director: Ruhi Hamid
Executive Producer for Films of Record: Roger Graef
Executive Producer for the BBC: Louise Norman